Psi Chi’s Guide to the
What are they looking for?
Self Confidence Motivation
Interpersonal Skills Organizational Skills
Ability to Handle Flexibility
Pressure Oral and Written
Leadership potential Communication Skills
So how do I prepare?
You have to think about yourself and what
you have to offer a school before you
arrive at your interview.
Reflect on your skills and abilities
Research the Graduate School
Learn about the graduate program, their
philosophy, faculty and reputation of the
Prepare a few questions to ask the
interviewer once reviewing information to
learn more about the program
Time, date, location, and directions for your interview.
Stock your portfolio with extra copies of:
Resume on bond paper
Plan what you will wear and ask for advice if
uncertain about appropriate professional attire.
Arrive early and take care of a few basics:
Go to the restroom, get a drink, and dry your hands if
you have sweaty palms.
During the Interview
Greet your interviewer(s) with a firm handshake, good
eye contact, and a smile.
Wait until you are asked to be seated and then sit
Let the interviewer lead you into the process: usually
a question or comment about your trip or the weather
will be used to help you get comfortable and relax.
The interviewer then may explain how he/she plans to
conduct the interview.
Body of the interview:
The interviewer will ask you questions
regarding your interests, skills, and abilities
• Use specific examples
The interviewer will also evaluate your
• Maintain good eye contact, listen closely to the
question, don't move nervously (such as shifting in
your seat, playing with a ring on your finger,
tapping your foot)
Closing of interview:
You will be given an opportunity to ask questions
• DO NOT ask something that you should have known from
doing some basic research on the program
• DO NOT ask WIIFM (What's in it for me) questions until you
have an offer!
The interviewer might tell you what the next step in
the process is and when you can expect to hear from
• If not, ask "what is the next step in your selection process?"
Again a firm handshake to conclude the interview and
thank the interviewer for his/her time and request a
After the Interview
Reflect on the interview.
What did you do well?
What do you want to improve on in your next
After the Interview…
Follow Up With Graduate School
Write a thank you letter to the interviewer(s) which is
personalized recalling something the interviewer
shared with you that you appreciated.
If you have not heard from the graduate school within
the time frame mentioned during the interview,
recontact the interviewer by letter. Express your
continued interest and indicate that you are looking
forward to hearing from them again soon.
After the Interview…
Follow up Continued….
If you receive a rejection and you were very
interested in the program, a follow up letter
expressing disappointment is appropriate.
Also express your continued interest and
emphasize skills you could contribute if
openings become available in the future.
Some reasons why interviewees
Poor personal appearance.
Being late for the interview.
Lack of questions about the program.
Lack of confidence and poise.
Lack of tact, maturity.
Little sense of humor.
Lack of knowledge of field.
Low moral standards.
Intolerant. Has strong prejudices.
Inability to take criticism.
Rejection reasons continued
Lack of interest and enthusiasm.
Lack of solid career planning.
Goals and objectives are vague.
No insight into the nature of the graduate school.
Failure to maintain appropriate eye contact with the
Overbearing, overaggressive, "know-it-all“ attitude.
Inability to express oneself clearly. Poor volume, diction,
Complains or speaks poorly about past
employers/positions, or past faculty interactions.
Now onto Some Sample Questions
Tell me about yourself
What is your strongest personal asset?
What are your strengths and weaknesses
as a student?
What would one of your
friends/teachers/supervisors say about
Why did you major in _________?
Why did you choose to attend
When did you choose to enter this
occupational field and why?
How did you make the decision to apply to
What is the most significant contribution
you have made to your school?
What activities do you enjoy most outside
of the classroom?
Do you have any hobbies or outside
Tell me about any volunteer experiences
in which you have participated.
What challenges do you think you might
face in the graduate program?
What would you say is an area in which
you need improvement?
What would you change about yourself
What skills or abilities do you hope to
strengthen through our program?
What has motivated you to pursue this
What are your short-term and long-term
Why do you want a graduate degree in
How do you see this program fitting into
your career goals?
Tell me about a situation in which you
Tell me about a group in which you were
involved. How did you contribute to make
this group achieve a goal?
Tell me about a time you assumed a
Tell me how you handle stress.
Specific Field Questions
What do you believe to be the major
trends in your intended career field at this
What is the most important development in
this field over the past 25 years, and why?
Questions Applicants Might Ask
What characteristics distinguish this program
from others in the same academic field?
How long does it take typically to complete the
Where are recent alumni employed?
What do most graduates do after graduation?
What types of financial aid are offered?
What criteria are used for choosing recipients?
What opportunities are available through the
program to gain practical work experience?