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Since we have lots of folks who have phone, Skype, and/or on-campus interviews coming up, please share your advice from previous experience!  Also please note if your advice only applies to a specific type of interview (i.e. if your advice is to make sure you have a clean room in the background, that obviously only applies to Skype interviews).

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Kind of along similar lines, what questions do y’all recommend for saving for in person and what questions should I ask over email before the interview if the POI offered to answer some over email?

I don’t want to seem entitled, but at the same time I know that I will probably only have 30 mins in person and that is not enough to ask all the questions I want to ask. Should I wait until the schedule comes out? Or should I just go ahead and ask some over email? 

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5 hours ago, sassyyetclassy said:

Kind of along similar lines, what questions do y’all recommend for saving for in person and what questions should I ask over email before the interview if the POI offered to answer some over email?

I don’t want to seem entitled, but at the same time I know that I will probably only have 30 mins in person and that is not enough to ask all the questions I want to ask. Should I wait until the schedule comes out? Or should I just go ahead and ask some over email? 

in the same vein, what questions will make them want to invite you to the in-person interview? what questions will put you above other people they're interviewing via skype?

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I don't know if there are really a lot of rules in asking questions. Just make sure they are thoughtful and cannot be answered somewhere on the website or by reading any recent publications by the POI. Some good ones might be based on specifics of their current research project and directions the lab is moving, the culture of the lab and the POI's mentoring style. 

Although I only interviewed at 1 school last year, I did get in on my 1st cycle so I must have done something right. I made sure to be up to date on my POI's more recent publications and the project they lab was currently working on. I asked questions specific to those things during the interview. I asked cohort culture questions to the student interviewer. Make sure you are prepared to talk about your research interests and goals, as well as any information on your CV, in depth. Also, be friendly with your fellow interviewees. If the culture of the program is that everyone is supportive of each other, then they are also looking for people who would fit within that culture. If you're being competitive and rude with fellow applicants, that can look bad. 

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I just had a phone interview and there was a question that tripped me up (ignore the tears). I was asked about a SPECIFIC research article I had read in the past year that had interested me that was NOT from my PI's lab - they wanted an author, a pub date, and details, etc. I was able to summarize some articles that I had used in a paper I'm working on, but I couldn't remember any names or dates off the top of my head under that pressure. Hoping this doesn't cost me the interview invite, but who knows what others had prepared?

Learn from my mistake - PI's already know their own research, and probably aren't interested in you rattling off their articles that you've memorized. While it's obviously very important to know what they've written and how it relates to your own interests, at the end of the day it makes sense that they want to know you've done other reading. 

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So, here's my advice from my experience 2 years ago when I was in your shoes and applying to Clinical Psych Ph.D. programs. I applied to 10 sites, got 6 interviews, and got into my top choice. This advice isn't a "hard-and-fast" guide for everyone, even in clinical, but I think these tips are helpful (even if they've been stated before).

 

For phone interviews:

  • Honestly, I dressed pretty casually for these because I personally wanted to feel comfortable. Some will say dress for success. You do you, honestly. 
  • Be in an area, like a bedroom, where there is minimal background noise. I also advice to use a good pair of headphones with a mic, if possible. 
  • Have a note pad and pen to take notes from the conversation.
  • At the top of the note pad, write down before the interview at least 2-3 questions that you have, as well as anything else you think is relevant. 
  • Speak calmly, and take a breath before you answer the phone. 

 

Skype interviews:

  • Wear at least business casual. I actually usually wore a suit (I am a male, so that's a wide difference honestly). 
  • Again, I'd advise to skype in your room or somewhere that is quiet. If your room doesn't work, I advise finding a quiet place at work or a library in a private room. 
  • Again, wearing headphones can help with quality of your speech/hearing your interviewer. 
  • Same rules of notepad and pen apply as before. 
  • Look at the camera lens, not at yourself or the PI on the screen. Looking at the camera feels weird, but it means you are making eye contact. 

