I'm looking for post-doc position, and applied to a position. Here's brief flow of email converstaion.

Possible PI: Well, it looks like your research interest and experience matches well with mine, let's have a interview.

Me: Thank you. When can we have a discussion?

Possible PI: (No response)

3 days later

Me: Hello? Do we have interview?

Possible PI: (No response)

more 3 days later

Me: Hello? Can I have interview with you?

Possible PI: (No response)

I don't know what is going on his side, but I never wrote something rude or stupid. Can I regard this sign as refusal? Or do I need to email him again? Or can I call to his office phone number?

I don't think his reaction - no response - is polite at all, at least...

  • 7
    3 Mails within 6 days? Way too much. Some PIs have a lot to do and might need a week or two to respond. If it's not time critical then write a mail, wait two weeks and then send a reminder.
    – user64845
    Oct 20, 2017 at 5:12

1 Answer 1


If they originally had interest in interviewing you, after the second reminder, there is a good chance it has evaporated. The mail frequency was too high, and there were too many repeats (unless you know the person really well).

A PI would be probably reluctant to hire someone who appears to be insistively dependant on them or even "pushy". A person who wasn't "pushy" may not get a reply for various reasons (like the PI is trying to make it possible, but the whole idea fizzles out, or gets postponed by months and he doesn't want to give a straight no in case it ends up working, and then forgets about it). On the other hand, if an opportunity presents, they may reconsider and come back to you later.

However, they are less likely to do that with a person that comes across as too aggressively pursuing their purposes, because they will infer that's how they will also behave during regular interaction.

Instead: What you should have done is to respond to the interview suggestion as: "Shall we agree on a date?" and then wait for a few weeks (two weeks, as suggested in the comments above, is a good number) and then try again. If it does not work out, it's effectively a no (although it may not be even a final no, see above comments).

Yes, a "no response" can be considered a bit "rude", but do understand that people are simply overworked, and whatever the most current pressure is, it pushes itself in front of the queue. Don't be the one adding to their pressure by overmailing, because then the rudeness has appeared on your side before it has had a chance presenting itself on theirs.

  • 1
    Still I can't find any single reason why sending email should be called as pushy. We are job searchers, and we are desperate. I didn't send emails like every day, it was just 3 times within a week. If it were once or twice a day, then it can be rude. But in common sense, my emails are not even close to pushy. I would not work for anyone who call that email freq as rude. More importantly, it was him who showed the interest to me. If I become PI I wouldn't be that rude like that.
    – exsonic01
    Oct 21, 2017 at 6:10
  • @exsonic01 Even people who make a point of answering all emails may sometimes miss emails and respond to them much later when they discover they missed them. So a single repeat is certainly ok. It is understandable that as a postdoc you are under pressure, However, the fact that you do not see that 3 emails in a single week is too much shows that you do not put yourself in the shoes of the other person. Perhaps they are ill? Travelling? Working towards a deadline? I do not intend to convince you; if you do not wish to learn from other people's experience, you will have to learn from your own. Oct 21, 2017 at 6:46
  • 1
    @exsonic01 since you don't seem to have any clue about this here's a little inside: those people get a hundred mails a day. They have other things to do so they might only read them very fast to check what it is about and then go back to work unless it's something which needs an answer right away. Every few days or once a week they then go through all their mails and respond. That's why it's very normal to take a week or two to repond. If you now write 3 mails within that time it definitely is pushy. I'm only a PostDoc but after a week off I needed 2 days just to answer all the mails.
    – user64845
    Oct 21, 2017 at 16:50

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