92

This means one of two things: The PI has a certain set of needs right now and wants them met. Your needs are irrelevant. This will be the case for the duration of your employment - they'll be a decent boss until they need something and then that thing will be more important than anything you've got going on. This is a reasonably common PI mindset and most ...


73

Dear XYZ, thank you for considering me for this position. Unfortunately, for personal reasons I am no longer considering this option. Hence, I have to decline this invitation. With best regards, clearseplex In other words, like you would politely say no to any other opportunity - polite, short, and without going into details why exactly you changed your ...


73

In negotiation theory, such a tactic is known as an exploding offer, and its adverse effects are well-known: rushing people into hasty decisions and giving them the feeling that they're disposable can create distrust and a flawed work relationship. It also signals desperation, which will damage the PI's brand if the word gets around. Such offers can happen, ...


71

I want to make two points here, both are indirect answers to your question, but still open to interpretation with regard to your specific interview. Interviews are less like taking an exam, and more like going on a date. It is possible to do everything right, and still not click. Equally, it is possible that you do many things wrong, but the other person is ...


61

Dear [name of person you were communicating with], I have an update about my job search. Since we last talked I‘ve received a tenure track job offer from another institution, and have accepted it. Consequently, I am withdrawing my application at your department, and am cancelling my upcoming interview with you and your colleagues. I do very much appreciate ...


47

Is this usual behavior Short answer: no. Longer answer: I have heard many stories of bad workplaces, both in academia and beyond. Even at good workplaces one occasionally encounters weird, rude, and borderline exploitative practices and staff/employer attitudes. So perhaps it’s not entirely accurate to say it’s not usual. But by and large, the situation ...


39

Yes, this is an interview. Or at least a part of an interview - depending on your location, there may be a more formal one later. As a rule of thumb, both for academia and industry, whenever you meet with a prospective employer, be it for a coffee or lunch, a "chat" or something else, it is part of the interview. As for the chat itself. If he asked ...


32

I think that the PI is pressing you improperly. I'd suggest replying that you need to have the details in writing before you can formally accept an offer. You can say that you are interested and "inclined to accept" but without making a definite decision prior to having the actual details. This is likely to give you the time you need for the other ...


31

Short answer: Yes, you should answer honestly. Long answer: your question contains, implicitly and explicitly, several (mostly) flawed premises. Premise 1: professors are superficial people who can’t be bothered to come up with their own idea of how good you are as an applicant based on the strength of your application, so will resort to relying on an (...


30

I'm not sure why you are considering this "offer". You've given a lot of downsides that could easily lead to future pain and suffering. But other than a weak endorsement in your first paragraph, you haven't really given any positive aspects to this position. If you have any other offer(s) with better conditions, you should probably consider them ...


30

I wanted to also provide a different perspective, which adds to Ian Sudbery's answer. I was recently in the interview panel for a postdoc position. The first two candidates both performed really well, and first choice was a close call, with another great candidate following. It is common in the UK to extend an informal offer to the 1st candidate within a day ...


28

In general, honesty is a good thing. But you can be honest without giving out too much information. Some possibilities that may work for you. Not at the current time. I'm awaiting some offers. I'm only getting started in this process. None that I'd care to discuss at this time. But you can also turn it around a bit. This is the one I'm most interested ...


28

You should let them know that you have other opportunities at other universities that you need to respond to, and what those deadlines are. If they can, they will try to avoid the situation where they can not hire you because you have been forced to agree to another job. That does not mean they can. Generally speaking, people being informed is good. Setting ...


28

For every job I've contemplated I have gone out and done what I consider to be the necessary due diligence. If you have connections, use them. If it involves cold-calling a person or two to ask questions, do it. Fun story - I was considering moving from technical staff to management and an interesting position opened up. My due diligence consisted of ...


23

Currently, I am in a similar situation (working since 12 months as a postdoc in the U.S. with a scholarship that covers 24 months from the "NIH" of my home country). Similar to what you described, I came expecting to be a regular postdoc based on the prior communication with the PI. Personal situation: Upon my arrival, I quickly realized that my PI ...


