Interviewing with Confidence in a Non-Academic World as a PhD

At Beyond the Professoriate, L. Maren Wood, PhD invites Kristine Funch Lodge, PhD to the webinar, “Interviewing with Confidence in a Non-Academic World.” Maren and Jennifer Polk, PhD are Co-Founders of Beyond the Professoriate. Kristine Funch Lodge is the Founder and Coach at IncipitCareer, LLC.

Preparing for the Interview

“How do you feel about interviewing?” asks Kristine. If you’re like most people, you probably find the whole process frightening. Kristine acknowledges that this is a common emotion: “Most people approach the interview process feeling as though they are being judged or that they have to pass some sort of ordeal . . . and [that] it’s going to be horrible.” This is not the state of mind you want to be in while interviewing. Kristine offers several strategies to help PhDs prepare for, and nail, the interview process.

A better way to prepare for and approach interviewing is to consider it as a conversation you are going to have with people who are excited to meet you. As an interviewer herself, Kristine shares that she always looks forward to meeting interested applicants.

She also likes to think about the interview process as a two-way street. “Acknowledge the agency you have,” says Kristine. While interviewers ask questions to see if you are a good fit, you can also ask questions to figure out if the company will be a good fit for you. A good way to gather information to help you prepare some questions in advance is to browse the company website or their social media pages. Researching the company beforehand is important–not just for preparing questions in advance but also for anticipating what interviewers might ask and the best ways to respond.

During the interview

In her webinar, Kristine also shares some common interview questions such as, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” Simple questions like this can sometimes stump PhDs who are just now entering industry jobs. Kristine suggests that you “get your story straight.” How you answer these questions can make or break an interviewer’s perception of you as a qualified candidate. Sometimes, your response can even set off a red flag.

Preparation is key. Kristine suggests using the “STAR” method, which stands for situation, task, action, result. It’s designed to help you think about responses to behavioral questions. These questions are imperative during the interview process because they give interviewers insight into how well you can handle conflict-resolution scenarios. So the next time you hear an interviewer ask you to, “explain a situation where you collaborated with a group to solve a problem,” you will be prepared with multiple responses that come naturally.

The final tip Kristine offers is to breathe. During interviews you will more than likely run into a question that you didn’t quite prepare for. Take your time and think about these questions before answering. You can even ask to return to the question later once you’ve had a chance to think it through.

The interview process can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be. If you want to hear more from Kristine about successful interviewing strategies, feel free to rent the video below.

Beyond the Professoriate Community Members attend events like this for free each month and access replays free for two weeks. Ready to launch your next great career? Join the Online Career Hub for PhDs.

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