First post-doc interview - simple questions

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First post-doc interview - simple questions

Postby Pete » Tue Nov 01, 2005 5:11 pm

Hi everyone,

I am going for my first post-doc interview in about 2 weeks. My question is, will the PI reimburse my flight ticket expenditure? He booked a hotel reservation for me already. But He didnt tell me anything about travel expenses. I already booked the ticket thinking that i will get the reimbursement. Am i wrong? SHould i ask him now about that? or Should i ask him after i go overthere? or Shouldnt i ask him at all?.

And also, is it toomuch if i expect someone from the lab to comeover to the airport and pick me to the Motel? or am i simply thinking too much?

Please guide me...thanks a advance.


First post-doc interview - simple questions

Postby Pete » Tue Nov 01, 2005 5:21 pm

Another thing is, when i sent him my itinerary and timings, he replied to me giving detailed directions to reach his lab from the Motel. Is it a common thing? Is it toomuch if i expect him to comeover to the Motel and pick me to his lab?

Are my concerns sound OK? or Is it just me?

First post-doc interview - simple questions

Postby Leigh » Tue Nov 01, 2005 5:42 pm

Do you have the contact info for the PI's assistant? You should contact the lab and find out about reimbursement, and transportation to the lab, what your schedule is going to be. When I applied for my current position, I went straight from the airport to the lab. Not all labs will be able to reimburse for your travel, so don't expect to be reimbursed.
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First post-doc interview - simple questions

Postby Kevin Foley » Tue Nov 01, 2005 7:59 pm

If a lab can't reimburse you for travel expenses, you should think twice about whether it is a suitable place for a postdoc.

They should also reimburse you for car rental or taxi fare, unless they specifically arrange to have someone pick you up. Dining should be covered as well.

I interviewed in 5 different labs for a postdoc (circa 1993) and their covering my expenses was never an issue.

Kevin Foley
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First post-doc interview - simple questions

Postby Agnes » Tue Nov 01, 2005 11:32 pm

I think you need to send an e-mail to the PI and tell him that you have booked a flight X for Y dollars and ask him directly if he's willing to reimburse that. I think you should ask him BEFORE you go to the interview. You want to get that out of your mind and concentrate on your interview/presentation. And if he hasn't told you specifically that someone is going to pick you up at the Motel and take you to the lab then he's likely expecting you to figure out how to get to the lab by yourself. If you see that public transportation is not available or not an option then take a cab and ask for a receit to the cab driver so that you can include it in the " travel expenses" that you want to get reimbursed.

I came from Europe for my postdoc interview(s) and I arranged with the PIs about the reimbursement of my travel expenses before I came over to the US. I think this is pretty normal and you say the PI has already arranged an overnight stay in a motel, that shows he has this things in mind too.

Good luck!

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First post-doc interview - simple questions

Postby MPB » Wed Nov 02, 2005 12:32 am

Do not post-doc at a lab that will not reimburse you for travel to an interview. This has been discussed here numerous times and it is nearly always a bad idea. You should, however, clarify this kind of thing before you travel. I would say something like "Will your office be making my flight arrangements, or should I buy my own ticket and submit my reciepts for reimbursement aftewards?"

If the PI gave you detailed instructions on how to get to the lab, then no, I would not expect someone to meet you. Take a cab and send them the receipts. Don't mess around with public transportation on your way to a job interview in an unfamiliar city.
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First post-doc interview - simple questions

Postby Kelly » Wed Nov 02, 2005 9:28 am

I agree totally with all that others have written, especially Kevin's comments: if the lab can't afford to have you come to interview then I would be concerned about money issues. This is particularly true for a senior PI.

The PI has already sent you a message that he expects you to make your way from the motel to the lab on your own by virture of giving you directions. I think this is, well, a bit rude.

You are interviewing BUT you are also a guest in their lab, department and institution. While one should not expect or behave like a diva, a little bit of civility goes a long way (it also tells you about the lab).

Typically (for post-docs, seminar speakers I have invited, job candidates that I might know or have some connection), I meet people at the airport generally with one other person for dinner. I have someone pick up the person in the morning and take them back in the evening after dinner. It is always nice if the PI schedules a lunch or dinner with the lab but without the PI. It is also good for the visitor to have a schedule in hand before they arrive. I find knowing what the day will hold, takes away alot of the stress of spending 24-48 hrs in a strange place with unknown people.
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First post-doc interview - simple questions

Postby Maureen » Wed Nov 02, 2005 11:28 am


When I interviewed for a postdoc in NYC, I was expected to find my own way to the lab, but at least they told me what train to take. I was also left on my own for dinner, so I think it depends on what town you are visiting and the transportation/afterwork culture (nontheless, I didn't accept the position).

It also says a little about your potential boss. Sounds like they are the "figure it out on your own" type. May not get good mentoring there..

I like the advice to instead of asking whether they will reimburse, but simply ask where you should turn in your receipts.

Good luck!
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First post-doc interview - simple questions

Postby Rich Lemert » Wed Nov 02, 2005 2:13 pm

If your host makes arrangements to have you met at the airport consider that a courtesy that's been extended to you. There is nothing rude or inconsiderate about it if they don't make these arrangements. Playing 'tour guide' to a prospective employee is not the most effective use of his or his staff's time, and you should be fully capable of getting around while visiting a new city if you've reached the point where you're considering a post-doc.

You should expect your host to make your housing arrangements for you, mostly because they know the area and know what's close, affordable, and reasonably safe. (They probably also have an institutional agreement with the hotel for a corporate rate to cover situations like this.) They should also make it clear how they expect you to get to/from the airport, as well as who/where/when you will meet for the actual interviews. Anything else is gravy.

One important rule should hold regardless of what ever other arrangements are being made, though. If you're in doubt about anything, ask about it before hand!
Rich Lemert
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First post-doc interview - simple questions

Postby Pete » Wed Nov 02, 2005 2:46 pm

Thanks a million to everyone for great thoughts!

I think i am going to ask him about the reimbursement after i go over-there or after i come back in follow up.

Regarding his 'not picking me from the airport' and 'detailed directions to reach his lab from motel' things, i dont know how to interpret. I see varied opinions here. But the way he spoke to me over phone and replied to my emails suggests me that he is not rude. But i will know better about him once i see him personally.

I will keep you informed!

thanks a lot again,

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