I have been invited for an interview to a post-doc position. In the same time, I am applying for a post-doc fellowship to a different organisation. If that fellowship application will be successfull, I will have to quit the postdoc position (where I am going to do interview) somewhere in the middle, because I am more interested in that position with the fellowship.

I know, I don´t have any clues whether any of the two positions will work out, but how should I address this fellowship opportunity on the intreview?

Should I let them know in advance that I am applying for a fellowship and let them decide whether they want to interview me anyway? Or should I mention only at the interview, that I am applying for a fellowship? Or shouldn´t I mention it at all?

2 Answers 2


They will probably ask you if you are applying or evaluating other positions during the interview, if they don't you don't have to bring it up.

But if they do ask, just say you currently don't have any offer in hand but that you are applying to other positions. When and if they make you an offer, at that point you should decide to accept it or not, or to ask for extra time to make your decision. But switching post-doc half way will not be good for your CV or your research, but that's another question.

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    "switching post-doc half way will not be good for your CV or your research" it very much depends on the details.
    – user24098
    Commented Nov 10, 2016 at 15:54

When it is just an interview and you are under no obligation to let them know. And you probably shouldn't because it might decrease your chances of getting the position. However, when they decide to hire you, you'll have to decide.

It would be unethical to quit for another job after a few months: funding is often not flexible enough (at least in Europe) to be awarded to another candidate, and even if it is, it will easily take a few months before someone else is recruited. It will be viewed as very bad and the research group concerned will probably never want to work with you again: this could easily affect you later in your career: it's a small world.

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    Although the second paragraph of this answer is not exactly inaccurate, I think its lack of detail means it could be more alarming than is warranted.
    – Tom Church
    Commented Nov 10, 2016 at 15:02
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    -1 I find the second paragraph much too alarmist. In my group we certainly would not resent it if someone left for a clearly better opportunity (it happened to us recently, actually, and we are continuing to collaborate with him). Also the flexibility of research funding varies greatly.
    – user24098
    Commented Nov 10, 2016 at 15:41
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    I do not agree that quitting is unethical. Remember that a post-doc position is still work and you can't expect more than normal work ethics. People leave post-doc positions for better opportunities all the time.
    – user9482
    Commented Nov 10, 2016 at 15:42
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    Clearly not everyone seems to agree with me (different people see things differently, as usual). A postdoc is not at all like a normal job: in a normal job you are just replaced by someone else. For a postdoc this is often not possible. You are hired to publish. It is very unlikely that a postdoc will succeed to do so during the first half of his contract. So it would lead to the postdoc taking the money but not getting the work done: this is unethical in my (and my collegues) opinion. I am also speaking from experience.
    – Louic
    Commented Nov 12, 2016 at 10:10

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