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I have been invited to give a seminar related to applying for a postdoctoral position. The professor has been very kind and seems like a very nice person. He also helped me look for a postdoctoral position for my girlfriend. Now I have received the tickets to travel to the university with first class accommodation and luxury amenities. The trip involves international travel and also that I have been talking with other professors to see my best options.

Does this force me to accept the position or is it common that researchers give these nice invitations? Do I need to mention to the professor that I am exploring other options?

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    Never accept a job because you feel obliged to, or because someone treated you well. This is the time to be selfish. – user37208 Oct 19 '16 at 19:52
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    Be gracious, enjoy the stay, give a relaxed (but not complacent) seminar. They treat you well, because they want you in a good mood. But this does not buy you. Whatever they offer, give yourself time to think, even if this is the best offer ever, and even if it is just (just as example, it's not realistic) one day of thinking. If they don't give you the time, they have something to hide. Go ahead, do your best and enjoy. But don't let your decision be coloured just by that. Make yourself a list of must haves/nice to haves that you would expect from an offer. – Captain Emacs Oct 19 '16 at 20:21
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If you are getting excellent treatment, that likely means they are fairly keen to hire you. They are working to recruit you. Accepting nice accommodations and amenities from them during the hiring process places no obligation on you--none at all. That being said, this sounds like it might be a really good place for you. Use your judgement about what will be optimal for yourself.

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    In addition to this, you might be impressed by the quality of the accommodation / travel, but this might be quite standard for the university. At my current institution, every visitor is put in the same hotel, taken to dinner in the same place and travels as every other prof that visits (1st class train, economy flights within Europe). If you're not used to this, it might feel quite luxurious while it's actually standard. – VonBeche Oct 20 '16 at 8:41
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It is quite common for universities to invite candidates for a visit and to offer a high-standard accommodation and make your stay as pleasant as it can be. Afterall, if they find you to be a good fit for them, they would also like you to feel the same. This does not indicate that you will be offered the job. If you are offered the job, you are under no obligations to accept the offer because of the nice treatment you get.

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I am not completely certain I am interpreting your question correctly, because your English isn't completely standard. I think you're saying that you have been invited to give a job talk, with your travel expenses paid, and that the job you are interviewing for is a post-doc position. I will answer based on that understanding.

Only go if you are seriously interested in the job.

(Side note: keep in mind that you may have to pay income tax next April on the travel costs paid by the university that invited you.)

  • The tax comment refers to which country? Also, what is the rationale to have to pay tax for travel costs of an invitation? It is money that the speaker would otherwise have spent to give a talk somewhere, which is part of their job. – Captain Emacs Oct 20 '16 at 8:04
  • I do not agree, though, with the "Only go if absolutely interested" part. If it makes sense to give the seminar to that audience, the candidate could/should go. – Captain Emacs Oct 20 '16 at 8:05
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    This response doesn't answer the question. The question isn't about whether they should go, it's about how normal this kind of situation is, and about whether they have any obligations following the interview. And your tax comment is incorrect, at least in the US - job search expenses are, in general, tax-deductible. – rturnbull Oct 20 '16 at 8:06
  • @rturnbull - Tax deductibility is great -- and thanks for pointing that out. Note that it doesn't always get you back the full additional tax liability. My point is that it is good to know ahead of time that those dollars, that the candidate never saw, may turn up looking like income, on the W-2s next January. Also, even if it does get you back the full additional tax liability, it only does so if you know that you can do that. – aparente001 Oct 20 '16 at 14:16
  • @CaptainEmacs - "Absolutely interested" and "seriously interested" sound a bit different to me. "Absolutely" to me means that I would take this job over all other offers, without giving it a moment's thought. What I'm trying to say is that if I know ahead of time that I would not take a job in Ames, Iowa, no matter how good the offer, that means I am not seriously interested in a job in Ames, Iowa, and it would be unethical to go on an all-expenses-paid luxury recruitment junket for two in Ames, Iowa. In my opinion. Ethics questions are, after all, quite subjective. – aparente001 Oct 20 '16 at 14:22

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