 

In-person interviews

  • The agendas for campus interviews vary WIDELY. Some places will be a short day of interviews with a handful of people; other sites will have 2-3 day extravaganzas with parties, interviews, campus tours, etc. Plan your wardrobe accordingly. Unless stated otherwise, you should be in business formal for all of the interviews, and business casual for all of the dinners/parties. 
  • At the parties/socials, DO NOT (and I mean this) get drunk or out of control. That's pretty much an immediate ax from the committee. Generally speaking, just have a few drinks if you'd like (or don't... nobody cares), and socialize with current students, other applicants, PIs, etc. BE NICE!!! It often helps, especially with other applicants, to talk about pleasantries and stuff going on, as well as shared interests OUTSIDE of psychology. Nobody wants to get into a metaphorical d*ck waving contest with you, and the grad students interviewing you, especially, will not look favorably on that. 
  • This goes with the above, but if you are staying with a host or really whenever you are interacting with grad students, you should be on your best behavior. You should be polite and respectful of your host student's home, and it is often nice to bring a small gift from where you are (less than $5) and a thank you card. While you should and can ask candid questions about life as a grad student, the culture of the city/university, faculty-student dynamics, etc., you should probably think at least a little bit before you ask questions or say things because they can, and do, get back to the PIs. For example, a student I hosted my first year as a PhD student who was interviewing for a lab that was not my own told me about how he had "6 interviews" and my school was his "4th choice." As it was pompous and completely unprompted from me, I relayed that information back to the PI because ultimately PIs want to make offers to students who actually want to come to this university. 
  • Same rules apply for skype/in-person interviews. Try to have 2-3 questions per person you are scheduled to interview with during your visit. These help if you get stuck on questions to ask. You can often ask the same question to multiple grad students if you are, for example, having conversations with every lab member. 
  • Bring a book or something fun, non-academic to do during down time. Depending on the agenda, you can often have hours of down time during the actual interview day, and if you are an introvert like me it can be relieving to just read a book or do something that does not involve talking to people. 
  • It is always good to bring deodorant, gum, and mouthwash in your purse or backpack/satchel to the interview day. If you are like me and sweat bullets when you are anxious (e.g., in interviews), it can be helpful to have these handy. :) 

 

This list is by no means comprehensive, but just some thoughts that I have from my experience on both ends of the interview table. Feel free to comment and ask questions or PM if you have something specific you'd like to know about. 

 

Most importantly, YOU DESERVE THIS D*MN INTERVIEW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The PI reached out to YOU, meaning that s/he thinks you'd be a good potential fit for your lab. Keep that in mind and just be yourself. 

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Hello guys,

You all offered great advice! Thank you :)

@spookycat, I hope you will feel better and hear good news soon. I'm very shocked that they will even ask detailed questions like that! I won't be ready to answer that kind of question either. So, I think many are on the same page with you or not as good as you. Don't worry until your worry is warranted. 

I now wonder how detailed are we supposed to know about potential POIs' research. Is it necessary to know all potential POIs' research or just the primary one? I hope others could shed light on the extent to which our literature review has to be to prepare to interviews!!

Many thanks!

4 hours ago, Clinapp2017 said:

So, here's my advice from my experience 2 years ago when I was in your shoes and applying to Clinical Psych Ph.D. programs. I applied to 10 sites, got 6 interviews, and got into my top choice. This advice isn't a "hard-and-fast" guide for everyone, even in clinical, but I think these tips are helpful (even if they've been stated before).

 

For phone interviews:

  • Honestly, I dressed pretty casually for these because I personally wanted to feel comfortable. Some will say dress for success. You do you, honestly. 
  • Be in an area, like a bedroom, where there is minimal background noise. I also advice to use a good pair of headphones with a mic, if possible. 
  • Have a note pad and pen to take notes from the conversation.
  • At the top of the note pad, write down before the interview at least 2-3 questions that you have, as well as anything else you think is relevant. 
  • Speak calmly, and take a breath before you answer the phone. 

 

Skype interviews:

  • Wear at least business casual. I actually usually wore a suit (I am a male, so that's a wide difference honestly). 
  • Again, I'd advise to skype in your room or somewhere that is quiet. If your room doesn't work, I advise finding a quiet place at work or a library in a private room. 
  • Again, wearing headphones can help with quality of your speech/hearing your interviewer. 
  • Same rules of notepad and pen apply as before. 
  • Look at the camera lens, not at yourself or the PI on the screen. Looking at the camera feels weird, but it means you are making eye contact. 

