Lately I’ve been compiling potential interview questions so that I can practice answering them. Plus, I know this will be helpful to others in the same boat. Here’s what I have so far. I’ll work on this list over the next few weeks as I prepare for interviews – adding the A to the Q&A!
- Tell me about yourself.
- Tell me about a recent book you’ve read or movie you saw.
- What hobbies/activities/outside interests do you enjoy?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses as a student?
- Do you feel your GPA/GRE scores accurately reflect your abilities as a student?
Prior (Research) Experience:
- Tell me about a research project you completed.
- What are the next steps for the above project?
- How have your prior experiences prepared you for our program?
- Do you have any special skills?
- How would you contribute to our program, and why should we choose you over another candidate?
- What motivates you to pursue a PhD in this field?
- What are your short-term and long-term goals?
- What skills/abilities do you want to work on during grad school?
- How does this program fit into your career goals? What will you do with what you learn?
- Tell me about a goal you’ve achieved or are working on now.
Playing Nice and Problem-Solving:
- Tell me about how you contributed to a group project.
- Tell me about a time you took on a leadership position.
- Tell me about a time when you resolved a conflict with a lab-mate.
- Tell me how you handle stress.
- Tell me about a recent problem/mistake/failure and how you handled it.
Theory / Reading / Broad:
- What’s the best paper you’ve read recently?
- What’s the most interesting finding you’ve read about recently?
- What do you think are the major current trends in our field?
- What idea/theory in our field do you think is interesting, but wrong?
- Why did you decide to apply to our program?
- What other programs are you considering?
- What will you do if you aren’t accepted here?
- If you weren’t getting a PhD in this field, what would you do instead?
- What research do you want to do? What questions do you hope to answer?
- If time and money were not a concern, what project would you do first?
- Describe a first year project you’d be interested in doing. (How would you test the above?)
- What would you expect to find in the above project?
- What if the findings from your study were the exact opposite of your predictions?
- What excites you most about our program’s/lab’s research, and why?