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Hi everyone! I have a 45 minute phone interview coming up on Friday for an I/O PhD program and I'm looking for some general advice and feedback on my preparation so far.

My current list of prep items includes:

  • re-read personal statement to be able to expand on it/refer back to the "why I'm interested in the field" question
  • create elevator pitch about my writing sample (research proposal- it was only a term paper so it wasn't intended to be executed as a full experiment/study, but it represents my topical interests well)
  • go over POI's recent papers/faculty page and get familiar with the general outline of that info
  • look through program website for curriculum and see if I have any questions about that

My questions for you lovely people:

  • Am I missing any critical step that helped you prep for a phone interview?
  • How formal have phone interviews been for you? Are they more standard questions about your qualifications/experience, or did it seem more intended to determine personal fit?
  • What types of questions did you ask/wish you had asked/would recommend asking as a current student? Right now I'm planning on asking about summer opportunities (internships, continuing to work on a professor's research, working on independent projects, etc.), and what types of projects might be coming up in this POI's lab soon.

I appreciate the time you guys spent to read this! Really, any experiences or insight about what to expect would be super helpful.

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Hello! 

Congratulations on your interview! I've recently had an interview with a professor, and here are my thoughts on your questions:

1 hour ago, letssee said:

Am I missing any critical step that helped you prep for a phone interview?

I think your preparation is good! In my preparation, I re-read my SOP and read the professor's website carefully. I didn't have the time to read his publications, but it would definitely have been helpful, because most of our talk was about research.

1 hour ago, letssee said:

How formal have phone interviews been for you? Are they more standard questions about your qualifications/experience, or did it seem more intended to determine personal fit?

In my case, the interview was very informal and largely unstructured. In the beginning I was asked the following questions:

Why pursuing a PhD in social psychology?

Why that program specifically?

What kind of research do I want to conduct during my PhD?

After that, it the interview became more like a conversation and the professor answered some of the questions I had.

1 hour ago, letssee said:

What types of questions did you ask/wish you had asked/would recommend asking as a current student? Right now I'm planning on asking about summer opportunities (internships, continuing to work on a professor's research, working on independent projects, etc.), and what types of projects might be coming up in this POI's lab soon.

In addition to the questions you mentioned, I asked about what the professor's mentoring style was and what he expected from his students, both in terms of long-term goals (e.g. publications) and more routine-like aspects of work. His answers were very useful to determine fit in terms of work style. However, I am not sure if I would be comfortable asking this in a more formal interview.

I hope this helps!

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I've had two so far (this year), a few more during my masters, and a lot of job interviews will try my best to give you some tips. 

A majority of the time you will sense the formality. Most faculty will present an overview of the program, process, etc. You'll pick up on how they present themselves. If you don't get a good estimate I like to lead with: 

"How do you like to be addressed?" 

My personal goal is to be unique. I tend to pick at least one question that isn't the traditional "what is the funding like", "how is research", "how strong is the advisor structure"....yet not nebulous.

Some examples:

1. How do you support students emotionally and socially?

2. If I did something wrong, like ran the wrong analysis or read the wrong article, how would you react?

3. Looking back, is there anything you wish you knew in graduate school?

4. If you selected students based on just one metric (i.e., GRE, GPA, Recommendations, Interview, Personal Statement, CV, experience...), what would you choose and why?

Best,

Edited by Left Skew

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13 hours ago, Psych.dsd said:

Hello! 

Congratulations on your interview! I've recently had an interview with a professor, and here are my thoughts on your questions:

I think your preparation is good! In my preparation, I re-read my SOP and read the professor's website carefully. I didn't have the time to read his publications, but it would definitely have been helpful, because most of our talk was about research.

In my case, the interview was very informal and largely unstructured. In the beginning I was asked the following questions:

Why pursuing a PhD in social psychology?

Why that program specifically?

What kind of research do I want to conduct during my PhD?

After that, it the interview became more like a conversation and the professor answered some of the questions I had.

In addition to the questions you mentioned, I asked about what the professor's mentoring style was and what he expected from his students, both in terms of long-term goals (e.g. publications) and more routine-like aspects of work. His answers were very useful to determine fit in terms of work style. However, I am not sure if I would be comfortable asking this in a more formal interview.

I hope this helps!

This really helps, thank you! The questions you were asked are fairly similar to what I've been preparing for, so that makes me feel a lot more confident.

12 hours ago, Left Skew said:

My personal goal is to be unique. I tend to pick at least one question that isn't the traditional "what is the funding like", "how is research", "how strong is the advisor structure"....yet not nebulous.

Some examples:

1. How do you support students emotionally and socially?

2. If I did something wrong, like ran the wrong analysis or read the wrong article, how would you react?

3. Looking back, is there anything you wish you knew in graduate school?

4. If you selected students based on just one metric (i.e., GRE, GPA, Recommendations, Interview, Personal Statement, CV, experience...), what would you choose and why?

These are some great questions, thank you! He did mention he'd spend a few minutes talking about the background of the program, so hopefully that'll be a good place to gauge how formal the rest of the interview will be.

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