The third stage of the selection process is an interview, conducted by the standing selection committee of the Max-Weber-Kolleg Erfurt. The standing selection committee is appointed by the Kollegrat and is composed of external and internal advanced researchers from the relevant disciplines, as well as two repre-sentatives of the postdoctoral researchers group, two doctoral students and the Equal Opportunity Commissioner. Whenever regular members have a conflict of interest their deputy will take over.

The interviews are conducted with a maximum of twenty top ranked applicants via videoconference service (e. g. skype). The semi-structured interviews last approximately thirty minutes and are based on a partly standardised modular questionnaire in order to ensure equal treatment and fair competition. Members of the selection committee with pertinent disciplinary orientation will prepare the interviews using the comments and critiques of the external reviewers (including potentially risen ethical issues). The interviews will be recorded. One member of the board will take written notes during the interview and will – if necessary – complete the notes by watching the video afterwards and filter out relevant statements.

After conducting all interviews the selection committee ranks the applications on the basis of the interviews using the selection criteria [link to: selection criteria] and allotting points (3 x up to 10 points each for the project and for the candidate; including equal opportunity balancing points) referring to a five-level scale (see: external peer review). In sum, 60 points can be reached in the interview; 40 points in sum (and 18 points each for both the project and the candidate) are the threshold for further evaluation. Equal opportunity points can balance out missing points in the candidate category. However they cannot be added to a sum higher than 30.

The applicants will receive an overall ranking based on the sum of the two expert reviews and the interview (see Table). Since the thresholds have to be respected, the accomplishable sums lie between 120 and 180 points.