I've recently interviewed for a postdoc position and the day after the interview I was notified that I was first on the reserve list. I am just wondering if there are anyone out here has any experience with being on the reserve list and could tell me how long did it take for the final update to come in, and if there have been any success stories.


2 Answers 2


This depends on how many offers were made and the time given for a reply. If it is several offers then you might hear something in less than a couple of weeks if one of the offers is declined early. If only one, then they wait until they hear. But expect a couple of weeks, at least.

If you haven't heard in two weeks you could ask if there are updates.

Caveat. I'm not in your target group, but this is just how things work in general. They want closure if possible.

  • ^ This is a good answer, being on the reserve list means they’re waiting from the person who actually got the job offer, for a postdoc in my exp you get a couple of weeks to decide. I haven’t really heard of success stories in this case though (the person who got the offer always took it, for postdoc positions).
    – user126108
    Commented Nov 26, 2023 at 2:04

The notification that you are first on the reserve list for the postdoc position means that you were not their preferred choice, but that they would be very happy to hire you if their preferred choice declined the offer.

As such, it is impossible to predict how long the process will take. This will depend on how much time they give their preferred choice to respond to offers and also how quickly the preferred candidate responds to the offer (they might not need all the time given to them).

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