23

A “verbal offer” is not an offer. in the US, any self-respecting institution would at the very least document their desire to extend you an offer in an email sent in very close proximity (same day, or next day) to the “verbal offer”. The actual offer including a precise salary anount and other hiring package information might take a couple of weeks after ...


19

Why would you want to try to express it yourself as a "lesser" contribution? You give much of the same value, especially if there is some facility for interaction with "attendees". One of the reasons for "paying" for talks is that the speaker may need to travel and deal (time and effort) with accommodation - the hassle factor. It also means time away from ...


19

It probably depends how you put it. If you said: "I find machine learning boring, because my prof taught it in a boring way.", and machine learning is a key technique in the PhD: Yes, this was wrong, and for obvious reasons. (Then again, if you really find it boring: Why did you apply for that position in the first place.) If, on the other hand, ...


16

Possibly you made a mistake, but only the professor can judge that. But, honesty is still a good path here. Better that than to wind up in a situation that isn't productive for you. You want a position in which everyone is comfortable. Hiding your feelings or your background is probably counterproductive. But the past is the past and can't be undone. Work on ...


15

I interviewed candidates in the US for a similar position, the number one non-academic tip is to pay attention to how you appear on Zoom, and go for a professional setup. I was surprised how many candidates were speaking in a relatively dark room with a visible bed (even an unmade bed) behind them. Look at the camera, not the screen Find a relatively solid, ...


13

If you find ML boring, you should not apply for a position that requires it to a significant extent. A 3 year PhD is a very long time to do something that you dislike. So, hiding that you dislike a topic is not doing you any favours. If, on the other hand, you are interested in learning ML, that's a different issue, but even so, you need to know if the prof ...


12

There are no ethical concerns here. You don't need to go into an interview blind about the project. It is possible, of course, that people have been asked not to correspond with people in the pipeline other than officially, but that is up to them. You can ask. But the tone of your mail will determine whether people think you are looking for information or ...


12

Just to provide a somewhat different perspective to what has been discussed already, I'd say that what you have just described is very common (no comment on whether its morally suspect or practically counter-productive). I was given a short time limit to accept both my PhD position and the one postdoc I had that was secured via a normal advertised position. ...


10

Do invited talks given via video-conferencing have the same weight on a CV as talks given in person? Yes. If you were invited to give a talk and you gave the talk, it is an invited talk. The medium of talk is not relevant. Similarly, if you published a paper in a print journal and published a paper in an online journal, both papers were published. I ...


10

I want to warn you about a red flag that I see, which has come up in two parts of your question: The lab manager (quite unfriendly) told me that given that I have my own funding I will be only considered a "visiting postdoc" and would not receive benefits. When I asked about more details, she told me to "google". and: I asked them ...


10

Let me mention some aspects not covered by the other question. I think that for an individual case it is nearly impossible to make a prediction with any validity. Even if you can determine the historical record for a given department, things change. Things always change. The decisions on tenure are based on both the needs of a given department, which evolve ...


9

I would suggest you answer without any kind of visual aid: you may come across as inauthentic or the interviewer might think you are cheating in some way. Just practice your answers a couple of times until you feel comfortable. However, you can write down your own questions to your interviewer and read them when you will be asked if you have any questions. I ...


8

It is worth asking and is probably worth a visit even if they would rather stick to a Skype interview. They may prefer that so as to treat all candidates equally, but if that isn't necessary, they might prefer you to come in person. It is a good way to get a feel of a place and to meet a few students and several faculty. I don't see any downside in asking. ...


8

Disclosure: I am myself a person who stutters the severity of which depends on the position of stars in the sky. First, I want to point out, that stuttering is OK. In the same way, as not stuttering is OK. Discrimination based on stuttering should not happen, and all the common misconceptions regarding people who stutter (not confident, less knowledgable, ...


8

I thought I might give an alternate opinion here: is declining the interview in your best interests? I am not an academic but I have recently been in the position of having multiple interviews / opportunities where I preferred some over others. What I didn't do was decline to speak with someone, knowing that the interview itself might actually convince me to ...


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