Weird Interview, is it common in academia?

posted
04-Feb-19, 13:56
edited about 23 seconds later
by monkia
Avatar for monkia
posted about 2 months ago
I had an interview with a well-established professor and the interview wasn't technical at all, it was about organizing classes and arranging the student schedule and professors as well. I was shocked and I know the prospective PI has interesting research. Although it was easy, I looked dumb and made mistakes, I was anxious and stopped thinking and I think by the end I wasn't successful, as their impression wasn't good although the prospective PI was extremely interested in the work I did.

The question is: I am interested to know whether this normal interview in academia, I do may know he wants to test how I think, but this was so shocking for me.
posted
05-Feb-19, 15:10
edited about 2 seconds later
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 2 months ago
That doesn't sound good. They should be asking questions about research in a PhD interview. It could be a massive red flag or they think you are capable enough, not to bother asking technical questions. It is hard to tell if it is good or bad but it is definitely not normal.
posted
06-Feb-19, 08:51
by tru
Avatar for tru
posted about 2 months ago
I see it as a massive red flag. It hints at the role (I am assuming this is a new PhD studentship) will include doing PA(personal assistant) sorta work like arranging schedules and organising classes. So basically, you will be doing other things BUT your PhD. Not a good sign. I had a friend who when interviewed for a postdoc position was asked how good she was at proofreading manuscripts. Why? Because she was a native English speaker and the potential supervisor's massive group of students and postdocs weren't fluent in English and were having problems when submitting articles. She saw it as a red flag that THAT was all that she would be doing instead of leading her own project and did not take the job. I think her decision was right.
posted
07-Feb-19, 13:49
by monkia
Avatar for monkia
posted about 2 months ago
I don't know guys! I feel totally dumb and pariah after what happened I am losing my self-esteem besides I am figuring that I am mentally maybe not stable and cannot think properly, I am totally devasted. During the interview, there were many better candidates than me, I was just saying to myself, I was supposed to be in the second year, its shame on me, I don't have a strong publications record as others. In my masters, I was with a crap supervisor, I don't know whether this is continuous bad luck, I am really indeed desperate, losing confidence in myself, sometimes I need to land anything, however, I am hugely afraid to have the same experience before. Honestly, I don't know, maybe the problem in me I am targeting the wrong peoples and places maybe.
posted
07-Feb-19, 14:41
edited about 45 seconds later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 2 months ago
monkia,

In my opinion, you need to stop.
You are quite clearly not in a good enough mental state to succeed through a 4 year PhD at this moment in time and you are on the verge of making a disastrous mistake. A PhD breaks the strongest amongst us and you are already completely broken.

You should consider taking a job for a few years until your health has been sorted and then try again. You have to know when to stop.
posted
08-Feb-19, 14:41
by monkia
Avatar for monkia
posted about 2 months ago
@pm133, I am thinking so deeply about your comment while I had many constraints I wished if they could be minimized so that I can know how and when to stop because I passed the fully saturated and I afraid to go the point of nowhere, I still fight to see where I will be.
posted
11-Feb-19, 08:38
edited about 15 seconds later
Avatar for sisyphus
posted about 2 months ago
In an interview you always test what is the weakest part of someone. Why test the maths skills of someone who has demonstrated amazing mathematical ability - I want to know about their interpersonal skills. Asking people things they know you don't learn anything (so it isn't necessarily weird)

pm133 has a great point though, PhDs are brutal. Everyone thinks about quitting at some point, and thinks they can't finish. And that;s with starting in a great place and all the advantages in the world. You need all the confidence and experience in the world before you even think about starting!
posted
11-Feb-19, 09:29
edited about 4 seconds later
by monkia
Avatar for monkia
posted about 2 months ago
@sisyphus, I do agree with you, the professor expressed his interest in the presentation and the work he mentioned it was deep, but in this interview, I was expecting what I do think about X topic and so on. Actually I was anxious as he asked me what made you top student in undergraduate, I mentioned my late Mom and I was about to cry, I was very anxious and I was hearing like nothing, but in the end I answered those trivial questions like I was very stupid and dump, so I think I screwed everything up and he was looking to me in a non-good way.

