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I have recently applied to a PhD position and have been invited for a Skype interview. I am thinking about proposing to have the interview in person instead.

The website states that "interviews will be conducted either in person or via Skype", so in person interviews are possible. I will also not ask for any compensation, since flights are very affordable and I can be hosted by a friend.

My reasons to ask an in person interview is to get a change of seeing the campus/offices and to maybe appear more motivated and invested in the position.

How do you think such a request would be perceived? Would it be slightly appreciated or make me look like I am trying to hard? Or would it be completely indifferent?

Furthermore, are there substantial differences with regard to the interview itself? Would it be "easier" in person because it is easier to connect, or is it "harder" because you are subconsciously by everything you do before and after the interview?

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From my experience going in person is the better choice:

  • They will see you as very motivated and you show that you really want that position and you are not just doing a quick skype interview (and on the same day 3 other ones)
  • Personal empathy can develop much better in person than via skype
  • Your explanations will be much clearer e.g. using a white board etc to explain

So, if you have the possibility then go in person!

  • You also have a chance to see and evaluate them as you suggest. You can get a sense of the state of collegiality, for example. – Buffy Jun 1 at 22:39
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    On the other hand, they might insist on a Skype interview precisely because of these reasons. Hiring protocols often require not only that candidates are treated equally, but that equal treatment of candidates is documented. Someone who had only a Skype interview and later didn't get the job can reasonably complain about unfair treatment. The sentence "interviews will be conducted either in person or via Skype" could mean "We haven't decided yet (when the ad was written) whether all interviews will be held in person, or all interviews will be held via Skype." – JeffE Jun 2 at 18:18
  • ...but this doesn't mean you shouldn't ask. – JeffE Jun 2 at 18:20
  • What if you're an introvert with not-very-strong social skill and you fear your in-person contact may actually cause a false repulsion? Also, for me, I'm a lot more likely to get nervous in person unless I have some casual chat (say, over a coffee) before the interview. – nra Jun 3 at 0:14
  • + Some people have exceptionally strong skills in selling themselves as highly qualified candidates (more than most people with their level of qualification), and an in-person interview would provide a better opportunity for such candidates. – nra Jun 3 at 0:16
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Surely you can ask them, but don't expect too much. They arrange a Skype interview because that's less costly. When they arrange Skype interviews, they plan to interview a bunch of people in a few days. By contrast, if they invite you to visit their lab, they need to spare a whole day for you. So they arrange a Skype interview to save time. If you ask them and they just ignore your request, don't feel too surprised.

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