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psychologygeek

Interview Tips!

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6 minutes ago, psychologygeek said:

Ah, this is good info, thank you!

 

Since you've already had an interview, any way you can give a general synopsis of questions asked? I know each school is different, but if i could get a flavor of what is asked so I can draft some talking points, it would be much appreciated!

Sure!

 

This particular interview was fairly short with each PI. 15 minutes with professors I wasn't applying to work with, 30 minutes with my POI. In essence, they all asked "tell me about yourself, why are you here?" And then my POI just held a normal conversation. I wasn't quizzed on anything, no one asked about my previous research (except that I had done it, and in brief what my experience was). The only real question my POI asked me was "What would you say makes you happy?" which was interesting. They were very firm on the fact that they only want to work with pleasant people, and seemed fairly interested in who I was as a person. 

 

You'll definitely be asking most of the questions if it's anything like mine was. 

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3 minutes ago, andhowdoesthatmakeyoufeel said:

Sure!

 

This particular interview was fairly short with each PI. 15 minutes with professors I wasn't applying to work with, 30 minutes with my POI. In essence, they all asked "tell me about yourself, why are you here?" And then my POI just held a normal conversation. I wasn't quizzed on anything, no one asked about my previous research (except that I had done it, and in brief what my experience was). The only real question my POI asked me was "What would you say makes you happy?" which was interesting. They were very firm on the fact that they only want to work with pleasant people, and seemed fairly interested in who I was as a person. 

 

You'll definitely be asking most of the questions if it's anything like mine was. 

Huh, this is interesting. Thanks! I have overcome some really adverse experiences that I think add detail to my application and would further me as a clinician, so I am trying to find a way to weave that in as I do think it makes me stand out

As for what made you happy, did you choose something academically-oriented? The first thing that came to my mind was my family and friends and my support network, but that might not be a good answer 

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1 minute ago, psychologygeek said:

Huh, this is interesting. Thanks! I have overcome some really adverse experiences that I think add detail to my application and would further me as a clinician, so I am trying to find a way to weave that in as I do think it makes me stand out

As for what made you happy, did you choose something academically-oriented? The first thing that came to my mind was my family and friends and my support network, but that might not be a good answer 

I was honest and said that the people I love make me happy and doing work I feel is meaningful makes me happy

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Just now, andhowdoesthatmakeyoufeel said:

I was honest and said that the people I love make me happy and doing work I feel is meaningful makes me happy

Perfect, thank you! I was thinking about family, friends, work, and my volunteering that I do. I'm happy that they were interested in you as a person! The place I'm interviewing at real stressed diversity and interpersonal connectivity/collaboration on their website, so I am hoping my interview is kind of similar. 

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3 minutes ago, psychologygeek said:

Huh, this is interesting. Thanks! I have overcome some really adverse experiences that I think add detail to my application and would further me as a clinician, so I am trying to find a way to weave that in as I do think it makes me stand out

As for what made you happy, did you choose something academically-oriented? The first thing that came to my mind was my family and friends and my support network, but that might not be a good answer 

I can’t speak to what the OP said but that, to me, sounds like the PI is trying to understand more about you as a person. My mentor and I really connected on both of us being hikers so I think it’s important to show who you are, outside of academia. Another common question is what would you do if you weren’t going into psychology and I didn’t get that question but I was going to say be a baker. Just my two cents! 

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1 minute ago, hopefulgrad2019 said:

I can’t speak to what the OP said but that, to me, sounds like the PI is trying to understand more about you as a person. My mentor and I really connected on both of us being hikers so I think it’s important to show who you are, outside of academia. Another common question is what would you do if you weren’t going into psychology and I didn’t get that question but I was going to say be a baker. Just my two cents! 


ha! That’s my answer too if I get asked. Always wanted to open a bakery if nothing else worked out. 

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3 minutes ago, hopefulgrad2019 said:

I can’t speak to what the OP said but that, to me, sounds like the PI is trying to understand more about you as a person. My mentor and I really connected on both of us being hikers so I think it’s important to show who you are, outside of academia. Another common question is what would you do if you weren’t going into psychology and I didn’t get that question but I was going to say be a baker. Just my two cents! 

This is a good point! Since my program was talking so much about collaboration and how tight-knit everyone was, I really want them to see *me* as a person outside of my work and research, because I have a lot to offer besides that!. 