About the confidence, I have to declare something makes my confidence undermined because of my previous experience, it was horrible and no one can understand the pain I was in and all types of humiliation and racism I have been exposed to. I am afraid to have the same experience, besides I see many stories of other students who had also awful experience. I got my masters, but if was exhausting mentally and physically, yes there a huge sacrifice in research and lose your social life at some point, that's why I wish to find the good place where I can restore also my social life and doing interesting research.
posted
18-Feb-19, 05:28
edited about 52 seconds later
by tru
Avatar for tru
posted about 2 months ago
Quote From monkia:
@sisyphus, I do agree with you, the professor expressed his interest in the presentation and the work he mentioned it was deep, but in this interview, I was expecting what I do think about X topic and so on. Actually I was anxious as he asked me what made you top student in undergraduate, I mentioned my late Mom and I was about to cry, I was very anxious and I was hearing like nothing, but in the end I answered those trivial questions like I was very stupid and dump, so I think I screwed everything up and he was looking to me in a non-good way.

About the confidence, I have to declare something makes my confidence undermined because of my previous experience, it was horrible and no one can understand the pain I was in and all types of humiliation and racism I have been exposed to. I am afraid to have the same experience, besides I see many stories of other students who had also awful experience. I got my masters, but if was exhausting mentally and physically, yes there a huge sacrifice in research and lose your social life at some point, that's why I wish to find the good place where I can restore also my social life and doing interesting research.


monkia,
I refer to many previous posts and comments. You need to take a break from looking for a PhD. Your mental state is very worrying and you are near breaking point if you are not there already. Take some time off, maybe even a couple of months or more. This should give you time to recover your self confidence and sort out your anxiety and negative emotions. You could also work as a RA instead of a PhD student to build your lab skills again. Rest and try again.
posted
19-Feb-19, 13:14
by monkia
Avatar for monkia
posted about 2 months ago
I have been rejected from this position, but I do feel it good because I didn't have a nice feeling while being there. @tru, I am currently RA in a lab with a very low payment in an aloof country as I mentioned, but the tasks they assigned me is way off from the background. I agree with you that maybe I am near breaking point or already in, but to take a break, I was seeking voluntary jobs for animals, but I didn't get a reply yet. Sometimes, I had breakdowns because I didn't want to leave city where I was forced, and the strange that I do have strong feelings to return to the same country I was before that happened, I don't know, but I consider home, there are strong connections, I just want to be there again, maybe I am deluded, I wish really everything could be repaired as soon as possible.
posted
19-Feb-19, 21:29
edited about 39 seconds later
Avatar for Mackem_Beefy
posted about 2 months ago
Academia has I'd say more than it's fair share of strange happenings and characters. I think I could write a book on the characters I've met and the stories I've heard and witnessed.

Don't fret about it one jot. While it is normal to ask researchers and PhD candidates to do some tuition (I helped casually with student project work), it seems this Prof was looking for someone to take on more formal lecturing duties. As such, you were being interviewed for a post different to that advertised, whether the Prof. intended that or not.

In your rejection, I think you avoided a problem post here and your rejection may well be the right outcome for you.


Ian
posted
20-Feb-19, 20:40
edited about 20 seconds later
by monkia
Avatar for monkia
posted about 2 months ago
@Mechem_Beefy, Yes, I do think it may be good! However, I am lost, I started to get the feeling that you are judged based on your ethnicity and whatever you do you are not smart like us, it hurts. I hated academia even when I was in my home country to get masters, I was with a sloppy supervisor, my external supervisor saved me who I owe him tell know. It is so dreadful experience, you lose your social life and sometimes be boring, I do like research, but the pressure that your effort and years you have spent in the hand of the supervisor is indeed unfair, and I fed up from masters experience for the sake to find another good lab environment, however, it turned to be worst. It creepy the number of the stories I see every day, I thought I was alone, but it turned out to be a hostile place. I have witnessed a student who did rudimentary work and was allowed to defend which was questionable, and the answer they like him and he didn't do any contribution and I have been humiliated and forced to leave without any reasonable reasons, yes supervisor can sometimes get jealous, racist, don't like to see his/her students successful, this what I can guess.

What is really funny in this weird interview, that another potential PI was yawning during the interview and I was wondering how he had been in this place, it totally based on favoritism.

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