Academic Interviews: The Three P’s

Prepare. Do your homework.Gather information on each institution that invites you to interview. Visit their website. Ask professors and peers what they know about the college, department, and the faculty. Pay attention to the names and specializations of faculty members, learn about the degree requirements, courses offered, student demographics, etc. Before your interview, ask for the names of the people who’ll be doing the interviewing, so you can find out about their work in advance.

Practice. Arrange a mock interview with members of your dissertation committee or faculty mentor(s). Use this opportunity to practice your job talk and to practice responses to difficult or unexpected questions. Another tip:Have someone videotape your presentation, watch it, and get feedback.

Present. Be personable and keep a professional persona at all times, including meals and receptions, which also are part of the interview process. Get a good night’s rest before the interview and enjoy the opportunity.And remember, you’re interviewing the campus representatives just as they’re interviewing you. The goal is to find colleagues, a department, and a campus that is a good fit for you.