 

In-person interviews

  • The agendas for campus interviews vary WIDELY. Some places will be a short day of interviews with a handful of people; other sites will have 2-3 day extravaganzas with parties, interviews, campus tours, etc. Plan your wardrobe accordingly. Unless stated otherwise, you should be in business formal for all of the interviews, and business casual for all of the dinners/parties. 
  • At the parties/socials, DO NOT (and I mean this) get drunk or out of control. That's pretty much an immediate ax from the committee. Generally speaking, just have a few drinks if you'd like (or don't... nobody cares), and socialize with current students, other applicants, PIs, etc. BE NICE!!! It often helps, especially with other applicants, to talk about pleasantries and stuff going on, as well as shared interests OUTSIDE of psychology. Nobody wants to get into a metaphorical d*ck waving contest with you, and the grad students interviewing you, especially, will not look favorably on that. 
  • This goes with the above, but if you are staying with a host or really whenever you are interacting with grad students, you should be on your best behavior. You should be polite and respectful of your host student's home, and it is often nice to bring a small gift from where you are (less than $5) and a thank you card. While you should and can ask candid questions about life as a grad student, the culture of the city/university, faculty-student dynamics, etc., you should probably think at least a little bit before you ask questions or say things because they can, and do, get back to the PIs. For example, a student I hosted my first year as a PhD student who was interviewing for a lab that was not my own told me about how he had "6 interviews" and my school was his "4th choice." As it was pompous and completely unprompted from me, I relayed that information back to the PI because ultimately PIs want to make offers to students who actually want to come to this university. 
  • Same rules apply for skype/in-person interviews. Try to have 2-3 questions per person you are scheduled to interview with during your visit. These help if you get stuck on questions to ask. You can often ask the same question to multiple grad students if you are, for example, having conversations with every lab member. 
  • Bring a book or something fun, non-academic to do during down time. Depending on the agenda, you can often have hours of down time during the actual interview day, and if you are an introvert like me it can be relieving to just read a book or do something that does not involve talking to people. 
  • It is always good to bring deodorant, gum, and mouthwash in your purse or backpack/satchel to the interview day. If you are like me and sweat bullets when you are anxious (e.g., in interviews), it can be helpful to have these handy. :) 

 

This list is by no means comprehensive, but just some thoughts that I have from my experience on both ends of the interview table. Feel free to comment and ask questions or PM if you have something specific you'd like to know about. 

 

Most importantly, YOU DESERVE THIS D*MN INTERVIEW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The PI reached out to YOU, meaning that s/he thinks you'd be a good potential fit for your lab. Keep that in mind and just be yourself. 

 

5 hours ago, spookycat said:

I just had a phone interview and there was a question that tripped me up (ignore the tears). I was asked about a SPECIFIC research article I had read in the past year that had interested me that was NOT from my PI's lab - they wanted an author, a pub date, and details, etc. I was able to summarize some articles that I had used in a paper I'm working on, but I couldn't remember any names or dates off the top of my head under that pressure. Hoping this doesn't cost me the interview invite, but who knows what others had prepared?

Learn from my mistake - PI's already know their own research, and probably aren't interested in you rattling off their articles that you've memorized. While it's obviously very important to know what they've written and how it relates to your own interests, at the end of the day it makes sense that they want to know you've done other reading. 

 

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Try to enjoy your interviews! They’re a lot less stressful when you frame them as an opportunity to get to know potential colleagues, learn about cool research, and show others what you have to offer. The PI chose you out of probably dozens of applicants- you’re qualified and you deserve to be there. Most PIs won’t grill you about their research or obscure theories or anything, they’re more interested in seeing if you’re a good fit with the lab and if they want to spend the next 5+ years with you. 

Also, most interviews have unlimited coffee available. Stay away if you are prone to anxiety lol 

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Here are some of my thoughts! I've experienced every type of interview for grad apps and hope this insight is helpful. These interviews are undeniably stressful, but as other posters mentioned, by getting an interview invite the PI(s) have determined you have the qualifications to succeed in graduate school. This next step is giving everyone involved more insight in your specific fit all more insight into your potential working relationship and your feel for the place! 

