Group interview training
How do you prepare for an ERC Synergy Grant interview? Of course a good pitch and strong answers matter. But, the most important aspect might be the demonstrated synergy of the team. By integrating all relevant aspects, this trajectory prepares you for a convincing group performance.
This trajectory aims at improving the performance of a group of researchers in the context of a grant interview. Although we offer a high degree of flexibility, we have two focal points that jointly contribute to a convincing interview.
If the interview starts with a presentation (e.g. ERC Synergy, NWO-KIC, Gravitation), we help to create a strategy, script, and slides for it. We do this during individual sessions with the PI. Or, if all team members present their part, we organize group sessions. Thus, we help to create a story that convincingly presents the unique selling points of the project and the team.
Additionally we offer sessions focussing on group dynamics. Here it is all about demonstrating synergy. We start with a strategic discussion in order to reach agreement on the division of labour and rules of engagement. Who answers what question? Who is embodying what unique selling point of the consortium? Who takes a leading role during the interview?
Then we practise presenting and Q+A in order to put the strategic decisions to the test. Things we cover are length and formulation of answers, nerves and answering a variety of tricky questions (e.g. curveball, hostile, surprizing, broad, and narrow). Finally, a mock interview with a representative panel can serve as a general rehearsal.
Some grants include a site visit (e.g. NWO Research Infrastructure). Then we also discuss the ‘choreography’ of this event. We help to prepare the interactions the panel has along their path through the site. From the PI’s presentation to the short pitches by junior researchers.
We do believe in the integration of the above mentioned elements. However, we also provide separate parts of the trajectory (e.g. only slide design, or only group sessions).
Ideally we start two months in advance. Developing a good script, slides, and practising takes time. So, if you want to make the most of it, contact us in time. But, practise learns that especially the preparation for these group interviews is often thought of just before the interview. We have frequently demonstrated the capacity to answer these last-minute requests successfully.
Individual sessions focussing on the presentation are organized online. If possible (especially when the interview is in-person), the group sessions take place on site.
In the past years we have prepared groups for interviews at both ERC (Synergy Grant), and NWO (KIC, Gravitation, NWA, RI).
Trainers: Kick Moors and/or Hermen Visser | Maximum number of participants: n.a. | Duration: flexible
The why-what-how-bridge template
Say, you have five minutes to pitch your ERC Starting Grant. How do you explain the details of your research setup and methodology? My advice: don’t. Instead, use the why-what-how-bridge template to say just enough.
The first minute
Ideally the first thing you do while presenting is to connect with your audience. However, stage fright can prevent your from doing what is needed for it. Here is how you overcome this.
During an ERC or NWO interview, you want to share as much reasons to give you the research money as possible. These five whys will help you find them.