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Thread: Interview help, how well should I research interviewers?

  1. #1
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    Interview help, how well should I research interviewers?

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    Canít believe I already have an interview invite and itís from a school that was probably in my top 5 picks. Anyway itís tomorrow evening over skype and I was giving the names of who will be interviewing me. The looked up the professor and read his CV but do I need to do more? Heís in an area different than what I want to go into so I didnít know if I should try to find and skim a journal article or anything beforehand. With such short notice I donít even know what to focus on.

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    Within my grasp! BrazilianPhD's Avatar
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    Re: Interview help, how well should I research interviewers?

    You have more time than I did for one of my interviews (mine was on the same day of the invite). It's hard to say in this case.

    One possibility is that there will be multiple interviews and the school wants some professor who is less biased to interview you (so, a professor from a different area, who doesn't share the same interests you have) before you get an interview with a potential advisor. In this case, knowing much about the professor will not help, since you're not expected to work with him that much anyway if accepted. The focus would be "why a PhD", "Why this school", possible weaknesses, things like that, not something specific about your research interests.

    Another possibility is that this professor is actually a potential advisor, even if it doesn't look like that. Now that I know at least some PhD professors better, I think it is sometimes very hard to understand who can really be a good advisor for you, with the limited information we have before joining the program. The CV, the profile at the school's website, the papers, all of this just tell part of the story. Maybe this professor is a much better fit for you than it seems at first. In this case, you don't need to read a lot of papers from this professor, but I think it would be good to have a general idea about what he is doing.

    Anyway, congratulations! An interview is an extremely good sign, specially from one of your top schools.

  3. #3
    An Urch Guru Pundit Swami Sage
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    Re: Interview help, how well should I research interviewers?

    I would slim through stuff, but it is more important to answer the basic questions from above and tonshow why you are interested in the department. So refreshing yourself on all of the people there would be good. Don't worry, you aren't expected to know all the papers everyone has published.

    Also, have some questions about the program. Course structure, rrquirements, mentoring, this year's expected placements, etc.

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    Re: Interview help, how well should I research interviewers?

    Congrats! Good luck on your interview.

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    A long long time ago XanthusARES's Avatar
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    Re: Interview help, how well should I research interviewers?

    Yeah I wouldn't worry too much about reading a lot. If you have a basic idea of what research they do that would likely be good enough. Honestly phone interviews are more about fit than they are about research necessarily. Try to be calm and answer to the best of your abilities. I'm quite surprised you've got an interview this week, particularly tonight. Most of my profs have checked out at this point.

    Good luck and congratulations!
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