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Psi Chi’s Guide to the Application Process Interviewing What are they looking for? Self Confidence Motivation Initiative Enthusiasm Interpersonal Skills Organizational Skills Assertiveness Intelligence 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. Preparation Self-Assessment Reflect on your skills and abilities Practice interviewing Research the Graduate School Learn about the graduate program, their philosophy, faculty and reputation of the program Prepare a few questions to ask the interviewer once reviewing information to learn more about the program Interview Day Verify basics: 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 Introduction 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. 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 nonverbal communication • 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) Interview 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 them again • 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 business card. After the Interview Self Analysis Reflect on the interview. What did you do well? What do you want to improve on in your next interview? 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 are rejected 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. Lazy. Intolerant. Has strong prejudices. Narrow interests. 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 interviewer. Overbearing, overaggressive, "know-it-all“ attitude. Inability to express oneself clearly. Poor volume, diction, or grammar. Complains or speaks poorly about past employers/positions, or past faculty interactions. Now onto Some Sample Questions Personal Skills/Strengths 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 you? Academic Experiences Why did you major in _________? Why did you choose to attend ___________ College/University? When did you choose to enter this occupational field and why? How did you make the decision to apply to our program? Extracurricular Activities 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 interests? Tell me about any volunteer experiences in which you have participated. Weaknesses 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 and why? What skills or abilities do you hope to strengthen through our program? Goals What has motivated you to pursue this academic field? What are your short-term and long-term goals? Why do you want a graduate degree in ___________? How do you see this program fitting into your career goals? Leadership Tell me about a situation in which you showed initiative. 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 leadership role. 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 time? What is the most important development in this field over the past 25 years, and why? Questions Applicants Might Ask an Interviewer What characteristics distinguish this program from others in the same academic field? How long does it take typically to complete the program? 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? Questions?
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