APPIC Statement on Postdoc Selection      Suggestions for Postdoc Programs|

The Postdoctoral Selection Guidelines       Suggestions for Applicants

The Postdoctoral Selection Guidelines       Suggestions for Internship Directors


Statement on Postdoctoral Selection

APPIC currently holds the following perspectives about postdoctoral selection:

  1. Establishing overall organization and commonly used selection processes are in the best interest of applicants, programs and the larger postdoctoral community.
  2. APPIC has made substantial progress in building community among postdoctoral programs; however, work remains to be done in order to create a more cohesive and structured selection process.
  3. Survey data indicate that the APPIC Postdoctoral Selection Guidelines work well for the majority of programs and result in very positive outcomes for most applicants.
  4. The Universal Psychology Postdoctoral Directory (UPPD) offers a helpful and effective recruitment resource.
  5. The APPIC Postdoctoral Committee will continue efforts to facilitate postdoctoral selection for both applicants and programs by providing education, consultation and tangible resources. Click on the following link for details (link):

APPIC Postdoctoral Selection Guidelines:

APPIC strongly encourages Postdoctoral Programs and Applicants to adhere to the following Guidelines for the 2019-2020 selection process. Clinical neuropsychology programs are not expected to follow these guidelines.  Programs that are predominantly research in emphasis are encouraged to follow these guidelines to the extent to possible.

  1. Programs should wait to make offers until the Uniform Notification Date (UND), which is  2/24/20, 10:00 AM Eastern Time.
  2. Programs should notify applicants if they are not being extended an interview offer or are no longer being considered.
  3. Programs should communicate with applicants prior to 2/24/20 regarding how they intend to make offers (email, phone).
  4. Applicants should communicate with programs concerning how they may be reached on 2/24/20.
  5. Applicants may request a reciprocal offer from their top-ranked program if they receive an offer from another postdoctoral program prior to 2/24/20. Applicants who request a reciprocal offer must accept the position immediately if the position is offered (i.e., that offer may not be held). Click on the following link for clarification for applicants and postdoctoral training directors about asking for or responding to reciprocal offers.
  6. Programs are to make a reciprocal offer prior to 2/24/20 only if their top applicant receives an offer from another postdoctoral program and requests a reciprocal offer.
  7. Applicants should ensure that they are available to respond to offers on 2/24/20, 10:00 AM Eastern Time.
  8. Applicants, on the UND, should acknowledge receipt of postdoctoral position offers received through email or voice message within one hour of receiving the offer even if they choose to hold the offer. Failure to do so could result in the program retracting the offer.
  9. Programs, on the UND, should allow applicants to hold non-reciprocal offers for at least 2 hours.
  10. Programs should immediately notify applicants as soon as they are no longer under consideration and when all positions are filled.
  11. After accepting an offer, applicants should immediately notify all programs for which they believe they are still under consideration.
  12. Programs should email selected applicants with an official confirmation of the agreement within 48 hours.

Recommendations for Postdoctoral Programs, Applicants and Internship Program Directors

Postdoctoral Programs:

  1. Utilize the Universal Psychology Postdoctoral Directory (UPPD) to advertise your program(s).
  2. Update your UPPD list from the previous year by September 15, 2019.  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. Listings not updated by July 15, 2019, will be flagged with a prominent message telling applicants the listing is outdated and to contact the program.
  3. Be explicit in public materials (websites, UPPD) and throughout the interview process about the intention to follow the APPIC Postdoctoral Selection Guidelines.
  4. Be prepared to make reciprocal offers (should one be requested) prior to 2/24/20.  Programs will likely not be able to make reciprocal offers if they have not completed all applicant interviews (i.e., they may not have completed ranking applicants).  
  5. Inform applicants about how to contact the program if requesting a reciprocal offer.
  6. Consider ways to streamline or improve the efficiency of selection processes, particularly for sites that have both internship and postdoctoral programs. The APPIC Board and the APPIC Postdoctoral Committee are available for consultation.
  7. Familiarize yourself with the Recommendations for Postdoctoral Applicants (section below.
  8. It is expected that programs (and applicants) act ethically and with a high degree of professionalism. 
    • Although it is reasonable for programs to want to secure their top applicant, training works best when its a mutually beneficial arrangement between the program and applicant.
    • Programs that indicate they are following the Selection Guidelines in any of their public materials, should honor that commitment.
    • Seek consultation from the APPIC Postdoc Committee.


  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. Utilize the APPIC Universal Postdoctoral Program Directory (UPPD) to search for programs.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Have your informal rank ordering of programs completed as soon as possible and no later than 2/24/20. Note: No formal ranking of programs need to be submitted anywhere. This is for the applicant’s use so they are prepared to respond to offers.
  7. Reciprocal Offers
    • If you receive an offer from a postdoctoral training program prior to 2/24/20 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. 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.
    • If a program declines a request for a reciprocal offer, you can request a second reciprocal offer from your next preferred program.  As with all reciprocal offer requests, you are expected to immediately accept the offer if it is extended.
    • 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.
  8. Inquire how programs intend to make offers on 2/24/20 (e.g., phone, email, and how they should contact you (phone, email, text).
  9. On 2/24/20, ensure that you are available to accept position offers through phone calls and emails and promptly acknowledge any offers.  Speak to your internship training director about any flexibilities available prior to the UND (e.g., not assigning cases or taking professional leave).
    • 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, 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.
  10. 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 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 2 hours.
  11. Hold no more than one offer at a time. If you are holding an offer and receive another offer from 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).
  12. 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.
  13. 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 is 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 if you are considering 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:

  1. Educate and mentor interns on navigating the postdoctoral selection process and the APPIC Selection Guidelines. A PowerPoint presentation and other resources are available on the APPIC Website.
  2. Allow applicants the option to take “professional leave” (rather than vacation) for the time needed to interview in person or remotely for postdoctoral positions.
  3. On the UND (2/24/20), grant interns who have applied to postdoctoral positions up to a full day of non-clinical responsibilities or professional leave so 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 available that day.
  4. Be familiar with the recommendations for applicants and advise interns accordingly.


Questions about the 2019/2020 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 Postdoctoral Committee Chair ( or 612-467-4024).