I haven't seen any mention of the March 14 Uniform Notification Date on this thread yet. I should note that I am only looking at child-clinical post-doc positions, so I can't speak in anyway for generalists or adult positions with regards to what I am speaking of. However, I have noticed that many child-clinical sites have applications due between January and February. I have also noticed that many APPIC post-doc positions are pledging to follow these Uniform Notification Date procedures. I have also noticed that some non-APPIC programs have stated they are following this approach. Here is the policy (which are only recommendations, not requirements):
Uniform Notification Date with Option for Reciprocal Offer (UNDr)
March 14, 2012
All APPIC non-neuropsychology postdoctoral programs (those that do not offer the specialty of clinical neuropsychology) will make offers to applicants only on the APPIC selected date for offers. Programs may make an exception if an applicant is made another earlier bone fide offer, which must follow the guidelines below. On March 14, 2012, at Noon EST, the program will call their top candidate. Once an offer is made to an applicant, the applicant may proceed with one of the following actions: accept the offer, decline the offer, or hold the offer for four hours. If the position is held, it is considered to be frozen and cannot be offered to any other candidate during that time period. (At the four hour mark, the candidate must either accept or decline, otherwise the offer is no longer valid). Candidates may not hold more than one offer at a time. Once a candidate accepts an offer they should call the remaining programs that are lower on their preference list and inform them that they no longer wish to be considered at those facilities. Postdoctoral Training Directors (or their designee) will contact all applicants by phone or e-mail on the day of the UND to inform them of the status of the position. After a site and an applicant come to an agreement, a formal offer letter will be mailed to the applicant who will then formally accept the offer in writing.
Reciprocal Offers Process
Candidates who have been made an offer from a non-APPIC site (whether clinical or research postdoc or job offer) requiring a decision prior to UND date may contact an APPIC site request a reciprocal offer. The candidate would indicate the name of the program making the competing offer and how long they have been allowed to hold their offer. Before making a reciprocal offer to the candidate, the APPIC site should call the candidate's Internship Training Director and verify the offer or ask the applicant for written verification of the competing offer (e.g., a faxed or scanned letter or a forwarded e-mail).
When an APPIC program makes a reciprocal offer, the candidate is expected to accept immediately. The acceptance is binding. If a program declines to make a reciprocal offer, only then is the candidate permitted to contact another site indicating it is (now) their #1 choice.
Application deadlines are permitted at any point prior to UND as determined by each program.
Notification of Applicants Who are No Longer Being Considered
APPIC programs should notify applicants at the point that they are out of consideration for the position for which they have applied.
UNDr Posting by APPIC Postdoctoral Members
By September 24, 2011, APPIC postdoctoral programs are expected to update their brochures, website, and directory information to explain their use of the UNDr process.
Programs who Wish to Make Offers after UND
Programs are permitted to make offers after UND if they are uncertain of funding at time of UND.
No clearinghouse will be set up during this initial year. Programs that do not fill positions on UND may fill their empty positions on any future date.
Originally Posted by AcronymAllergy
I can't speak to the specific phrasing you've mentioned, but I will say that a few different sites to which I'm applying actually will be organizing all those separate mats themselves; they require (or prefer) that recommenders directly send letters as signed email attachments, and that I email/mail my other mats in on my own.
I'd definitely email each site to clarify, since there seems to be a decent amount of variability.