Statement on Postdoctoral Selection
APPIC currently holds the following perspectives about postdoctoral selection:
- Establishing overall organization and commonly used selection processes are in the best interests of applicants, programs and the larger postdoctoral community.
- The broader community (including applicants) will be better served by having suggested selection guidelines than by not having guidelines.
- Although we have made substantial progress building cohesion and consensus among postdoctoral programs, there is still work to be done before any type of formal matching process could be successful.
- The APPIC Postdoctoral Selection Guidelines seem to work well for the majority of programs, with evidence of positive outcomes for the majority of applicants.
- The Universal Psychology Postdoctoral Directory (UPPD) offers a helpful and effective recruitment resource. Its centralized location is valuable to applicants and the profession of psychology.
- The APPIC Postdoctoral Committee (formerly Postdoctoral Workgroup) will continue efforts to facilitate postdoctoral selection for both applicants and programs through:
- Support and enhancement of the UPPD.
- Providing education and resources for all stakeholders, through a series of Q&A calls with members of the APPIC Postdoctoral Committee and a downloadable PowerPoint presentation addressing how to navigate the postdoctoral selection process. In addition, education will be provided:
- For 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.
- For postdoctoral programs about the selection process and how to use the Guidelines to maximize their ability to secure their top ranked applicant(s).
- For internship training directors, as they are likely a key source of information and guidance for applicants seeking postdoctoral positions.
- Continuing to offer and improve the centralized postdoctoral application system (APPA CAS).
APPIC Postdoctoral Selection Guidelines:
APPIC strongly encourages Postdoctoral Programs and Applicants to adhere to the following Guidelines for the 2018-2019 selection process. 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.
- The 2018/2019 APPIC Uniform Notification Date will be 2/25/19.
- Programs should give applicants at least two weeks advanced notice for in-person interviews where airline travel is required.
- After initial review, programs notify applicants if they are not being extended an interview offer.
- Programs should wait to make offers until the Uniform Notification Date (UND) which will be 10:00 AM Eastern Time on 2/25/19.
- Programs should communicate with applicants prior to 2/25/19 regarding how they intend to make offers (email, phone). This is to ensure that applicants are available to respond to potential offers starting at 10:00 AM Eastern Time.
- Applicants should communicate with programs prior to 2/22 /19, concerning how they may be reached and should ensure that they are available to respond to potential offers starting at 10:00 AM Eastern Time.
- Applicants may request a reciprocal offer from their top ranked program if they receive a bona fide offer from another postdoctoral training program prior to 2/25/19 at 10:00 AM Eastern Time that is not their top ranked program. Applicants who request a reciprocal offer must accept the position immediately if the position is offered (i.e., that offer may not be held).
- Programs are to make a reciprocal offer prior to 2/25/19 only if their top applicant receives a bona fide offer from another postdoctoral training program and requests a reciprocal offer. Programs may require validation of the offer.
- On the UND, applicants should acknowledge receipt of postdoctoral position offers received through email or telephone contact (both are suggested) within an hour of receiving the offer even if they choose to hold the offer. Failure to acknowledge the offer within an hour could result in the program retracting the offer and the program moving on to contact other applicants.
- On the UND, programs should allow applicants to hold regular (non-reciprocal) offers for at least 4 hours.
- Programs should immediately notify applicants as soon as they are no longer under consideration and when all positions are filled.
- Once applicants have accepted an offer, they should immediately notify all programs for which they believe they are still under consideration to let them know that they are no longer available for a position.
- For all filled postdoctoral positions (before, during and following the UND) applicants should receive an email with an official confirmation of the agreement within 48 hours.
Recommendations for Postdoctoral Programs, Applicants and Internship Program Directors
- Utilize the Universal Psychology Postdoctoral Directory (UPPD) to advertise your program(s). If you used the UPPD last year, make sure you update your program listing(s) for the current selection cycle. Note that the Start Date, Application Due date, Following the Guidelines, Number of Applications Received Last Year, and Date Offers will be Made fields have been cleared out for all programs. New for this year, the UPPD listing cannot be saved unless these fields are completed. It is essential that programs update all position listings for the 2018/2019 selection cycle by September 15, 2018. Program listings not updated by this date will be flagged with a prominent message telling the applicant to contact the program
- Be explicit in public materials (websites, UPPD) and throughout the interview process about the intention to follow the APPIC Postdoctoral Selection Guidelines.
- Be prepared to make reciprocal offers (should one be requested) prior to 2/25/19. As such, programs should complete interviews and have internal consensus on applicant rankings before 2/25/19. Programs will likely not be able to make reciprocal offers if they have not completed interviews with all applicants invited to interview(i.e., they may be unsure of who their top applicant is). Adjust application deadlines and review process to be able to make reciprocal offers if needed.
- We strongly recommend that programs do not make offers to applicants until they have completed all promised interviews for a specified position. Applicants invest time and money into planning trips to visit sites with the understanding that they will be given fair consideration with other applicants that are interviewed. At best, it is unprofessional to make an offer to interview and then renege on that offer.
- Inform applicants about how they should contact the TD if requesting a reciprocal offer.
