By Carolina Bejarano, MA
SPP Student Representative
Over the next few months, students and trainees may be preparing for interviews at various stages in their training trajectories. The Student Advisory Board put together some general tips to plan for interviews, navigate the day, and what to do afterwards. Whether preparing to interview for post-baccalaureate research positions, graduate schools, internships, or post-doctoral fellowships, we hope this list of interview tips provides some helpful guidance. We wish you the best in your interview experiences this year!
- Make a calendar with all possible interview dates from each site you applied to if they provide this information ahead of time. This way, you can try to schedule dates for sites that are near one another (to avoid making several trips back and forth across the country!).
- Take some time to read about the program, training site, or research team for which you will be interviewing in order to prepare informed questions. Think about what you really want to know about the position that will help you make decisions later on. This will show genuine interest and also let you gain important information.
- Practice answering common questions a few weeks before the interview season begins. This will make you feel more prepared and confident on interview day. This could include talking about your research interests, career goals, or case examples for internship.
- Invest in TSA pre-check. This will help you get to your gate quickly and significantly reduce the amount of time you will spend at the airport overall.
- Travel light and even practice packing your suitcase. Avoid checking bags, as this takes additional time and increases the risk of losing important luggage. Invest in space bags to create more room in your suitcase and a mini hand-held steamer to de-wrinkle your suit.
- Relax, be yourself, and appear confident. Know that you are already an amazing candidate because you have been selected to interview.
- Remember that those interviewing you likely want to get to know you as a person as well, so find a way to let your personality shine through. Similarly, dress professionally but add your own personal style to your look.
- Bring water and snacks. Interview days can be long so make sure that you are fueled properly to have energy throughout the day.
- You usually do not need to bring extra copies of your materials (CVs, etc.) unless specifically asked. Sites have this information already.
- Be friendly and approachable. Interview day is not a competition. One of the best parts of interviewing is meeting applicants from other programs or parts of the country. You will most likely run into the same individuals several times throughout the interview season or even later in your career path. Offer to grab a meal or share an Uber to make this process a bit more enjoyable!
After the Interview
- Thank you e-mails are not necessary, but if you feel like you would be more comfortable sending an e-mail, send a general thank you to the training director or individual who invited you to interview.
- Rest, recover, and be kind to yourself. It is very important to catch up on much needed rest and celebrate your accomplishments thus far.
- If you have to submit rankings, rank sites that you truly liked best and fit your training goals rather than worry about the algorithm.
- Continue to practice good self-care until you hear about your offers or match. It can feel uneasy not knowing exactly where you will be going next, but remind yourself to think flexibly about potential outcomes.
Special thanks to Kim Klages, Christina Sharkey, and Emily Moscato (Student Spotlight/ Website Committee) for their great interview tips!