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Pre-Interview Socials / Happy Hours ??


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Hi, everyone! 

I recently got an interview invite from one of my top choices (YAY!) In the interview invite, there was mention of a pre-interview social and a post-interview happy hour. This made me NERVOUS, as I really don't know what to expect. 

Could anyone who has ben through this process before give a little insight? Any tips? I am someone who feels better going into things knowing at least a bit of what to expect, so this would be most appreciated. Thanks so much everyone!

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These are common.

The pre-interview event is usually informal and run by grad students (but there could be some faculty there). It's just an opportunity to chat with current students and meet some of the other interviewees. If faculty are there, they might go around and talk to groups of people, but it's still going to be informal.

The post-interview happy hour might include faculty or might just be grad students -- it's unclear from your post (and I've seen both). It's going to be similar to the pre-interview event: an opportunity to talk with current students/faculty in a more relaxed situation than an interview. If faculty are there, usually you seek out ones you wanted to talk to but didn't interview with.

Come prepared with a very brief spiel on who you are and research interests. Don't be obnoxious or get drunk.

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Aside from not drinking too much, the only thing I can think of is to be yourself and enjoy the event. I went through medical school interviews a few years back and I'm assuming that the process will be quite similar for you. Make sure you're dressed appropriately (now is not the time to make a fashion statement). The school will most likely have professors and current student mingle with you to get a sense of what you are like as a person and a (future) clinician. I would recommend attending the pre- and post- interview socials as they will increase you're chance of finding people who you can click with. Congratulations on your invite and best of luck!

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In my experience, pre-interview happy hours are more casual, as the previous posters mentioned. The ones I attended were run by grad students and an opportunity to learn about student life, what it's like to work with your POI, quality of life, atmosphere, the location, etc. DEFINITELY do NOT get drunk. Otherwise, I would recommend just trying to be relaxed, mingle, and use it as a learning experience. Yes, the program is interviewing you, but you're also interviewing them. It's a good opportunity to try to get a feel for the place and if you'd be happy there for the next hundred years. In terms of apparel, they are not as formal. I wouldn't wear jeans, unless they were nice jeans with a blazer and nice top- generally I'd say non-jean pants and a nice shirt/ dress/ skirt and top. I wore a sweater and a skirt last year and felt like that was appropriate. I would err on the side of conservative just because it's less risky.

For post-interview happy hours, you generally wear what you wore to the interview, unless there's time in between, in which case I'd say same recommendations as for the pre-interview happy hour. Generally post has faculty members and is a good time for you to either further connect with your POI, or meet other faculty that you didn't interview with- the more facetime you have, the better. It's more casual than the interview, and gives you a bit of a chance to show your personality and ability to go with the flow/ connect with others/ see how you'd fit in at the program. But again, you're interviewing them as well. I found I was very nervous going into both, but they were actually helpful and more laid back than I anticipated. They chose to interview you for a reason, you applied to the program for a reason, this is your opportunity (and theirs) to see if it's a good fit! 

Good luck!! 

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as for attire (this is psych): pre interview social. It can be a bit more casual. Lot of people would wear something like a nice black jean or something (or any dark pant, but not ur pant suit) and a bottom up or nice sweater. That would fine.

Post - you'll usually be in your interview attire, although some schools may give you some time to change/go back to the hotel/accommodation. 

 

DO NOT GET DRUNK. Also yes, be yourself, but I've also had an experience where an applicant was saying 'borderline' racist things and got rejected because of that (it was just like a wtf moment). 

DO mingle with the grad students, particularly those from your lab of interest. They can potentially vouch for you! Also ask some questions about the program and so on.

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Would you guys say it's appropriate to have a drink at a happy hour (strictly one), or just to avoid drinking entirely at these events? 

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It’s not a problem to have a drink (many of these events will have free drinks). But like everyone else said, do not get drunk!! I know it seems obvious, but you would be surprised... 

It’s also important to be professional and respectful even if the faculty aren’t there. I’ve encountered some applicants that relax a bit too much and don’t realize that the grad students are evaluating them too. But you can still have fun and show your personality a bit. 

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1 minute ago, justacigar said:

I really can't believe this even needs to be said

have seen it happen.

sometimes it seems to be people who go to a place that is not their job choice or something. But you are still leaving an impression on your future colleagues.

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Just now, Psygeek said:

have seen it happen.

sometimes it seems to be people who go to a place that is not their job choice or something. But you are still leaving an impression on your future colleagues.

Seriously, if I've learned one thing from working in psychological research its that the world is small, everyone knows everyone! You could easily burn bridges in a subdiscipline by acting inappropriate with one colleague or future colleague

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Just to double check with current graduate students who might be lurking.

It's totally cool to be upfront that I just don't drink? Like, I don't need to play the "hold a glass and pretend" game, right?

Like "Nah, I don't drink, but thanks. You have any seltzer?" 

I just don't want to seem like a stick in the mud. I don't want future potential colleagues to see me as someone who can't relax and have fun once in a while.

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1 minute ago, Modulus said:

Just to double check with current graduate students who might be lurking.

It's totally cool to be upfront that I just don't drink? Like, I don't need to play the "hold a glass and pretend" game, right?

Like "Nah, I don't drink, but thanks. You have any seltzer?" 

I just don't want to seem like a stick in the mud. I don't want future potential colleagues to see me as someone who can't relax and have fun once in a while.

I'm not a current student (but would assume that would be TOTALLY fine), but mostly I just want to reply bc you have seriously crushed it with interviews!!!! 9 so far!!!! That's amazing, congrats. 

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5 minutes ago, Modulus said:

Just to double check with current graduate students who might be lurking.

It's totally cool to be upfront that I just don't drink? Like, I don't need to play the "hold a glass and pretend" game, right?

Like "Nah, I don't drink, but thanks. You have any seltzer?" 

I just don't want to seem like a stick in the mud. I don't want future potential colleagues to see me as someone who can't relax and have fun once in a while.

Current grad student here. Yes, that’s totally fine and you wouldn’t be viewed like that! Someone in my cohort doesn’t drink and still comes out with us all the same - not a “stick in the mud” at all. 
 

Just be yourself! I’m happy to answer more questions if you DM me 😊

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3 hours ago, Modulus said:

Just to double check with current graduate students who might be lurking.

It's totally cool to be upfront that I just don't drink? Like, I don't need to play the "hold a glass and pretend" game, right?

Like "Nah, I don't drink, but thanks. You have any seltzer?" 

I just don't want to seem like a stick in the mud. I don't want future potential colleagues to see me as someone who can't relax and have fun once in a while.

It won’t be a problem. You 100% won’t be the only one not drinking anyway. Lots of applicants turn down drinks because they’re stressed, tired, etc.

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20 hours ago, Modulus said:

Just to double check with current graduate students who might be lurking.

It's totally cool to be upfront that I just don't drink? Like, I don't need to play the "hold a glass and pretend" game, right?

Like "Nah, I don't drink, but thanks. You have any seltzer?" 

I just don't want to seem like a stick in the mud. I don't want future potential colleagues to see me as someone who can't relax and have fun once in a while.

It's fine. If people start acting like that, it's not a program you want to. You're an adult, you should be allowed to set boundaries in that regard.

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