talking about personal life on interview

6 posts in this topic

Posted

I have an interview (recruitment days) at very prestigious school next week and I was wondering how much of my personal life I should bring up during the interview.

See, I'm a single (divorced) mom, and I have to say that given my circumstances I have accomplished a lot. I have been out of the lab for years now so my research experience dates back to years ago, but still, my personal life and career in biotech as process engineer speaks to my resilience, resourcefulness and creativity when it comes to tackling problems which are important skills to have in grad school.

I also don't want to sound like I want a pity party, but I am also not the typical grad school applicant.

So I'm struggling with how much to say and how to say it.

Any thoughts?

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Posted (edited)

I have an interview (recruitment days) at very prestigious school next week and I was wondering how much of my personal life I should bring up during the interview.

See, I'm a single (divorced) mom, and I have to say that given my circumstances I have accomplished a lot. I have been out of the lab for years now so my research experience dates back to years ago, but still, my personal life and career in biotech as process engineer speaks to my resilience, resourcefulness and creativity when it comes to tackling problems which are important skills to have in grad school.

I also don't want to sound like I want a pity party, but I am also not the typical grad school applicant.

So I'm struggling with how much to say and how to say it.

Any thoughts?

I think that you will see from how the conversation will go how much you need to say about your background. It depends a lot on a person you will be talking with. Just follow the flow of the conversation and you will feel when and what is appropriate to say. If you mention your background, stay professional, positive and concise. I am sure they will appreciate a lot your resilience and creativity! Good luck! :)

Edited by Strangefox

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Posted

I agree. Every professor looks for something different in an interview. Follow your gut and get a feel for what they are after. Good luck!

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Posted

Speaking as someone who went into interviews as a non-traditional prospective student, I have to agree with the previous posters. I met some profs who spent most of the interview asking me how I was going to cope, others who didn't care at all, and others who told me it was cool that I was a mom (but quickly moved on to the meat of the interview, what sort of research I wanted to do).

Don't come off as too defensive if you get one of the first sort. Be confident, in an arrogant sort of way. Go on the offensive if necessary, butting in to say things like, "But what I really want to know is how the data you found in study X led you to the conclusion that Y was impossible? Did you try method Z as an alternative?"

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Posted

Argh, in a normal job interview it would be illegal for them to ask how you were going to cope as a single mom, or any other question about your family status. I would say don't bring it up unless they do, and follow UnlikelyGrad's strategy if you get someone who is inappropriately concerned. Stay professional.

Your career in biotech is not your personal life, it's a relevant part of your background in the field. I think that's a fine thing to discuss.

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Posted

I had a phone interview today where we talked about basketball and his cats. So I mean, just go with the flow is all I can tell you.

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