Postdoctoral training is a transitional period in your career, and you need to find the best fit. Ask questions now and evaluate the answers carefully to save time and energy later. When you interview for a position, you are also interviewing the faculty mentor, other colleagues, and the university. Know what you need to be successful, and start from there. It’s better to choose wisely now, than to try to get out of a bad situation later.
Here are some questions to help you reflect on what you want and what you need when considering a postdoctoral opportunity:
What do you need to succeed?
What type of environment is best for you?
Do you prefer large or small groups?
What kind of management style are you looking for in a faculty mentor?
What are your short- and long-term career plans?
Will working with a specific group or mentor help you achieve these goals?
Do you have a partner who needs to find a position?
Do you have geographical constraints?
What type of faculty mentor do you want?
Where have former postdocs gone after training?
What is their reputation concerning postdocs?
Will you have the opportunity to develop independence?
Will you learn the skills and techniques you need to succeed in your field or any other career of your choice?
How well respected are they?
What do current & former mentees say about their experience?
Will you need to apply for funding?
Here are some resources to educate yourself on how to select a postdoctoral appointment: