Ellie Kazemi, PhD

Training and Supervision

Research Laboratory

Grad School Interview Process

The following information is offered at http://gradschool.about.com/od/interviews/a/interviewdodont.htm

Graduate School Interview: Dos and Don'ts

By Tara Kuther, Ph.D., About.com

If you have been asked to come in for an interview, then congratulations on getting one step closer to being accepted into the program. The interview is the final evaluation stage in the graduate school application process. Thus, it is essential that you come prepared and leave a lasting impression on the interviewers. The purpose of the interview is to get to know the applicant more personally than what is displayed on paper. This is your chance to distinguish yourself from the other applicants and show the interviewer what makes you a better candidate than the other applicants. In other words, why should you be accepted into the program. Additionally, being granted an interview provides you with the opportunity to explore the campus and its facilities, meet professors and other faculty members, ask questions, and evaluate the program. During the interview process, you are not the only one being evaluated but you too are given the opportunity to evaluate the school and the program before you make a decision.

Because the interview is often viewed as a stressful experience and many students walk in unprepared and do not follow the proper etiquette involved in an interview, it is highly advised that you read through the following doís and doníts on an interview in order to have a better interview experience.




 Be prepared.

 Make a list of strengths, achievements, and recognitions received.

 Know who your audience will be.

 Conduct research on the school, graduate program, and faculty before the interview.

 Find a list of common interview questions.

 Practice answering questions with friends, family, and graduate school advisors.

 Rehearse Answers.

 Expect the unexpected questions.

 Be ready to answer personal and thought-provoking questions.

 Have enough rest the night before.


The Day of the Interview:

 Arrive early (at least 15 minutes early).

 Dress appropriately Ė Look neat and professional. (No Jeans, T-shirts, shorts, etc.).

 Bring copies of your resume (or CV), papers, and/or presentations.


 Be yourself.

 Be honest.

 Be confident.

 Be friendly.

 Be polite. Shake hands with the interviewer or anyone else you meet during your visit.

 Address the interviewer by their title and name (e.g. Dr. Smith).

 Make eye-contact.

 Be respectful and courteous.

 Be alert and attentive.

 Remember to have an appropriate body posture. Body language can express a lot of different moods so make sure you look interested.

 Express your ideas and thoughts in a clear, intelligent, and straightforward manner.

 Demonstrate your interest in the school and program in a passionate and enthusiastic manner. Let the interviewer know that you are really interested in attending their school without stating it directly.

 Discuss your achievements.

 Discuss your goals (career and graduate school goals).

 Discuss flaws that exist on your academic record (without making excuses).

 Be consistent in your answers. (Additionally, make sure your answers on the application are consistent with your interview answers.)

 Ask intelligent questions. Knowledgeable and specific questions that show you have done your homework are a plus (e.g. questions about the school, program, or faculty).

 Ask for clarification if you donít understand the questions.

 Sell yourself.




 Remember to send a thank-you note/letter or email after the interview.

 Stay Optimistic.

 Use each interview experience to prepare for future interviews.




 Don't forget to do your research on the school, program and faculty.

 Don't forget to prepare and rehearse answers.

 Don't reschedule the interview unless if it is extremely necessary.


The Day of the Interview:

 Donít be late.

 Donít come unprepared.

 Don't be nervous or worry. Remember to relax.

 Donít forget the interviewerís name.

 Donít talk too much or too little.

 Donít interrupt the interviewer.

 Donít forget to smile.

 Donít lie or exaggerate about your accomplishments.

 Donít discuss negative information.

 Donít make excuses for weaknesses.

 Donít criticize yourself or other individuals.

 Donít try to be funny.

 Donít speak in slang.

 Donít curse.

 Donít take things personally.

 Donít become emotional.

 Donít act immature.

 Donít talk about controversial or ethical issues (unless asked to).

 Donít answer your cell phone (Turn it off before the interview or donít bring it at all).

 Donít answer yes or no only or make your answers too general. Make sure you give descriptive and elaborate answers.

 Donít let your answers reflect what you think the interviewer wants to hear.

 Donít forget to thank the interviewer before you leave.



 Donít forget to send a thank you note or letter to everyone you met.