Recruiting & Hiring Postdocs


WHAT IS A POSTDOCTORAL FELLOW (POSTDOC)?

The typical postdoc appointee:

- was recently awarded a PhD. or equivalent doctorate (e.g., Sc.D., M.D.) in an appropriate field
- conducts full-time research or scholarly work under the supervision of a faculty mentor
- has the freedom to and is expected to publish the results of his or her research or scholarship with the assistance of the faculty mentor
- is preparing for a full-time academic and/or research career
- is not part of a clinical training program

POSTDOC VS. SENIOR POSTDOC

The Senior Postdoc title was created to allow hiring units greater flexibility in staffing and the ability to differentiate between new graduates and experienced researchers. The Senior Postdoc is a postdoctoral graduate researcher with more experience than a recent graduate. Therefore, the minimum qualifications for this position are a PhD in an appropriate science field and 3 or more years of post-degree experience.

HOW TO RECRUIT A POSTDOC

Contact your HR generalist for assistance. 

To establish the postdoc position, use the Postdoc PCF.

TIPS

Have at least a brief phone interview with your candidate(s). This may be difficult due to time differences and costs, but it can be invaluable in assessing the candidate’s ability to communicate in English and discuss the scope of his/her credentials.  Unfortunately, emails and CVs can be puffed up and even completely falsified.

It is the responsibility of the hiring unit to verify the educational credentials of the postdoc candidate by a Foreign Credential Agency. Some companies that provide this service: connie@educassess.com, www.ece.org, www.gceus.com, www.lisano-intl.com, www.jsilny.com, www.wes.org

If the postdoc candidate will need an H-1B visa, credential evaluation is required by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. It will cost your candidate approximately $100, but you will get a sense of their commitment to working with you. Some of these agencies will also verify the documents for authenticity. As you may know, transcript fraud has become easy and even commonplace in some countries. We strongly advise against simply relying on the CV as evidence of the candidate’s background and experience.  

Did you know that if you hire a non-native English-speaking postdoc on a J-1 visa, you are expected to assess their English language skills prior to employment? If they get to the consular interview and cannot communicate in English, the entry visa may be denied.

DEFINITIONS

Credential Verification: A review of official, original academic credentials for the purpose of confirming that the individual did in fact complete the specific degree at the specific school as stated on the candidate’s CV or resume.

Credential Evaluation: An assessment and analysis of academic credentials to provide a comparability statement of individual qualifications (e.g. the Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery are equivalent to a U.S. MD).

HOW TO HIRE A POSTDOC

1. The hiring unit should use the postdoc offer letter template to draft an offer letter. 

2. Before sending the offer to the selected candidate, email the DRAFT offer letter to the IPSO Director, LD Newman, for approval, along with the candidate's current CV.

3. The IPSO Director will return the approved offer letter by email, with or without revisions, to the hiring unit and copy HR and the appropriate college operations manager.

4. Then, the hiring unit should send the approved offer letter to the candidate for signatory acceptance.

5. The hiring unit then sends a copy of the signed acceptance letter to IPSO by email and a copy to the assigned HR Generalist.

HOW TO RECLASSIFY A POSTDOC AS A SENIOR POSTDOC

1. The hiring unit should submit the appointee’s name, a current CV, current salary and the effective date to the IPSO Director for preliminary approval of reclassification.

2. The IPSO Director consults with college operations personnel to determine if approval is warranted.

3. If approved, the hiring unit prepares the Senior Postdoc PCF and submits the PCF to HR CC&E.

4. Once reclassification is approved by HR, the hiring unit uses the postdoc offer letter internal transfer template

5. Before sending the offer to the candidate who is to be reclassified, email the draft offer letter to the IPSO Director for approval along with the candidate’s current CV.

6. The IPSO Director will return the approved offer letter by email, with or without revisions, to the hiring unit and copy HR and the appropriate college operations manager.

7. Then, the hiring unit sends the approved offer letter to candidate for signatory acceptance.

8. The hiring unit then sends a copy of signed acceptance letter to IPSO by email and a copy to the assigned HR Generalist.

INTERNAL TRANSFERS OF POSTDOCS

It is not unusual that a postdoc may decide to transfer to a new lab at Augusta University. If you have a postdoc vacancy, please contact your HR Generalist, and then use the following IPSO guidelines when hiring an internal transfer postdoc:

1. Use the current internal postdoc offer letter template to draft an offer letter for the postdoc who will be transferring.

2. Before sending the offer letter, email the DRAFT offer letter to the IPSO Director, LD Newman, for approval along with the candidate's current CV.

3. The IPSO Director will return the approved offer letter by email, with or without revisions, to the hiring unit and copy HR and the appropriate operations manager for the college .

4. Then, the hiring unit sends the approved offer letter to candidate for signatory acceptance.

HOW TO APPOINT A GRA TO A POSTDOC POSITION

A current Augusta University graduate research assistant (GRA) may be recruited through an expedited process developed by HR. Please talk with your HR Generalist about position classification and recruitment.

To Appoint the GRA to the postdoc position:

1. The hiring unit should use the current postdoc offer letter template to draft an offer letter. Be sure to include the appendix that says that employment is contingent upon the candidate obtaining his or her PhD.

2. Email the DRAFT offer letter to the IPSO Director, LD Newman, for approval along with the candidate’s current CV.

3. The IPSO Director will return the approved offer letter by email, with or without revisions, to the hiring unit and will copy HR and the appropriate operations manager for the college.

4. Then, the hiring unit sends the approved offer letter to the candidate for signatory acceptance.

WHAT TO DO WHEN A POSTDOC IS LEAVING AU OR MOVING TO A NEW POSITION

Please notify IPSO when a postdoc is leaving Augusta University or moving to a non-postdoc position.

If the postdoc is a J-1, use the Notification of Change of Activity or Termination Form

If the postdoc is in H-1B, TN, E-3, or O-1 status, use the Notification of Change of Duties or Termination Form.

POSTDOC SALARY

SALARY NEGOTIATION

The base annual salary for a full-time postdoc is $47,476. Postdocs are regular employees and are eligible for all benefits.  

Postdocs hired pursuant to J-1 or H-1B visa authorization may have to be appointed at a higher starting salary to meet certain federal immigration regulations.

Also, Augusta University postdoctoral mentors should strive to compensate postdocs in a range consistent with comparator institutions and in reasonable accordance with National Institutes of Health Guidelines.

NRSA and NIH training grant postdocs must be paid per NIH Guidelines for the year they were hired.  See the Salary Cap & Stipends webpage on the NIH website.

SALARY INCREASES

Pursuant to BOR policy and federal grant-funding requirements, postdocs may get annual salary increases, at the discretion of the mentor that are consistent with the timing and amounts given to other personnel at the employing institution. Augusta University policy requires that recommendations for merit increases be accompanied by an annual performance appraisal.

Postdocs authorized for employment based on J-1 or H-1B status may need salary adjustments during the fiscal year and off the budget cycle to meet certain federal regulations.

Mentors retain ultimate authority over the hiring salary and subsequent increases for Augusta University postdocs, given the above parameters and individual budgetary constraints.

If the salary increase is in the original budget for the increase on market and equity, the IPSO director's approval is not required.

Postdoc salary increase requests should be routed by memo for signatory approvals from the hiring manager, through IPSO, to the Augusta University-MCG Dean's Operations Office or other Colleges' Operations Business managers. The memo should clearly identify the funding source.