General Question Advice:

  • First, double checking the answers are not on the department website/lab page/etc are the way to go. There are lists floating around with some awesome questions, so I recommend searching Twitter, this website or application guides. Main topics besides the biggies about the program, culture, and climate are things like financial aspects in the program like the stipend (including summer funding), funds to support research/conference travel, and more. It felt a bit awkward asking students about these at first, but it's an important factor to consider and most students (would not ask faculty) are more than happy to share their thoughts. Asking about practicum opportunities and institutional support to everyone is important too. 
  • I was most prepared and knowledgeable about my primary PIs research and ongoing projects, though you should expect to get at least a brief rundown when you speak with them anyway. I also prepared responses linking my past experiences/interests with the work they're doing now. Prepare, but remember there's no way to fully know everything until you're there. I had more than one PI share a research direction that I wasn't aware of on the interview date.
  • For faculty I interviewed with besides my  POI, I was familiar with their area broadly and generated only a couple questions about their research. I prioritized asking them more questions about the program overall such as their thoughts on collaboration, training philosophy, culture of the dept and city.  Most interviews begin with asking about your background and interests, so go ahead and sharpen that spiel up and be prepared for them to ask follow-up questions, especially if your work is WAY out of their wheelhouse. For example, someone asked me to explain a key theory I used in research whereas my POI did not.
  • Be aware of the tone/wording of your questions! It helped me to write most down, then it became a routine at different institutions.  

General Interview Advice:

  • Breathe, and feel free to take a moment or two to THINK before you respond! It's hard to not start replying as soon as the question is asked, but it's better to pause than trailing off/not making sense. I learned this the hard way.
  • I waited until an interview passed before ending an email filled with questions (even though this is truly a preference, either way works). That way you'll be able to hear a verbal (and likely longer) response to your highly prioritized questions (e.g., their mentorship style, research expectations, opportunities in the program) and can ask quick clarifying ones on the backend. It's especially useful if if they mention not knowing a full answer or you run out of time
  • Emphasizing the suggestion to not be afraid to ask the same questions to different faculty, students, and other folks that you meet! I know it's sort of a "Duh!" piece of advice, but I spent way too much time trying to think of lots of witty and original questions at first. I gained the most information when I heard different perspectives because it allowed me to notice patterns in responses. For example, I asked the textbook "What are the strengths and areas of growth in the program?" question which resulted in some really insightful answers.
  • After the interview, take 10 minutes to write a reflection with your first impressions, lingering questions, anything you think will be helpful when considering your decisions. I got this advice early on and thought it was EXTREMELY helpful to have when trying to remember a vibe of a place/how I felt in the moment. I

Phone/Skype Interviews:

  • I agree with all things mentioned above, especially writing down questions/notes and outlining main topics! Having your CV up is also a great idea too.
  • Test out your connection/video prior to the actual call. Even if you pick an ideal place, avoiding an awkward video angle and a spotty Wifi connection is crucial.
  • While most PIs will be prompt starting and ending the interview, make sure there's buffer time on both ends. They're humans too, so at times they may be running late, their connection is spotty, or the most ideal - your conversation is so engaging it runs over :)

In Person Interviews:

  • Interviews do vary in a lot of ways, but a common element is some sort of campus tour that in my experience is always done very quickly. For that reason, I recommend folks of all genders wear comfortable shoes that are okay for campus terrains (bricks, sidewalks, etc.) to avoid any discomfort and make sure you keep up up with the group.
  • Be friendly and gracious to everyone you meet, including the admin staff coordinating the interviews/meals/transitions. It'll be obvious if you're saving all of your niceties for faculty and grad students in your potential lab(s), plus those admin folks are the ones who keep the department running. As noted above, it's especially important to leave a good impression with your hosts. I've seen applicants complain the entire time and it does get back.
  • On a related note,  engage with other applicants too. A pleasant surprise for me was how cool it was to talk with other applicants, especially if they had similar interests. These are likely your future colleagues in some capacity, might as well build the relationship now.
  • Protect your energy! Don't be afraid to take some space to gather your thoughts, your breath, and basically decompress.  I had some angelic grad student hosts who recognized how draining interviews can be and encouraged me to sit in the room with the lights off in between events to recharge. If you're feeling overwhelmed on the actual day, it's well within your right to nicely ask for a private space to regroup! A possible option is a grad student office or an upstairs bathroom. It's also okay to leave some social events relatively early.
  • Write/record a reflection! You get so much "data" from these in person interviews that may slip through the cracks even a week later. Bullet point, write paragraphs...whatever works for you.
  • Endorse bringing a bag filled with essentials (including snacks!) I got peckish during the day and having a granola bar saved me from some discomfort. 
  • It's awesome how gracious, welcoming, and genuine interviewers can be. Most recognize you're under a microscope (all day, if it's in person) and are typically trying to do their best to present their institution as somewhere you can feel comfortable/thrive. As everyone said but I didn't believe until the end, you're interviewing the program too.

 

 Wishing all of you the best on this ride,  I'm welcome to any PMs and follow-up questions too!