- Consider ways to streamline or improved the efficeintcy of their selection processes, particularly for sites that have both internship and postdoctoral programs.
- Familiarize yourself with the Recommendations for Postdoctoral Applicants (section below).
- Programs should 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.
- It is highly recommended that postdoctoral applicants seek ongoing mentoring and guidance from their internship training director or other person(s) knowledgeable about the postdoctoral selection process.
- Take advantage of APPIC’s educational resources to learn about the postdoctoral selection process (e.g., Q&A calls with members of the APPIC Postdoctoral Committee and narrated PowerPoint).
- Utilize the APPIC Universal Postdoctoral Program Directory (UPPD) to search for programs, which is intended to provide a central location to find programs nationally. Be aware some programs may opt not to utilize the UPPD and advertise their program elsewhere.
- Inquire whether programs to which you have applied are adhering to the APPIC Postdoctoral 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 offers can be held.
- If you are applying to both predominantly research-focused programs and clinically-focused programs, be aware that timelines for offers for these types of programs may differ. Support or advice from your internship training director or other mentor(s) is recommended.
- Have your informal rank ordering of programs completed as soon as possible and no later than to 2/25/19. Note: No formal ranking of programs need to be submitted anywhere. This is for the applicant’s use only so he or she is prepared to respond to position offers.
- If you receive a bona fide offer from a postdoctoral training program prior to 2/25/19 that is not your first choice, you may contact your top ranked program and ask for a reciprocal offer. That program may ask for verification of your offer. If a reciprocal offer is extended to you, it is expected that you will accept immediately. Do not request a reciprocal offer if you are not prepared to accept the position immediately; you should not ask to “hold” a reciprocal offer. If the program does not extend a reciprocal offer, it is acceptable to ask if you remain under consideration and/or if the program is willing to disclose information about your relative position on their rank list. This may be helpful in weighing the other offer you have.
- Reciprocal offer rules do not apply after the UND. Applicants are free to contact programs after the UND to express interest and request application status updates.
- If a program declines an applicant’s request for a reciprocal offer, that applicant is free to request a second reciprocal offer from their next preferred program. As with all reciprocal offer requests, the applicant is expected to immediately accept if a reciprocal offer from the second-ranked program is extended. The applicant should then inform all programs, including the first-ranked program, that a position has been accepted.
- Inquire as to how programs intend to make offers (e.g., phone, email, and ensure programs are aware how to contact you (phone, email, text) starting at 10:00 AM (EST) on to 2/25/19.
- It is essential that applicants are available to accept phone calls and emails and promptly reply to programs on to 2/25/19. The APPIC Postdoctoral Committee will encourage internship training directors to facilitate postdoctoral applicants’ availability on 2/25/19. If your internship program is not willing to free your schedule that morning, it is highly recommended that you take vacation or personal time. Cell phone reception should also be considered when advising programs in how to reach you. As noted in the Guidelines, if you do not acknowledge a phone call, email, or offer within an hour of it being made, the program may choose to retract the offer or move on to other applicants.
- On 2/25/19, once an offer is made to you, one of three things can occur. You can:
- Accept the offer immediately
- Decline the offer
- Ask to "hold" the offer. If you decide to hold the offer, then the position is frozen and cannot 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 4 hours.
- Hold no more than one offer at a time. After receiving and holding an offer, each time you are offered a higher ranked position on your list, it is expected that you accept or hold it and immediately release the offer that you were previously holding (i.e., contact that site).
- As soon as you either accept or hold an offer, immediately 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. This facilitates a swifter process and likely better outcomes for both programs and other applicants.
- It is expected that applicants (and programs) act ethically and with a high degree of professionalism. Once you have accepted an offer, it is considered binding to the extent that it’s a professional commitment for the applicant and program; baring extreme and rare circumstances, reneging on an offer would likely result in negative consequences for programs, other applicants, and yourself. Seek consultation with one’s mentors prior to reneging on an offer. Psychology as a profession is a “small world” and it’s always in one’s best interest to act with the highest level of professionalism.
Internship Program Directors:
- Educate and mentor interns on navigating the postdoctoral selection process and the APPIC Selection Guidelines. A PowerPoint presentation and other resources will be available on the APPIC Website.
- Allow applicants the option to take “professional leave” (rather than vacation) for the time needed to interview in person or remotely for postdoctoral positions.
- For the day of the UND, grant interns who have applied to postdoctoral positions up to a full day of professional leave or non-clinical responsibilities so that they are available to respond promptly to postdoctoral offers. Given that offers may expire after an hour if an applicant fails to respond, it is in the applicant’s best interest to be free and available that day.
- Be familiar with the recommendations for applicants and advise interns accordingly. For example, educating and reminding interns to keep all programs on their preference list informed if they accept or hold offers is critical so as not to create log jams on 2/25/19.
Questions about the 2018/2019 APPIC Postdoctoral Selections Guidelines and APPIC recommendations regarding the postdoctoral recruitment and application process should be directed to Wayne Siegel, Ph.D., ABPP, APPIC’s Postdoc Committee Chair (firstname.lastname@example.org or 612-467-4024).