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Post-doc questions during an interview - (Feb/23/2009 )

Hello all,

Soon I will be starting to write to advisors for post-doc position. I was wondering if anybody has got any handy list of questions those I should pose to the PI, apart from project related ones?

If there is no handy list as such, please post your suggestions.

Thanks in advance.

(P.S. - I remember of such thread before server crash and now its gone)

-noelmathur-

Hey

U can't really ask but I would try to find out abt lab, project, lab atmosphere and the city, apart from the salary. :)

TC.

-T C-

Frankly, to be a good scientist, you have to have a good mentor. In my case, my PhD advisor is rather a boss so I don't get a chance to learn anything from him. I don't get any decent supervision either. Hence, when I am at a post-doc interview, I would rather like to be candid to the advisor in the following regards.
1. Even though, I am expected to work all by myself, how much supervision can I expect from him? I would rather remain unemployed than working for a boss. The reason, I will be only spending time in the lab without any contribution to either science, his projects or my ability to work in science. Rather than wasting tax payers' money, I would prefer to travel and see the world.
2. Has anybody left his/her lab without completing their contract/assignment? If yes, why? If I can get to choose anyone to contact them and talk more.
3. If I will get a chance to talk to at least half of the group members for min 20 min.s each in person.
4. If he has kicked anyone out of his lab. If yes, why? If I get a chance to talk to him/her.
5. I would like to know any cold war brewing in the lab and if he plays any role in brewing the war. (This I will have to figure out while talking to the group members)
6. I am family person so I would like to know how he looks at his group members with families. Does he/she understand their problems or plainly refutes them as excuses?

At the moment, I can think of only these questions but I will post as and when I recall, till then other inputs are welcome.

T C on Feb 24 2009, 09:06 AM said:

U can't really ask but I would try to find out abt lab, project, lab atmosphere and the city, apart from the salary. :)

Thanks for your reply TC, I disagree that I can't really ask anything. I would rather NOT ask about salary till he offers me the position.

-noelmathur-

Hey

I know that these things are really important but maybe if you discuss a lot of science and become pally with the guys there, then you can ask on face. But there are ways of getting it out without being blunt. In my personal view, talk more of science and smartly branch out in between and keep asking these questions. The way you have listed points and plan to fire questions one by one, you may create a wrong impression. For a postdoc, one would like to hire a scientist who worries about science more thn these things.

This is my personal opinion......and I am not that experienced......so maybe yr approach is right but this is what I feel about it. :)

All the best

TC

-T C-