“Hello Mr. Soyer, it’s nice to meet you! How are you doing?”
“Well, I am alright, thank you, how are you?”
“Good. So let’s start. First, I think that your idea is completely wrong and misleading. Clearly the people you questioned and did experiments on were stupid.”
Wow. We are inside the first minute, still twenty-nine minutes to go in the interview and here we go. There is a lot of randomness involved in interviews, especially in academic ones where you have to defend an original idea. Some people are very kind and give you an easy time, possibly some constructive feedback on your work. Others are very aggressive and want to see how you would survive a surprise attack to your very core.
The trick is to use whatever you are served to your advantage. Take it and bend it and fold it and shape it to suit a narrative that is heavily based on your strengths. It has to be automatic, creative, consistent. It’s hard. I sometimes get it and sometimes don’t. Somebody is borderline insulting the work you have invested hours and days and months in, and you have to use it as an opportunity. It does not come easy.
I do not know any general prescriptions. This whole thing is not personal; it is business (I hate that expression). I do not think it should be so. It is always good to learn about the interviewer’s business/research beforehand. One of my harsh interviewer’s research was, for instance, about the psychology of job interviews and suggested that one should not disagree with the interviewers.
Well, sorry, that time I had to.