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I'll add my own pieces of advice from the interviews I've had in previous cycles. 

For in-person interviews: Prepare a short, concise description of your research as you will be asked about this over and over throughout the day - from interviewers, grad students, and fellow interviewees.  Get good sleep the night before (if at all possible) and eat a solid breakfast as it's going to be a long day where you won't be able to control when you eat and your nerves will be greatly amplified if you're tired and/or hungry. 

For Skype or in-person interviews: Keep notes about the professor's research up and ready to mention if asked (favorite article, how their research has influenced you, etc.), and some notes about other articles that have influenced you just in case you're asked.  Plus having them on hand may help to trigger questions you have for the interviewer - future directions for their research, why they decided to use a certain method, etc.

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Thank you guys so much for all this wonderful advice and for starting this threat! I haven’t received any interview invitations yet but I decided to check out this thread anyways; acting on faith! 💪🏽Good luck to everyone. 

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got into 3 schools last year (out of 3 interviews) and here is my advice.

-get good sleep the night before. I missed one of the mini interviews the following day after a horrible night with only a few hours of sleep because I misread the interview schedule. I felt that I had destroyed my chance at ever making it into that school. Fortunately the POI wanted me enough that he gave me a spot.

-bring that dam black folio and make sure you're wearing a black suit jacket.

-write up a list of questions

-rehearse your answers beforehand with multiple people

That's about it!

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Allow me to hijack this thread to talk about clothes. What's everyone wearing? Shoes? Bringing purses/bags to interviews?

I just spent a ridiculous amount of money on a blazer/pant combination + blouse... after searching through websites for hours. It's gray (couldn't find a black one I loved!), it's plain/boring, but I def. did not want to draw attention and wear one of my colorful blazers/pant combos. 

btw- I'm also trying to get my money's worth and plan to wear this damn outfit for every. single. interview lol

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43 minutes ago, checkingmyemail said:

Allow me to hijack this thread to talk about clothes. What's everyone wearing? Shoes? Bringing purses/bags to interviews?

I just spent a ridiculous amount of money on a blazer/pant combination + blouse... after searching through websites for hours. It's gray (couldn't find a black one I loved!), it's plain/boring, but I def. did not want to draw attention and wear one of my colorful blazers/pant combos. 

btw- I'm also trying to get my money's worth and plan to wear this damn outfit for every. single. interview lol

Same! I would also like to know what people are wearing for dinners/events before the interview.

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27 minutes ago, ktwalsh said:

Same! I would also like to know what people are wearing for dinners/events before the interview.

I'd say stay in the dress code. 

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11 hours ago, ktwalsh said:

Same! I would also like to know what people are wearing for dinners/events before the interview.

Last year, we had a break between the interviews and social afterwards and myself and my co-applicant roomie kept our blazers and blouses but put on jeans. 

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1 hour ago, buckeyepsych said:

Last year, we had a break between the interviews and social afterwards and myself and my co-applicant roomie kept our blazers and blouses but put on jeans. 

Just got the itinerary for my interview and was wondering what to wear for dinners and a scheduled visit to a children’s hospital. I think I’m keeping my interview outfit for the hospital visit but this is a good idea for dinners. Thank you! 😉

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2 minutes ago, ASDadvocate said:

Just got the itinerary for my interview and was wondering what to wear for dinners and a scheduled visit to a children’s hospital. I think I’m keeping my interview outfit for the hospital visit but this is a good idea for dinners. Thank you! 😉

I see you're headed to my neck of the woods! You're gonna love it! 

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Thanks for the motivation! I’m really excited about it!! I need to start looking into the area and possible communities to live in. 

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15 hours ago, checkingmyemail said:

Allow me to hijack this thread to talk about clothes. What's everyone wearing? Shoes? Bringing purses/bags to interviews?

I just spent a ridiculous amount of money on a blazer/pant combination + blouse... after searching through websites for hours. It's gray (couldn't find a black one I loved!), it's plain/boring, but I def. did not want to draw attention and wear one of my colorful blazers/pant combos. 

btw- I'm also trying to get my money's worth and plan to wear this damn outfit for every. single. interview lol

Highly recommend bringing the damn black pad folio @gasmasque mentioned to carry notebook paper, copies of your CV and the various papers/folders that come with in-person interviewing. I also stuffed some printed copies of questions I wanted to ask in there too, but honestly reviewing it beforehand would've been fine. If possible, bringing a bag that can fit these accumulated papers inside is ideal. The information is great but it can get tiring to carry around an entire clinic manual and a welcome folder for the rest of the day.

