Interviewing for a job with a PhD

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  • #1
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I have a quick question about what is generally expected during an interview for a position in industry when you have a PhD. When applying for my first industry job out of grad school I gave a presentation about my work as a PhD candidate during the interview. Is this sort of presentation expected for future job interviews? I ask because the work I have done in my first job is proprietary so I cannot give the same type of presentation as I did right out of grad school.
 

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  • #2
Choppy
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It really depends on the position you're applying for.

If you are in such a situation where you can't disclose the work you've been doing, but have to give a talk, be upfront about that and offer to give a presentation on either your PhD work, or something else you're interested in. Often, the point of such presentations in an interview is to assess your presentation skills.
 
  • #3
Dr. Courtney
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I've known interviews to go in different directions. No one is gonna have gas if you can't talk about something you did due to non-disclosures.
 
  • #4
Klystron
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I have interviewed successfully for several jobs requiring PhD's. In the three successes I tailored my presentation to fit the job requirements.

For example during the on site interview process at Stanford Research Institute (SRI International), I was given a tour of the entire facility where I could question other scientists and engineers. I also had personal interviews with most of the principle researchers where I learned even more about the goals and conduct of the laboratories, how experiments are structured and funded, what data and resources could be shared, etc.

By the time I gave my presentation to the staff I had (mentally) tailored my talk to the needs and requirements of the laboratory. The Q&A following my lecture became a brainstorming session where we modified a computer network I had help design while at NASA to a lower budget series of shared networks suitable to the different research environment. I was able to judge from the earlier interviews the subjects of most interest. When I began work at SRI we essentially implemented the networks outlined in my talk with excellent results.

Not to sound manipulative but professional, by listening closely during numerous interviews I was able to pitch my lecture to the audience level. Parts of the presentation reached the computer science PhD's with appropriate explanations for mathematicians and linguists. I found that clear concise English coupled with clean white board diagrams made for a successful lecture. In a nutshell: adapt to the environment.
 
  • #5
Dr Transport
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When I interviewed for my current position,I dug out my PhD defense presentation because I worked proprietary programs throughout my intervening work history, they didn't care, they just wanted to know if I could speak in front of an audience.
 

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