I was recently invited to a job interview regarding a PhD. I was told to make a short presentation of a few ideas regarding the project topic. I also have received an overview over the project aims, preliminary work etc.. I must admit that I am quite clueless what to present. In this project a new simulation platform should be developed with the help of the methods already implemented by the two participating work groups in their own software. I thought about presenting some methodology, but this would largely consist of implementing methods that these both groups already published and nothing really new. Also I'm new to the simulation method that is used in this project. Do you think that it would be sufficient to list the methods that can be used for the several parts of the simulation and in which order I would plan to implement these?

2 Answers 2


I would approach any interview with the mindset of "how can I convince the interviewer that I am the right person for the job". To accomplish this I would focus on three things:

  1. What is the job you are expected to do.
  2. What can you do to get the job done.
  3. What else have I done that qualifies me.

With that I would break down the expectations into a few key items. You could go by aims, or by concepts, or techniques, or whatever other ordering category you can identify. And then in each of these categories you can show how you will contribute. The 3rd part is there to show off some additional skills that are not necessarily related to the project you are interviewing for (like a past project you worked on). Here you can demonstrate how you are able to tackle a challenging problem, learn something new, or be thorough/meticulous in executing a project.


What you say here is a lot of what you need to include, but what I'm missing is something about the end goal. What do you hope to learn in doing this research? How will it advance the field to know the answers, whether they are positive or negative? If you keep that goal in mind, the details of the attack can change and still make progress.

Focus a bit less on the actions and a bit more on the expected knowledge. Not that the actions are unimportant, of course.

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