I also dressed somewhat more casually for the dinners and social events. Sometimes that just meant changing my shoes or as @buckeyepsych suggested wearing some jeans alongside the blazer.

Sending all of you best dressed and accessorized vibes!

Edited by psykick

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17 hours ago, checkingmyemail said:

Allow me to hijack this thread to talk about clothes. What's everyone wearing? Shoes? Bringing purses/bags to interviews?

I'll be in slacks, a suit jacket and a short sleeved or 3/4 length sleeved blouse so I can feel comfortable taking the jacket on and off throughout the day as the temperature dictates.  I'll wear comfortable dress shoes - I'm deciding between two pairs right now, one completely flat and one with about a 1" heel, both black leather.  I'll take a large purse that can hold my pad folio and anything else I feel I might need during the day (extra deodorant, a small sewing kit, a lint roller, an extra charge for my phone, etc.) 

It was recommended to me years ago to have a signature look/accessory to be part of your brand.  I decided on pearls because I love them and they can be classy and funky depending upon the design, so I have pearls on in my head shot, and I wear them for every conference, interview or anything important.  So I'll definitely have pearls of some sort on - likely a single drop pendant and earrings (classy, but not too formal).

I'm putting together a 1-2 page fact sheet about each school with info from their website & doc student handbook regarding funding, transfer credits/course waivers (since I have my master's degree), length of program, and 1 sentence about each professor's research or background that I find interesting (so when I interview with someone who went to my alma mater, I can remember to mention it, or talk about seeing them present at a conference, etc.)

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7 hours ago, topsailpsych said:

It was recommended to me years ago to have a signature look/accessory to be part of your brand.  I decided on pearls because I love them and they can be classy and funky depending upon the design, so I have pearls on in my head shot, and I wear them for every conference, interview or anything important.  So I'll definitely have pearls of some sort on - likely a single drop pendant and earrings (classy, but not too formal).

I'm putting together a 1-2 page fact sheet about each school with info from their website & doc student handbook regarding funding, transfer credits/course waivers (since I have my master's degree), length of program, and 1 sentence about each professor's research or background that I find interesting (so when I interview with someone who went to my alma mater, I can remember to mention it, or talk about seeing them present at a conference, etc.)

This is great advice!! Thank you 🙏🏽 

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On 12/17/2018 at 5:21 PM, Hk328 said:

I don't know if there are really a lot of rules in asking questions. Just make sure they are thoughtful and cannot be answered somewhere on the website or by reading any recent publications by the POI. Some good ones might be based on specifics of their current research project and directions the lab is moving, the culture of the lab and the POI's mentoring style. 

Although I only interviewed at 1 school last year, I did get in on my 1st cycle so I must have done something right. I made sure to be up to date on my POI's more recent publications and the project they lab was currently working on. I asked questions specific to those things during the interview. I asked cohort culture questions to the student interviewer. Make sure you are prepared to talk about your research interests and goals, as well as any information on your CV, in depth. Also, be friendly with your fellow interviewees. If the culture of the program is that everyone is supportive of each other, then they are also looking for people who would fit within that culture. If you're being competitive and rude with fellow applicants, that can look bad. 

 

On 12/18/2018 at 11:58 AM, spookycat said:

I just had a phone interview and there was a question that tripped me up (ignore the tears). I was asked about a SPECIFIC research article I had read in the past year that had interested me that was NOT from my PI's lab - they wanted an author, a pub date, and details, etc. I was able to summarize some articles that I had used in a paper I'm working on, but I couldn't remember any names or dates off the top of my head under that pressure. Hoping this doesn't cost me the interview invite, but who knows what others had prepared?

Learn from my mistake - PI's already know their own research, and probably aren't interested in you rattling off their articles that you've memorized. While it's obviously very important to know what they've written and how it relates to your own interests, at the end of the day it makes sense that they want to know you've done other reading. 

 

On 12/18/2018 at 12:18 PM, Clinapp2017 said:

So, here's my advice from my experience 2 years ago when I was in your shoes and applying to Clinical Psych Ph.D. programs. I applied to 10 sites, got 6 interviews, and got into my top choice. This advice isn't a "hard-and-fast" guide for everyone, even in clinical, but I think these tips are helpful (even if they've been stated before).

