PhD interview

PhD applicants who submit complete and competitive applications will be invited to an online live interview via video conference.

You will receive an email following the deadline with your scheduled interview time. Please reserve 20-30 minutes to complete the interview.

Interview process

The email you receive with your scheduled interview time includes a link to the online conference room for your interview. Click this link at the time of your interview to log in and join.

You may also download the RIVS app for iOS and Android mobile devices. Use the meeting ID in your email invitation to log in.

We recommend logging into your conference room early to test your device’s camera and microphone. You may access your conference room as soon as you receive your email invitation.

Technical support

Please direct all interview technical support issues to RIVS at 877.773.3164 or

Minimum requirements and recommendations

  • Make sure you have a computer, tablet, or mobile device with a working camera and microphone. You will complete a hardware test before you start the interview to test your device.
  • It is recommended that you restart your computer or device within 24 hours of starting your interview.
  • If you do not wish to restart your computer or tablet, clear the cache of the internet browser you plan to use and close and re-launch your internet browser, or use a private/incognito window.
  • Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox work best when completing this online interview.
  • If you will use a browser other than Chrome or Firefox, make sure Adobe Flash Player is up to date.
  • Use a browser that is up to date. Check your browser version by accessing the Help > About menu in your browser of choice.
  • Make sure your internet connection has a minimum download speed of at least 3 Mbps and a minimum upload speed of at least 1 Mbps. If you are using a Wi-Fi connection, minimize the number of obstructions between your internet router and your computer.

Using mobile devices

  • If using a Cellular Data connection, we would strongly recommend LTE and remaining stationary for the duration of the interview and response upload.
  • Set device to Airplane mode and connect via WiFi to avoid a call interruption.

Interview best practices


  • Position your webcam so it is at your eye level when you are seated.
  • Think about how your interview room is lit:
    • The background light should be the brightest in the room.
    • A simple desk lamp can be used as your main light source.
    • Turn on any available lights in the room, close all windows, and check to make sure there is no glare on your monitor.
    • Never use your monitor as your light source.
  • Be mindful of your background.
    • Position yourself in front of a wall with neutral colors; avoid patterns, wallpaper, and mirrors.
    • Clean your recording area. A tidy recording space conveys professionalism to the admissions committee.
    • Turn off all appliances or devices that may create ambient noise.
  • Your recording space should be quiet and comfortable.
    • Allot yourself ample time to answer each question in your chosen space.
    • Eliminate all possible distractions and interruptions. Turn off your cell phone and if you’re at home, make sure people in the house know you are taking an interview.


  • Practice, practice, practice – before you even turn your webcam on, try practicing by looking into the camera as if you were having a conversation with someone sitting in front of you.
    • In a traditional interview, eye contact is of the utmost importance so make sure you look directly into the camera to answer the questions posed to you.
    • Do not look at the computer screen when answering questions – this places your line of sight below the webcam and you will appear to be looking down from the interviewer’s point of view.
    • The more you rehearse looking at the webcam and not the person on the screen, the more comfortable you will feel during your interview.
  • Be prepared to answer any questions about your CV and rehearse your responses.
    • Review your CV and develop multiple talking points about all of your past experiences.
    • Polish your answers – avoid filler words such as “um”, “like”, and “you know”.
  • Dress for success; communicate professionalism with your attire. In general, you should look as if you put time and effort into your personal appearance. Your clothing should be a complement, not a distraction.

Conducting the interview

  • Speak clearly and enunciate.
    • Don’t rush but don’t answer too slowly either.
  • Listen to each question, contemplate your response, and answer concisely.
    • Make sure you answer the question being asked and don’t go off-topic.
  • Answer with a headline.
    • The first sentence of your answer should set the tone by restating the question and providing your initial opinion.
    • From there, you can add details from your own research, opinions, and experiences. However, you should always make sure you cycle back to your original point and don’t stray too far off topic.
  • Take a deep breath, relax, and let your personality shine through.
    • Smile and have fun – remember, if you are adequately prepared, you will be successful.