Assuming that one has begun a PhD program at a university which allows a student to choose an advisor after his/her first year in the program and the student has narrowed down to a couple of potential advisors, what is the etiquette for approaching them for advisor commitment? Specifically,
- How do you get across that you aren't sure yet about him being your advisor and are fishing around before you decide without sounding rude?
Advisors understand that students are fishing around - that's normal. What's less common (but possible) is students fishing around in wildly different areas. Just keep in mind that either an advisor is going to see something in you that will motivate them to try and convince you to work with them, or they'll view you as someone who needs to make up their mind first, and won't spend too much time thinking about you.
In that respect, matching up with an advisor is more like dating than an job interview, at least in the US :)