Hosted By

Isaiah Hankel, PhD
Isaiah Hankel, PhD
Chief Executive Officer Cheeky Scientist

Join Isaiah as he discusses the four types of interview questions that PhDs should expect during the interview process so you can set the right expectations

Here’s a quick rundown of this week’s episode…

  • First, Isaiah talks about why gatekeepers follow a framework of 4 types of interview questions when evaluating job candidates
  • Next, Isaiah lists the types of interview questions that are relevant for PhD-level positions
  • Finally, Isaiah gives and explores the structure of a typical interview process so you can set the right expectations and increase your chances of interview success

From This Week’s Show… 

Why Gatekeepers Follow A Framework When Asking Interview Questions

How you answer different types of interview questions will determine whether or not you get hired. Employers ask PhDs 4 key question types in order to gauge their communication skills and their interpersonal skills.

These question types are used as a framework for the interviewer to gauge whether or not you’re a good fit for the position. Studies reported in the Human Resource Management Review found that interviewer judgments based on structured interview questions are more predictive of job performance than those from unstructured interviews. Overall, the studies concluded that adding structure to the interview process enhances the reliability and validity of interviewer evaluations.

The 4 Types Of Interview Questions For PhD-Level Positions

As a PhD, there are four different kinds of questions you are likely to face in an industry interview:

  • Credibility Questions – e.g. “Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?” “Can you explain your responsibilities in your previous role?”
  • Opinion Questions – e.g. “What type of leader do you prefer to work for?” “What are your biggest strengths and weaknesses?”
  • Behavioral Questions – e.g. “Can you tell me about a conflict you had with your last supervisor and how you handled it?” “Can you walk me through a time you had to follow a policy you did not agree with?”
  • Competency Questions – e.g. “If you were given XYZ resources, how would you use your skills to achieve ABC result?” “Do you have any questions for me?”

Respectively, these question types will focus on your experience and credentials, your opinions and how you see the word, behavioral questions, and competency questions.

How To Set The Right Expectations For The Interview Process

Employers will typically start their interviews with the more basic question types, including the Credibility Question and Opinion Question types. They will spend 5 minutes asking Credibility Questions and 5-10 minutes asking Opinion Questions. 

For shorter interviews, interviewers will still spend 10-20% of their time on these question types and for interviews early in the interview funnel, such as initial phone screens, gatekeepers may spend much more time on these questions – up to 50-80% of their time.

Behavioral and Competency Questions are leveraged much more during the later interview stages, including video, panel and site visit interviews. For an hour interview, 20 minutes or more can be spent on Behavioral Questions and another 20 minutes can be spent on Competency Questions.

Knowing this will set your expectations and set you at ease so you can perform your best when answering these question types.

If you’re ready to start your transition into industry, you can apply to book a free Transition Call with our founder Isaiah Hankel, PhD or one of our Transition Specialists. Apply to book a Transition Call here.

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