If I wasn't a psychologist I would be a neurologist 😂 Wondering if I should pick a different answer, lol

Edited by psychologygeek
typo

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Had a phone interview today, and was asked what makes me suited for clinical work, and also how would people describe me. I fumbled and panicked a bit, and ended up spitting out a bunch of adjectives for both answers. I just got so nervous and was overthinking two very simple questions. I don’t want to screw up those answers again, any tips?

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3 hours ago, teenygreeny said:

Had a phone interview today, and was asked what makes me suited for clinical work, and also how would people describe me. I fumbled and panicked a bit, and ended up spitting out a bunch of adjectives for both answers. I just got so nervous and was overthinking two very simple questions. I don’t want to screw up those answers again, any tips?

That second question is the worst for me but I actually got a description of me from my mentor that is sort of witty--"not easygoing, but easy to get along with" which I've been able to work in conversation and show that I have an idea of my good and bad traits. (I clarified that he meant that I was a pretty determined, disciplined person, but that despite that, I wasn't stern or cold.)

I might suggest that you ask someone how they'd describe you (someone who you can trust to be honest) and then go from there!

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58 minutes ago, Modulus said:

That second question is the worst for me but I actually got a description of me from my mentor that is sort of witty--"not easygoing, but easy to get along with" which I've been able to work in conversation and show that I have an idea of my good and bad traits. (I clarified that he meant that I was a pretty determined, disciplined person, but that despite that, I wasn't stern or cold.)

I might suggest that you ask someone how they'd describe you (someone who you can trust to be honest) and then go from there!

This is helpful, thank you! I was wondering how to answer a question like this

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On 1/17/2020 at 2:29 PM, psychologygeek said:

Huh, this is interesting. Thanks! I have overcome some really adverse experiences that I think add detail to my application and would further me as a clinician, so I am trying to find a way to weave that in as I do think it makes me stand out

As for what made you happy, did you choose something academically-oriented? The first thing that came to my mind was my family and friends and my support network, but that might not be a good answer 

I would always err on the side of honest and not worry so much about whether it's a "good" or "right" answer. The best thing you can do is to represent your authentic self. It will be a LONG process if you have to fake your way through it (interviews and PhD programs). Take a deep breath, remember that they invited you because they are excited by what you have to offer, and try to enjoy this experience!! Good luck!

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4 hours ago, springxsummer said:

Does anyone have any tips for skype interviews? :)

My general Skype advice:

  • Make sure that you give them your Skype username or the email that you used to make your Skype account before the interview takes place (esp if you're like me and you have multiple Skype accounts), and make sure that they can find your account easily on Skype if they search by your username/email
  • Give the interviewer your cell phone number as a backup
  • If you wear glasses, turn your screen brightness as low as you're comfortable with; this will reduce glare in your glasses
  • Try to have a neutral/non-reflective background, wear something nice including pants 
  • Look into the camera (not at the screen) while speaking
  • Wear headphones to reduce background noise

In my experience, you'll be asked questions similarly to a real interview, so most interview advice should be applicable to Skype interviews too!

Edit: Also my general interview tips/experience:

  • You will be expected to ask more questions than answer them; make sure to have many questions on a variety of topics (teaching requirements, clinical work, lab workflows, coursework, general living in the area, etc.)
  • If additional faculty interview you that you didn't apply to, they probably won't ask you a lot of detailed questions; they're there to answer your non-PI-specific questions that only a faculty member can answer
  • Don't get drunk at the pre-interview social events
  • I brought ~10 copies of my CV and this was definitely overkill (you should bring a few though)
Edited by corbeau0

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1 hour ago, corbeau0 said:

My general Skype advice:

  • Make sure that you give them your Skype username or the email that you used to make your Skype account before the interview takes place (esp if you're like me and you have multiple Skype accounts), and make sure that they can find your account easily on Skype if they search by your username/email
  • Give the interviewer your cell phone number as a backup
  • If you wear glasses, turn your screen brightness as low as you're comfortable with; this will reduce glare in your glasses
  • Try to have a neutral/non-reflective background, wear something nice including pants 
  • Look into the camera (not at the screen) while speaking
  • Wear headphones to reduce background noise

In my experience, you'll be asked questions similarly to a real interview, so most interview advice should be applicable to Skype interviews too!

