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Difficult interviewers


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As interview dates approach, I begin to wonder about all possible scenarios and how to deal with them;

One scenario which leaves me puzzled is the instance in which a potential PI may not really be interested in you and starts asking difficult questions to throw you off/discourage you/signal his/her lack of interest.

Has this previously happened to any of those who have gone through the process? - How have you dealt with the situation?

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Same as above - never met with anyone who's "not interested". A particular interviewer may not be specifically interested in taking you as a student in their lab, but should be interested in evaluating your qualities and recruiting you to the school.

If an interviewer is really just not interested in recruiting you to the program, they probably wouldn't agree to interview in the first place, or would make it really short and boring, with no meaningful discussions or conversations, rather than spending some effort to make it "difficult". When they throw difficult questions at you / seem to act a bit mean/harsh, that's likely their style of challenging you and trying to assess how well you actually know what you're talking about. 

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Seconding the above comments - I went to 8 interviews last year (which is what, like 40 different PI interviewers?) and didn't have a single interviewer that I felt was trying to trip me up or discourage me. I did have a couple PIs who posed thought-experiment type questions, but the purpose was more for their own curiosity since our conversation was already going well, and even when I didn't get to the answer I still felt the interview went fine.

I have heard stories from others of the occasional PI who will try to trip you up, but I really don't think its necessary to plan for that, if it does happen you wouldn't want to join their lab/care about their opinion anyways.

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