 

For phone interviews:

  • Honestly, I dressed pretty casually for these because I personally wanted to feel comfortable. Some will say dress for success. You do you, honestly. 
  • Be in an area, like a bedroom, where there is minimal background noise. I also advice to use a good pair of headphones with a mic, if possible. 
  • Have a note pad and pen to take notes from the conversation.
  • At the top of the note pad, write down before the interview at least 2-3 questions that you have, as well as anything else you think is relevant. 
  • Speak calmly, and take a breath before you answer the phone. 

 

Skype interviews:

  • Wear at least business casual. I actually usually wore a suit (I am a male, so that's a wide difference honestly). 
  • Again, I'd advise to skype in your room or somewhere that is quiet. If your room doesn't work, I advise finding a quiet place at work or a library in a private room. 
  • Again, wearing headphones can help with quality of your speech/hearing your interviewer. 
  • Same rules of notepad and pen apply as before. 
  • Look at the camera lens, not at yourself or the PI on the screen. Looking at the camera feels weird, but it means you are making eye contact. 

 

In-person interviews

  • The agendas for campus interviews vary WIDELY. Some places will be a short day of interviews with a handful of people; other sites will have 2-3 day extravaganzas with parties, interviews, campus tours, etc. Plan your wardrobe accordingly. Unless stated otherwise, you should be in business formal for all of the interviews, and business casual for all of the dinners/parties. 
  • At the parties/socials, DO NOT (and I mean this) get drunk or out of control. That's pretty much an immediate ax from the committee. Generally speaking, just have a few drinks if you'd like (or don't... nobody cares), and socialize with current students, other applicants, PIs, etc. BE NICE!!! It often helps, especially with other applicants, to talk about pleasantries and stuff going on, as well as shared interests OUTSIDE of psychology. Nobody wants to get into a metaphorical d*ck waving contest with you, and the grad students interviewing you, especially, will not look favorably on that. 
  • This goes with the above, but if you are staying with a host or really whenever you are interacting with grad students, you should be on your best behavior. You should be polite and respectful of your host student's home, and it is often nice to bring a small gift from where you are (less than $5) and a thank you card. While you should and can ask candid questions about life as a grad student, the culture of the city/university, faculty-student dynamics, etc., you should probably think at least a little bit before you ask questions or say things because they can, and do, get back to the PIs. For example, a student I hosted my first year as a PhD student who was interviewing for a lab that was not my own told me about how he had "6 interviews" and my school was his "4th choice." As it was pompous and completely unprompted from me, I relayed that information back to the PI because ultimately PIs want to make offers to students who actually want to come to this university. 
  • Same rules apply for skype/in-person interviews. Try to have 2-3 questions per person you are scheduled to interview with during your visit. These help if you get stuck on questions to ask. You can often ask the same question to multiple grad students if you are, for example, having conversations with every lab member. 
  • Bring a book or something fun, non-academic to do during down time. Depending on the agenda, you can often have hours of down time during the actual interview day, and if you are an introvert like me it can be relieving to just read a book or do something that does not involve talking to people. 
  • It is always good to bring deodorant, gum, and mouthwash in your purse or backpack/satchel to the interview day. If you are like me and sweat bullets when you are anxious (e.g., in interviews), it can be helpful to have these handy. :) 

 

This list is by no means comprehensive, but just some thoughts that I have from my experience on both ends of the interview table. Feel free to comment and ask questions or PM if you have something specific you'd like to know about. 

 

Most importantly, YOU DESERVE THIS D*MN INTERVIEW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The PI reached out to YOU, meaning that s/he thinks you'd be a good potential fit for your lab. Keep that in mind and just be yourself. 

 

On 12/26/2018 at 10:58 PM, gasmasque said:

got into 3 schools last year (out of 3 interviews) and here is my advice.

-get good sleep the night before. I missed one of the mini interviews the following day after a horrible night with only a few hours of sleep because I misread the interview schedule. I felt that I had destroyed my chance at ever making it into that school. Fortunately the POI wanted me enough that he gave me a spot.

-bring that dam black folio and make sure you're wearing a black suit jacket.

-write up a list of questions

-rehearse your answers beforehand with multiple people

That's about it!

tHANKS!!!

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Would you all say the interview process is along the same lines for PsyD as it is for PhD? I’ve heard a lot of insight from those who interviewed for clinical PhD programs on here, but I just wasn’t sure about PsyD (this is the program I am interviewing for and my first time applying).

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