Worst PhD interview experience πŸ˜₯πŸ˜₯


Yesterday I had a PhD interview (studentship) infront of a panel of 3 ( 2 potential supervisors and Pg lead ) ... It was really hard as most questions was unexpected for me.... The supervisors asked me about details in my proposal though they have reviewed with me all what was written before applying!! I was concentrating on methodology but they asked me about the literature review... I was hesitated and unorganized at all , I answered all the questions but I know that some of them I didn't answer correctly!!! I felt embarrassed especially Infront of them .. I didn't have positive feelings during the interview I was really sure that I won't get accepted !!! It's ok it seems like I need to read or practice more. My problem is now how to overcome these negative feelings . I am sad, embarrassed and cannot forget what has happened!! I used to send the potential supervisors a thank you email after the interview but at this time I feel too much embarrassed to the extent that I don't want to send them . Don't know what to do


Aww don't worry, it's all about practice and gaining more experience!

I've been in your shoes a few years ago, had an embarrassing interview that made me feel negative about my abilities and knocked my confidence! In hindsight I realised that the interviewers were actually quite rude and didn't have good people skills, which made the interview a much worse experience than it needed to be. Would you really want to spend 3+ years working under people who don't make you feel comfortable? It's important that you gel with your supervisors and feel comfortable with them. You could take all the negative feelings you felt during the interview as a sign that these people simply aren't a good match for you.

I'm not sure if this is what you mean about them asking details about things they've already reviewed, but I remember feeling caught off guard when they asked questions about things that were very obviously stated in my proposal. And you feel confused like you're being tested or they're trying to catch you out, which makes you more hesitant and unsure. I think maybe it's just a case that they had simply forgotten about the details whereas we are very familiar with our own proposal, or they just want you to hear you repeat it. Either way, you've had the experience now and you have a better idea of what to expect for future interviews which is an invaluable thing.

Post-interview thank you emails are not obligatory, so don't feel pressure that you need to send them anything, and you didn't have a good experience with them anyway.

You're bound to think more harshly of yourself than you deserve, so don't beat yourself up. Do things you enjoy to take your mind off it, and when you do hear back from them, ask for any feedback so you can use it as a learning experience :)

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I think maybe try and forget about it and move on! Reliving the experience messes with your head. Every time you think of the interview, just ask yourself is this thought worth thinking about? it will only make you feel awful about yoursel if you keep reliving it so try and acknowledge when you have thoughts of it then dismiss them. eventual you'll stop thinking about it :)


Hi, as a head of Department I have participated in many, many selection inzerviews. Let me assure you that selection committee members often do not read the application very carefully. Thus, you will get a lot of spontaneous *unprepared* questions. This means that THEY are also unprepared. They may also ask you weird questions to see how you handle unexpected questions or your own lack of knowledge. Do not feel bad about it, see it as a training situation. Write down carefully what they have asked and how you would respond now with better preparation. In that way, you reflect systematically on the experience - and during any future interview you will profit from this exercise because you are better prepared. We also advise our students to work through one of the many books or blog posts on the 100 most important interview questions. Then you are better prepared than 95% of all other candidates.
Thus, use your experience to learn, this will reduce your bad feelings substantially.
All the best,
Sven Hendrix