The Most Important Thing That Gets You A Postdoc Position

After a doing a PhD, most want to do a Postdoc. Only about 30% of PhD holders get a Postdoc position.

The prevailing belief is that the number of papers you have, and the impact factor of the journals they are published in, are the most important things determining whether you get a postdoc position or not.

However, that’s not true.

These things are very important, but they’re not the most important. They are the second and third most important things.

To give you an idea of what is the most important thing, let me give you an example than most of us can relate to.

Imagine you were the coach of a sports team. Now, say you have the choice of picking two different people to be on your team.

The first person is a fantastic athlete and incredibly skilled at the sport. However, they don’t take advice or instructions. They just do whatever they feel like.

The second person person isn’t very good, but they follow the instructions of the coach to the letter.

Whom would you pick?

The first person is amazingly gifted, but you don’t know what they’re going to do. They might even just lay down on the field. In that case, you might as well not even have that person.

The second person, while terrible, is going to do what you instruct to the best of their ability.

The obvious choice is the second person because even though they’re not great, you can trust them to follow your instructions.

The same is true when it comes to a postdoc. A supervisor doesn’t want to hire someone who is highly talented but does whatever they want, whenever they want, and never listen to instructions. Instead, they want to hire someone who they can trust to try to do what they’re supposed to, even if they might not achieve it.

What’s more, the person who follows instructions can even be instructed to be autonomous. However, the person who doesn’t follow instructions can’t even be instructed to do anything.

Therefore, trust is the most important thing when it comes to getting a postdoc position, not papers. Potential supervisors want someone they can trust will follow their instructions and the instructions of their project.

Papers, in academia, are the second most important thing.

Most supervisors won’t think consciously about whether they trust you or not, but they will feel it as they interview you. If they don’t feel like they can trust you, then it doesn’t matter how many papers you have to your name, or any other measure of an academic, they won’t want to hire you.

On the other hand, if they feel like they can trust you, generally, they will be happier to hire you over someone who excels in other categories but falls short on trust.

Therefore, trust is the most important thing for getting a postdoc position, with other aspects, such as papers, still playing very important roles but not as important.

If you want to learn how to build trust naturally during an interview, as well as many other aspects for getting a postdoc position, including an easy psychological method for tell if you will fit in with a research group or not, read this book here,

Landing A Postdoc Position”.

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