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APPIC Postdoctoral Selection Guidelines

APPIC Postdoctoral Selection Guidelines

Postdoctoral Training Directors and Applicants

2017/2018 APPIC Postdoctoral Selection Guidelines

Based on APPIC’s 2016 surveys of applicants and training directors, as well consensus achieved at the May 2016 Postdoctoral Training Summit, APPIC now holds the following perspectives about postdoctoral selection:
  1. Establishing overall organization and commonly used selection processes are in the best interests of applicants, programs and the larger postdoctoral community.
  2. This coming 2017-2018 cycle is premature to have a match or another binding process. We need to learn more about the universe of postdoctoral programs and build more consensus among them for any type of binding process to be successful.
  3. The broader community (including applicants) is better served this year by having suggested selection guidelines than no guidelines.
  4. Last year’s uniform notification date of March 7th was too late. An earlier date of February 27th might be more desirable for the coming cycle, even given the fact that sites with both internship and postdoctoral programs would have the burden of overlapping selection processes.
APPIC (along with Summit attendees) will attempt this year to elicit more cooperation among programs by doing the following:
  1. Launch a new, expanded APPIC directory open to all postdoctoral training programs (both APPIC and non-APPIC). This will provide a central location for applicants to be informed about postdoctoral programs. The directory will also be a valuable resource to learn more about the universe of postdoctoral programs and be a major step towards unifying the larger postdoctoral training community.
  2. Provide more education to postdoctoral applicants about the selection process and how to use the Guidelines to maximize their ability to secure a postdoctoral position towards the top of their preference list. This will take the form of YouTube videos and a series of Q&A calls with members of the APPIC Postdoc Workgroup.
  3. Reach out to programs to encourage adherence to the guidelines.
Within the postdoctoral community, VA offers the largest number of positions (over 400), by a significant margin. The VA is in a position to help foster greater overall collaboration, and knowing this, the VA Office of Academic Affiliations has decided to make adherence to the guidelines mandatory for all of these conventional clinical VA Postdoctoral programs (the only exceptions will be the specialized training programs administered by their Advanced Fellowships section). It is sincerely hoped that other programs will follow suit, given the commitment of this core constituency.

APPIC’s centralized postdoctoral application system (APPA CAS https://portal.appicpostdoc.org) will be available again this year. Programs and applicants reported significantly increased satisfaction with APPA CAS last year. Several improvements have been made for the upcoming year including but not limited to a redesigned letter of recommendation portal and live preview of what applicants see when they apply to a specific program or designation. Comprehensive training will also be available for WebAdmit which is the APPA CAS Program Director interface.  This interface offers many benefits, and few programs maximize the functionality of this system.

Given its success last year, APPIC will make the Postdoctoral Post-Notification Date Unfilled Position Portal available again this selection season http://www.appic.org/Postdoc-Positions. Although the universe of postdoctoral programs and positions is unknown, available data suggest that the shortage of applicants compared to the number of positons will continue.
APPIC strongly encourages Postdoctoral Programs and Applicants to adhere to the following guidelines for the 2016/2017 selection process:

Postdoctoral Programs: 2017-18 Selection Process Guidelines and Tips:

  1. Give applicants at least two weeks’ notice for in-person interviews where airline travel is required.
  2. Consider using remote interview formats such as video, Skype, telephone or interviews at regional meetings to offset the burden or hardship to applicants in terms of costs and/or time away from internship.
  3. Wait to make offers until 10:00 AM Eastern Time on Monday February 27, 2017.
  4. Utilize the reciprocal offer option prior to February 27, 2017 only if the top applicant receives a bona fide offer from another postdoctoral training program. Programs may require validation of the offer.
  5. Allow applicants to hold regular (non-reciprocal) offers for at least 24 hours.
  6. Notify applicants as soon as they are no longer under consideration and when all positions are filled.
**   Please note that two-year clinical neuropsychology programs are not expected to follow these selection guidelines.  Programs that are predominantly research in emphasis are encouraged to follow these guidelines to the extent to which it is possible.  

Tips for Programs using the Selection Guidelines:
  1. Utilize the new APPIC Postdoctoral Program Directory to advertise your program(s).  Be prepared to make reciprocal offers.  As such, complete interviews and have internal consensus on applicant rankings before February 27, 2017. Programs will likely not be able to make reciprocal offers if they have not completed interviews with all applicants (i.e., they may be unsure of who their top applicant is).
  2. Adjust application deadlines and review process to make reciprocal offers if needed.
  3. Be explicit in public materials and throughout the interview process about the intention to follow the APPIC Postdoctoral Selection Guidelines.
  4. Consider streamlining selection processes, particularly for sites that have both internship and postdoctoral programs.
Postdoctoral Applicants: APPIC’s Suggestions
  1. Utilize the new APPIC Postdoctoral Program Directory to search for programs. The intent is for the directory to provide a central location to find all programs nationally. Be aware some programs may opt not to utilize the directory and may advertise their program elsewhere.
  2. Take advantage of new educational resources to learn about the postdoctoral selection process (e.g., YouTube videos and a series of Q&A calls with members of the APPIC Postdoc Workgroup).
  3. Inquire whether programs you have applied to are adhering to the APPIC Postdoctoral Selection Guidelines.  Please note that multiple non-APPIC member postdoctoral training sites have stated intentions to follow the APPIC selection guidelines. You may want to ask if there are any aspects of the guidelines programs will not be following including but not limited to the amount of time positions can be held.
  4. Be aware, if you are applying to both predominantly research focused programs and clinically focused programs that timelines for offers may differ. Support or advice from your internship training director or other mentor(s) is recommended.
  5. Have your rank ordering of programs completed before February 27, 2017, if not earlier. Note: no formal rank lists need to be submitted.
  6. If prior to February 27, 2017 you receive a bona fide offer from a postdoctoral training program that is not your first choice, you are allowed to put the lower ranked program on hold, contact your top ranked program and request a reciprocal offer. That program may ask for verification of the offer. The program should inform you how long they need to give you an answer. One of several things may occur:
    1. If a reciprocal offer is extended to you, it is expected that you will promptly accept. Do not request a reciprocal offer if you are not prepared to accept the position immediately.
    2. If the program does not extend a reciprocal offer, it is appropriate for you to ask whether you are still being considered by that site.
      1. If you are no longer under consideration, you are permitted to request a reciprocal offer from your next highest ranked site.
      2. If you remain in consideration, you may not contact any other program to request a reciprocal offer.
      3. You may ask for any information the program is willing to provide about your relative ranking, since that information may help you decide whether or not to accept your original offer.
  7. February 27, 2017, once an offer is made to you, one of three things can occur. You can:
    1. Accept the offer immediately
    2. Decline the offer
    3. Ask to "hold" the offer.  If you decide to hold the offer, then the position is frozen and should not be offered to any other candidate during that hold period. Each site has its own allowance for how long a position may be held; APPIC suggests 24 hours.
  8. Hold no more than one offer at a time. After receiving and holding an offer, each time you are offered a higher ranked position, it is expected that you accept or hold it and immediately release the offer that you were previously holding.
  9. As soon as you either accept or hold an offer, please contact all of the remaining programs that are lower on your preference list and inform them that you no longer wish to be considered at their site.
**** It is critical that applicants keep all programs on their preference list informed if they accept or hold offers as to not create log jams on February 27, 2017
Question about the 2016/2017 Postdoctoral Selections Guidelines should be directed to Wayne Siegel, Ph.D., ABPP, APPIC’s Postdoc Work Group Chair (wayne.siegel@va.gov or 612-467-4024).