This may be a very general and subjective question, I know. But, I have applied to some postdoc positions, and after 3 weeks I haven't received any response yet. I suppose this is normal, because many people should have applied to those positions, too. However, I don't know if it would be ok to write back to the professors or PI to know if they have already a response for my dossier.

Does anyone could tell me if it is fine to do so? should I just be more patient and wait more time? after how much time should I consider my application as rejected?.

I would be very glad to read your suggestions, and experiences.

Update: In my experience I think that writing back is fine (there is nothing wrong about it), but it is likely no response will be received anyways. In general, they reply in two situations: 1) they are interested in your profile, 2) they have funding.

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    Do you mean they haven't acknowledged receipt of your application, or that they haven't told you whether they're interested in you? I read the question as the latter, and thought '3 weeks? Hahahahahaha'.
    – Jessica B
    Commented Feb 9, 2015 at 6:55
  • Was there a published closing date, and has it passed? If yes and no then don't worry yet. If you mean 3 weeks since the closing date, you might expect to have heard something -- they were planning on processing applications then.
    – Chris H
    Commented Feb 9, 2015 at 9:49
  • @JessicaB I am aware that for being accepted it would take more than 3 weeks, but I was expecting an acknowledged receipt. There is no closing date as far as I can tell. So I think the position is open until the find the correct candidate.
    – muammar
    Commented Feb 9, 2015 at 10:09
  • @muammar Right, good. I can't help you there though. Ours are all automated, so the acknowledgement email is instant.
    – Jessica B
    Commented Feb 10, 2015 at 7:11
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    @user37341 Experience would suggest even the most ho-hum universities do not bother with the tedium of writing such emails. Even they will get hundreds of applications for any given opening. At best there will be some automated email system, which may not even be very well implemented (or even functional). No one actually writes these things these days. For rejection you usually don't even get so much as an automated rejection email; maybe 5% of them in my experience gave me that basic courtesy. Commented Jul 17, 2015 at 22:30

8 Answers 8


During academic job applications, I did not hear back at all from at least two places (in the UK), so I would not assume you will hear back. On the other hand, there was also the situation where I had not heard back from one of my top choices so I contacted them and they told me that someone was supposed to have contacted me two weeks earlier but somehow didn't. It wasn't good news, but I had been stalling on agreeing to another position so ultimately it was helpful to just ask, politely obviously. I really don't think it would hurt your situation, and as others have mentioned, may even help it.


It may not be such a good idea to call and ask for an answer on your application. However, you can call or send and enquiry email to check whether they've received your application and docs in full and everything is okay with your application.

When I was applying for MSc. I contacted them several times and they always said "you have to wait".

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    Once you've been told once that you have to wait, I think you really should wait. Commented Sep 28, 2015 at 19:40

The standard thing is that all applicants are informed at the right time. Quite commonly the "competition" decision is delayed, so I wouldn't worry too much.

Should you contact the committee? As other said, impatience may not be the best thing to do. On the other hand, I don't believe it will hurt you in any way.

Can you do better? You probably have contacted someone in the department where you apply before, right? The easiest thing is to write to them: "Please, the website says I should have been contacted by January 31st, did I miss something?" (or course, use appropriate level of politeness).


What I usually do in that situation is to call/mail them asking if everything is correct or if there is anything else I should do, also stating that I know that the process takes as long as it takes and that I'm not, in any way, pressuring or anything. Then, they usually reply with the current status/ETA.

I'm aware I'm not fooling anyone, but, IMHO, it is a bit nicer :)


Just like a job interview, take the first step. Call and check up. You want the position? Show them how interested you are :)

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    However, academic position applications are quite different from "job interviews", especially in the communications aspect.
    – yo'
    Commented Feb 8, 2015 at 21:22

In my experience (UK-based applications), I have always been informed whenever I wasn't shortlisted by means of a sad "we regret to inform you" email. The only time I wasn't informed straight away was when I was shortlisted but didn't get the job so I had to call them. If you are at the pre-shortlist phase, I think it's safe to assume you will get an email either case.


I guess it depends on country and field, but my experience is that 80-90% of professors do no answer a post- doc application at all if it is not a positive answer. It is especially true if you try to cold call a top laboratory.


From my experience, when applying for post-doc or professor job positions, most of the times, they will not answer if the answer is negative. Moreover, often, the decision will be delayed (sometimes, it may even be delayed by several months due to committees not agreeing on who to hire, professors being too busy, problem with funding, etc.). You can always send one polite e-mail to ask. But don't send many e-mails.

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