Recently, I applied for an advertised post-doctoral position with a researcher in an well-known institution.

After two weeks of not getting a reply, I sent him a reminder, and he replied

"Oh, thanks for getting in touch again, I hadn't seen your previous email. Can we have a chat on Skype tomorrow at X?"

He never showed up for the chat, and has not contacted me since.

Would it be sensible to approach him again, or shall I write it off as a lost cause?

Perhaps it would it be a bad idea anyway to work with someone who lacks the professional skills to keep up with email contact, and stick to commitments?


2 Answers 2


If this is a high-profile researcher, they are likely quite overcommitted and may have indeed legitimately accidentally missed connections. When dealing with somebody like this, you also need assume that you need to be the one taking the initiative in contact until you've have an established working relationship.

But it also might be that they are uninterested, and either too polite, conflict averse, or culturally trained such that they are unwilling to express their lack of interest directly.

How to tell the difference? I personally tend to follow the maxim: "Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times is enemy action." After the third failure to connect (or whatever number you set as your threshold), then it doesn't really matter whether they're flaky or evasive: it's not productive to pursue the connection any further without some sort of positive encouragement from the other side.


I suggest you to give a phone call. International phone calls have become very cheap nowadays, you could use for example Skype, MegaVoip or Google Voice.

Obviously you have to be very polite, don't become angry or upset. Explain clearly the situation and ask about news.


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