Atualizado: 11 de abr. de 2021
The point of an interview for an academic program is to verify whether you are going to deliver what they expect from you. They also want to check out if you are aware of your research and that you believe in it. Remember that you should be honest in your answers, but also that you are selling your project, so you should make sure to highlight the good impact of it in every way. Here are some common questions to encounter in a PHD Interview:
1. Tell us about yourself.
You are expected to talk about your background, how you ended up here. Also, it’s ok to show your personality as you talk about your studies. You can share some of your hobbies and interests while you are presenting yourself in this phase.
2. Why do you want to do a PHD
Tell them why they should fund you. Here’s when you demonstrate that you are aware of what is expected from you in the program, what is the level of commitment that you should be ready to deliver and how this is aligned to your work.
3. What are your plans for after the PHD?
You don’t need to have an all-ready answer for this. Feel free to be truthful and share if you already know what you expect to do next, be that a post-doctorate, become a lecturer, researcher, work in the business sector. You can also say that you are keeping your options open. Regardless of what you say, make it clear that you expect this program to help you in the next step and that you know it will teach you many important skills.
4. What are your strengths and Weaknesses?
This is a classic question in job interviews, so you by now may know the drill. Remember to avoid the obvious things such as “I am a perfectionist” or “I work too much”, and give examples to support your answers. For example, you may say you need to work on your organization, because you have once difficulties to work with many dates and emails from many different groups. It would be good to mention what you are doing to work on that matter and how you see the importance of it.
5. Why do you want to work on this program and this university?
Here is where doing prior homework comes in handy. Show the board of examiners that you have studied this information and give the rationale of your application. You can also mention aspects such as the country or city speaking closely to your heart.
6. Are you going to require any training needs?
Once you have studied the grant you are applying for and know your field of study, you might mention that you have certain experience in an area, but you require more knowledge of another one. You can mention that you will need to study a foreign language, too. Any way,the university ranks the training you will need once you start your research, so you can also say that you are looking forward to learning more with the lectures of the program.
7. Why should they choose you?
Another job-like question you might encounter in a PHD interview is on why the board of examiners should grant you a spot in their team of researches. Talk about how you are interested in their project, how you can contribute to it and present some examples of your previous experiences to demonstrate you can deliver.
8. What is the expected impact of your project?
You can consult your project’s abstract because you have probably already answered this question in it. Demonstrate why this research is relevant and what are the outcomes to society. It is more and more important that your work is contextualized and has a goal to meet that is beyond the academy, so state how society can benefit from your work.
9. Talk about your methodology. What are you going to use to develop your research?
Again by checking your abstract you might find a guide to prep for this question. Mention the steps you think will be important to approach your research and how you intend to proceed. Talk about your plans for how to conduct the research.
10. Do you have anything published in this field?
If you have taken part in conferences and congresses, submitted abstracts and papers, and helped in the development of the work of other colleagues, you should mention in your answer. If you feel you haven’t published enough material, bring your accomplishments into the spotlight. Avoid starting your answer by the things you haven't done. There is always something that is worth mentioning. The board of examiners wants to verify if you are willing to produce scientific research together, how you work in a team and what you can bring to add to their group.
Interviews can be a great source of stress. But, an excellent form of tackling the unwanted blanks in your meetings is practicing. Remember that universities are looking for collaborative members that know how to work in groups and are willing to help the team. You should be always honest in your answers, but don’t be afraid to shine. I hope this article has helped you know more what to expect in this important moment of your academic life.