Hosted By

Isaiah Hankel
Isaiah Hankel
Chief Executive Officer Cheeky Scientist

Join Isaiah as he covers the three things that PhDs can do while interviewing to make a great impression on hiring managers

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

  • First, Isaiah explains that making a good impression in interviews is a time-sensitive exercise
  • Next, Isaiah talks about the importance of rehearsing what you’ll say and how you say it while you’re interviewing
  • And finally, Isaiah breaks down the STAR method, a proven technique job candidates can turn to to help them make the most of open-ended interview questions

From This Week’s Show…

When It Comes To First Impressions, Time Is Of The Essence

According to Undercover Recruiter, most hiring managers know in the first 90 seconds of an interview whether or not they plan to hire you. 

This means that every second of the beginning counts. 

The first interview blunder many PhDs make is not making a good first impression. 

Interviewing can be nerve-wracking – I know this. 

But the last thing you want to do is let your nerves take the reins. 

Owning your in-person interview is about presenting yourself as the professional you are. 

So, before stepping your foot in the door of your next in-person interview, check yourself: 

  • Do you look neat, clean, put-together? 
  • Do you appear calm and confident? 
  • Are you ready to greet your interviewer with a firm handshake and a smile – all while making eye contact? 

If not, you need to practice this with someone else. 

Make yourself be serious and professional in front of another human who is judging you. 

Give Yourself Boundaries And Stick To Them To Make The Best Impression

The second mistake PhDs make is not having well-prepared answers to the first few interview questions. 

These opening questions may seem innocuous; however, they set the tone for the rest of the interview. 

The first question is simple:  “How are you?” 

Let’s be clear – this isn’t an invitation to get anything off your chest. 

This is your chance to reinforce what your appearance should already be saying: I’m great and I’m happy to be here. 

So, instead of going off on a tangent about your day, keep it simple. Say “I’m great! How are you?” or “I’m perfect!” 

Friendly, short, and to the point. 

The second intro question you need to prepare for is, “Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?”

Your answer to this question should be 10 seconds or less and directly to the point. 

The official term for the answer you need to give is an elevator pitch. 

Your elevator pitch should convey who you are, what you want, and why people should care. 

Share something about yourself as a professional, of course, but also describe something about you personally, like a hobby or an interest. 

The latter can bring a natural touch to your spiel that makes your elevator pitch feel less like a sales pitch and more like a friendly introduction. 

Then, simply end your elevator pitch with the role you’re interviewing for and why you want it – as in, why should anyone else care? 

For example, you could say, “I’m an immunologist and I love camping on the weekends. I want to be a project manager because I’d really like to see my scientific knowledge translated into products that help people.” 

The STAR Method Can Guide You Through Those Tough Open-Ended Questions

This brings me to the third mistake PhDs make: not knowing how to answer those dreaded open-ended questions. 

The secret to nailing these types of questions is the STAR method. 

STAR stands for situation, task, action and result.

** for the full podcast, check out the audio player above.

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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