Subscribe

Forum

Telephonic-interview for a post-doc position!

Welcome to the newly redesigned Science Careers Forum. Please bookmark this site now for future reference. If you've previously posted to the forum, your current username and password will remain the same in the new system. If you've never posted or are new to the forum, you will need to create a new account.

The new forum is designed with some features to improve the user experience. Upgrades include:
- easy-to-read, threaded discussions
- ability to follow discussions and receive notifications of updates
- private messaging to other SC Forum members
- fully searchable database of posts
- ability to quote in your response
- basic HTML formatting available

Moderator: Dave Jensen
Advisors:   Ana, PG, Rich Lemert, Dick Woodward, Dave Walker
Meet the Moderator/Advisors

Telephonic-interview for a post-doc position!

Postby SV » Wed Feb 09, 2005 7:18 pm

Hi All,

I have got few telephonic interviews from various labs in the US for post-doctoral positions I had earlier applied. In general, what sort of questions should I be expecting? Should I ask during the interview whether I can make a trip to the lab in future? (of course, paid by the PI in question!) Or, should I just wait to hear from them? Some of positions were not advertised. In that case should I mention about my immigration status (I am on non-immigrant visa, F-1) during the interview? From my part, what kind of questions should I be asking?

Thanks in advance.

SV
SV
 

Telephonic-interview for a post-doc position!

Postby John G. Hoey, Ph.D. » Wed Feb 09, 2005 9:03 pm

Do your homework before the interview, and try to get a good feel for the work you are likely to be doing in the position. Make sure you take a look at the PI's publications; absolutely familiarize yourself with his/her scientific background. Be ask technical questions,, and most importantly, ASK for the job!! Many interviewees fail to 'close" the deal by not simply asking for the job.

John G. Hoey, Ph.D.
John G. Hoey, Ph.D.
 

Telephonic-interview for a post-doc position!

Postby Andy » Wed Feb 09, 2005 9:11 pm

SV,

Your potential PI's in the US know you will have visa issues, so I wouldn't mention that during the interview unless it's brought up by the PI.

Concentrate on the science, and try to get a feel for the role postocs play in each lab (e.g., are they doing their own projects designed to get them jobs [good], or are they doing pet projects of the PI and unable to do a lot of personal career development [less good]).

With respect to visiting the lab, I would express an interest in visiting and try to coordinate visits to multiple labs in the same trip to the US to help defray costs. Most PI's will at least pay 50%-100% of a postdoc's trip to visit the lab. This will vary widely, however. Keep in mind that a small investment of a couple hundred dollars on your part to help fund your visits could pay huge dividends down the road if it means getting a spot in a good lab. Don't offer to pay for your own trip off the bat, but if a PI says "I'll pay most but not all of it," then consider pitching in some yourself.

You should also be expecting some questions about what area of the lab's research you are most interested in pursuing and why. Have a solid grasp of the last several papers from the lab prior to the phone interview.

And good luck!

Andy
Andy
 

Telephonic-interview for a post-doc position!

Postby MPB » Wed Feb 09, 2005 9:57 pm


"Most PI's will at least pay 50%-100% of a postdoc's trip to visit the lab. This will vary widely, however. Keep in mind that a small investment of a couple hundred dollars on your part to help fund your visits could pay huge dividends down the road if it means getting a spot in a good lab. Don't offer to pay for your own trip off the bat, but if a PI says "I'll pay most but not all of it," then consider pitching in some yourself."

I might be wrong, but I have to say that I disagree with this. Don't postdoc in a lab that doesn't have enough resources to bring you there for an interview, unless you truly are desperate to find a position and have no other choices. I've never heard of a postdoc having to pay their way to an interview, and I would take that as a real warning sign about the lab's financial situation.



MPB
 
Posts: 479
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:28 pm

Telephonic-interview for a post-doc position!

Postby Emil Chuck » Thu Feb 10, 2005 1:00 am

For a phone interview, stick with your science, but pay attention to how honest and upfront the PI is. Try to schedule a visit to the lab to present your work and also meet the people in his/her lab. I would never agree to a job/postdoc without having met the other people in the lab.
Emil Chuck
 
Posts: 2981
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:28 pm

Telephonic-interview for a post-doc position!

Postby Julie » Thu Feb 10, 2005 10:27 am

> You should also be expecting some questions about what area > of the lab's research you are most interested in pursuing and
> why.

I can see why this is so important, but I know that in my postdoc interviews (I've done 2 of 4 at this point) I give horrible answers about this. The truth is that I find most of the directions of lab with which I'm interviewing exciting and would be happy pursuing any of them. Maybe I've picked labs that are particularly focused or that I'm not particularly focused. I have been answering question this honestly in my interviews, but know that such an answer makes it seem like I haven't done my homework and that I'm not passionate about the research in the lab. Any advice on how to still be honest but give a better answer to this? Thanks!

Julie
Julie
 

For mpb

Postby Andy » Thu Feb 10, 2005 12:09 pm

Some PI's won't pay all of a postdoc's visit simply because they don't have to. It's not that the lab is in dire straits, but if a PI is getting two postdoc applications a month, it can be come a reasonable expense to fly everyone who wants to visit a lab on the dole.

Plus, note SV is flying from overseas.

I just mentioned the possibility of paying SOME of your way (NOT all!), because some good labs operate that way. I interviewed in a National Acadamy members lab with tons of money . . . they asked me to pay half of my flight costs with them picking up lodging. What are you going to say in that situation? No?

Best regards,

Andy
Andy
 

For Julie

Postby Bill L. » Thu Feb 10, 2005 5:34 pm

Hi Julie,

I think you're confusing your sharing the fact that you have an intellectual interest in a broad range of science with sharing the fact that you have the skills to choose, design and implement a project. You're hearing them as the same question. Therefore I think you believe that being honest(you enjoy a range of science) will make you seem flaky and unfocused.

This isn't about honesty, it's about understanding a PIs perspective. The probably want you to have a broad range of interests, which would make you an interesting addition to the team, interested in your own work and the rest of the lab. But they also want to know that you can decide that in this space of time, you can pick and carry through a project, so you won't procrastinate when they hire you.

Technically, you might consider mentally breaking the question "what's your interest/your focus" that a PI will ask you into three questions.

1.About You: What are your overarching areas of research? (Here you can talk about your range of interests, and what common thread interests you about them)

2.The Pitch: What are you are interested in pursuing in my lab? (Narrow your focus to the smaller subgroup of say 2-3 projects that you can accomplish in their lab, and say that depending on their interest and resources, you can pursue either/any of them)

3. Your Skills: How can you prove your ability, once you've chosen an area, to design and implement this project. (and here, use your previous experience to prove this point)

The problem of course, is that PIs probably won't ask this as a three part question. They'll try to get right to question two and follow up with three (what do you want to do in my lab and how can you prove you can do it). So start your answer there. Say that you based on the focus of the lab, you can propose 2-3 different projects (and have one sentence to identify each of them and one sentence to explain why you're interested), and are willing to discuss which one they believe would be a good match.

Later, perhaps in the interview talking with the full lab staff, you can get into question one, letting them know that with you, they'll be getting someone who is generally as interested in diabetes as cancer research, etc.

Perhaps other community members can share how they pitched their project?

Be well,

Bill L. & Naledi S.
Bill L.
 
Posts: 112
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:28 pm


Return to Science Careers Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 10 guests

cron