Edit: Also my general interview tips/experience:

  • You will be expected to ask more questions than answer them; make sure to have many questions on a variety of topics (teaching requirements, clinical work, lab workflows, coursework, general living in the area, etc.)
  • If additional faculty interview you that you didn't apply to, they probably won't ask you a lot of detailed questions; they're there to answer your non-PI-specific questions that only a faculty member can answer
  • Don't get drunk at the pre-interview social events
  • I brought ~10 copies of my CV and this was definitely overkill (you should bring a few though)

Thank you!! The tip about lowering screen brightness to reduce glare on glasses is really helpful— I don't know why I didn't think about that!

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I just had my first "official" interview today via Skype, with a graduate student, and wanted to get opinions on a tough question I received (and further collective knowledge so you guys can prepare for it :) ). It was "what are your clinical weaknesses?" As I've never been in an official clinical role (I only have a BA), but do have a decent amount of experience interacting with the population I hope to practice with, it was more of a "lack of experience" more than anything but I feel like I could answer it better. Has anyone got this question before?

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I've found various lists of questions that could be asked, and I find most I can come up with answers based on my past experiences. However, there are a few I find confusing and I'm not really sure what the question is getting am, I'm wondering if anyone understands how to best answer these?

How do you think about research?

How do you work within a system?

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23 minutes ago, sdpsych said:

I've found various lists of questions that could be asked, and I find most I can come up with answers based on my past experiences. However, there are a few I find confusing and I'm not really sure what the question is getting am, I'm wondering if anyone understands how to best answer these?

How do you think about research?

How do you work within a system?

Hmm those are worded a bit weird. 

To me, "How do you think about research?" would mean what do I hope research accomplishes. What does research mean to me? Who are you hoping to serve? Buuut that one is very strangely worded and I could be interpreting it way wrong. 

"How do you work within a system" seems to assess your understanding of academic and research systems. For instance, working within the government sector system will have it's own set of rules and bureaucracy. It could also be asking about your ability to be a team player, to work within a lab, and to function in the larger context of the program and university. But yeah, those are tough. Hope this is helpful, they are very open to interpretation!  

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2 hours ago, sdpsych said:

I've found various lists of questions that could be asked, and I find most I can come up with answers based on my past experiences. However, there are a few I find confusing and I'm not really sure what the question is getting am, I'm wondering if anyone understands how to best answer these?

How do you think about research?

How do you work within a system?

For "How do you think about research?" I hav told people that I view it as a process. It is not a straight line, and we as researchers have to be okay with changing out ideas here and there. They may be assessing how you are able to work and clarify your ideas under pressure. 

 

For how you work within a system, keeping is positive is always great. Bonus if you really are a team player! They're looking for people who are pleasant and easy to work with

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4 hours ago, justacigar said:

Hmm those are worded a bit weird. 

To me, "How do you think about research?" would mean what do I hope research accomplishes. What does research mean to me? Who are you hoping to serve? Buuut that one is very strangely worded and I could be interpreting it way wrong. 

"How do you work within a system" seems to assess your understanding of academic and research systems. For instance, working within the government sector system will have it's own set of rules and bureaucracy. It could also be asking about your ability to be a team player, to work within a lab, and to function in the larger context of the program and university. But yeah, those are tough. Hope this is helpful, they are very open to interpretation!  

Thank you so much! This is super helpful. I also thought they were so vaguely worded, and I felt like this is definitely something I could answer several different ways.

2 hours ago, psychologygeek said:

For "How do you think about research?" I hav told people that I view it as a process. It is not a straight line, and we as researchers have to be okay with changing out ideas here and there. They may be assessing how you are able to work and clarify your ideas under pressure. 

 

For how you work within a system, keeping is positive is always great. Bonus if you really are a team player! They're looking for people who are pleasant and easy to work with

Thank you! It's great to hear other people's fresh perspective on things.

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My interview weekend is Thursday and Friday of this week and I haven't received any details. Do they normally wait this late to send more information? Should I email them tomorrow to ask?

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4 minutes ago, Psych1st said:

My interview weekend is Thursday and Friday of this week and I haven't received any details. Do they normally wait this late to send more information? Should I email them tomorrow to ask?

That is kind of bizarre. I would definitely shoot them an e-mail!!! It won't hurt

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3 minutes ago, psychpsychpsych said:

Hi everybody :) Just wondering, all schools that offer onsite interview schools should be giving a stipend or funding for you to travel to get there? Thanks!

For clinical programs, none of my interview/travel expenses were covered but I know some programs do. 

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