How to prepare for Skype Interview with a Professor and Questions you can ask professors during an interview

 This article gives an overview of the meeting and some questions you can/should ask professors to show research curiosity.

How to prepare for Skype interview

So, a professor finally replied your email:- “Hi, I'd like to chat with you to learn more about your interest” Congratulations. This chat is for them to connect the dot, see if there’s a fit & whether you will make a good candidate.

6 tips on how to prepare for a virtual interview and ace them

1. The professor gives a brief overview of the lab, him/herself, current and past research- Here, the PI tells you everything you need to know (pertaining to the meeting).

2. Your turn- Please be specific. “I’m AB, my BSc was in Civil from ABC Uni, for my research under the supervision of Dr. James, I focused on nonlinearity of hydrological system & published in Elsevier journal or presented at DEF conference”. I use MATLAB, & R for modeling.

Read also : General Tips for Writing Email to any professor.

3. You will be asked what your Research Questions are and what you want to study for Ph.D.

 Prepare something specific to say here. (They know it may/will change and just hypothetical for now, but you need to show you both share similar questions). 6/n

4. If your research interest closely aligns (and the feeling is mutual), the professor will ask why you want to do Ph.D./M.Sc and why their lab- justify this with something substantial (your career goal for example).

Now, you will be given the chance to ask questions- Please you need to ask questions, and below are some questions you can ask professor during an interview (see disclaimer below please).

Questions you can ask professor during an interview

A. Nature of their current and future research.

Read also : Why professors don't reply your emails and proper way to email a professor.

Will, there be a need for someone with your skills and background, will you be working on existing projects or have to develop your own projects with the PI
B. The  professor expectation of his/her graduate students.

C.  Professor policy regarding publications with graduate students and after your Ph.D.- in particular, how many papers are you expected to have published from your research.
D. How long does it take, on average, for students to earn their Ph.D. degree there?

E. Funding (this might not be necessary because the  professor should have mentioned it, if not, PLEASE ASK)
F. Past & current research (if not said before).
G. Are they open to another but similar study system, perhaps a similar project in another continent (if you get funding)?

H. Resources available in the lab
I. Life in that city (especially, accommodation)

With the above questions, you have engaged the  professor, shows curiosity in what they do & shows you’re ready for the task ahead. 

Read also : Scholarship Applications for Graduate School.

N.B: Solely based on my own experience & not a general model: I’ve participated in 10 Ph.D. Interviews, submitted 4 (based on my interest) with 2 offers.

For reference, please see:

General Tips for Writing Email to any professor

6 reasons why professors don't reply your email

Advice for Prospective Research Students

Read also : Why writing Email to professors or Potential Supervisors is Important for MSc and PhD Funding.