Personal support

The PDC offers ad hoc personalised support to postdocs upon request in the following areas (subject to staff availability):

- interview preparation (as interviewee or panel member)

- job application feedback

- general guidance (career planning, opportunities, issues...)

Interview preparation

Get ready to face your panel

Invited for an interview? Congratulations! The PDC can help you prepare either by organising a mock interview, providing 1 to 1 interview coaching or by sending you examples of questions.

Another great way to prepare yourself for a future interview: volunteer to act as a panel member for PDC interviews! In addition to helping a fellow postdoc prepare for their interview, experiencing the process "from the other side of the table" is tremendously helpful.

Types of support

PDC Mock interviews:

PDC mock interviews are delivered by Alice and a panel of volunteer postdocs. The mock interview itself is conducted in a formal atmosphere to put the candidate in "interview mode". The candidate is introduced to the panel like at a real interview, practices his/her presentation and gets asked questions (based on "real-life" questions from the PDC bank). After the mock, the panel provides the candidate with constructive feedback on the presentation and answers, including tips and advice to improve and get ready for the big day!

Interview coaching:

One-to-one coaching session with Alice; like a PDC mock interview but without a panel; for example when the time-frame is too short to organise a mock interview or when no volunteers are available.

Interview questions:

When it isn't possible to organise a mock interview or coaching session, the PDC will send you a few questions to help you prepare.

Sit on panels:

Experiencing an interview as a panel member is very useful to learn about the type of questions that are asked, how to answer these questions and even see the successful applications that enabled the candidates to be invited for an interview (if they agreed). It also is very helpful to the candidates and they are always highly thankful to the volunteer panel members. 

To volunteer to be a panel member, email pdcfmhls@qub.ac.uk:

Join panels

Procedure to get support

  • Fill up the interview support request form (button below) and send it, along with the requested documents, to pdcfmhls@qub.ac.uk.
  • The PDC will contact you with availability (we will always try to sort you out in the best of our abilities within the the time-frame available but the sooner the request, the better the support).
  • After your interview, please send us the questions you remember and fill up our online feedback form when you receive it.

Interview support request form

Advice and special cases

  • The PDC does not provide feedback or questions on the actual science; we advise that you organise another mock interview with PIs from your department or in the relevant field to get feedback on your research (especially for fellowships and lectureships).
  • Research the department/company.
  • Review the job description and find examples to show how you meet the criteria.
  • Request your interview support as soon as possible (it takes time to get volunteers and organise it and Alice's schedule can be busy).
  • Ask for a mock interview even if you don't feel confortable in front of people; the postdocs in the panel are here to help and the experience will help demystifying the whole process so that you are less unconfortable at the real interview.
  • It is possible that the PDC doesn't have questions in its bank (submitted by postdocs) that are relevant to the position you are interviewing for (especially if not a lectureship or fellowship). In this case, the questions will come from interview books or online sources.
  • Mock interviews for fellowships (from an external funding body and with QUB as host institution) will be arranged by Research Development and involve a panel of PIs from the research area. Postdocs selected for a fellowship interview can also apply for PDC interview support, in example interview coaching, prior to their Research Development mock interview.
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Application support

Improve your CV and cover letter

You can book a 1 to 1 meeting with Alice to get feedback on your CV and cover letter for a specific job application.

How to book your 1 to 1:

All you need to do is send your draft of CV along with the job specifications and proposition of dates/times for the meeting (1 h) to pdcfmhls@qub.ac.uk.

Make sure that your CV is tailored to the job and demonstrates your suitability to the post. For help getting started, have a look at the CVs Postdoc Help Doc.

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General guidance

Come have a chat...

You can book a 1 to 1 meeting with the PDC to discuss (for example) your career plan, issues you are facing in your job or any topic you deem relevant.

To book your meeting, send an email to pdcfmhls@qub.ac.uk including the topic you want to discuss as well as possible dates/times.

We are always keen to help postdocs and will do the best we can; it is important to note however that, while we can advise you based on our own experience, we are not trained as career advisors, counselors or mediators.

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Staff counseling

Queen's University Belfast has commissioned Inspire to provide staff with a free independent confidential and professional counselling service.

Phone Inspire 24/7, for free, for any issue (professional or personnal)

0808 389 5362

Queen's University Belfast is committed to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.
For more information please read our Equality and Diversity Policy.

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