twiggers

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
Aug 5, 2004
353
0
Status
Hi guys,

You have all been great and supportive during all this PhD yucky stuff. Now...my first in person interview is coming up next week. Plane tickets, car rental, hotel are all booked. I have received a schedule of events, and my graduate student "buddy" has emailed me. Here's my questions:

1) I know what to wear to the interview, and will be buying a professional suit (pants b/c I hate skirts) this weekend. That will cover me for the Friday at the school. BUT....they have an informal dinner Thursday night, they said it will be food from Subway. So can I assume....casual? and how casual? jeans and a button up shirt with runners? or business casual?
In addition, there is a dinner Friday night at someone's house. Should I wear the same suit that I have worn all day at the interview? Dress down? and again how casual are these things?

I've been in school so long that I honestly have nothing dressy. Maybe I could dig up some business casual skirt/sleeveless turtleneck/long sweater worn overtop. Or hell I'll just go to Macy's or Old Navy for business casual. ACK!!!!!!

Makeup: I never ever wear it....so don't worry about it at the interview/dinners?

Hair: I have medium long hair that I always wear in a ponytail. More professional to be up or down? Regular elastic or use a fancy clip?

2) How many copies of CVs should I bring (I don't know how many profs I'm meeting with)? Should I bring them on regular paper, or some type of fancy thicker paper?

3) I already know all my questions to ask, so I hope I'll be OK there. My problem is that this interview is for a developmental question, and all the other ones have been for clinical. Do you imagine that the questions for the developmental program will be remarkably different? I imagine that there won't be any questions about models of teaching, etc.


Phew...sorry guys....I'm starting to stress. Thanks in advance for your answers and suggestions.
 

ClinApp

Member
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Feb 2, 2005
145
0
Status
Psychology Student
Hi, twiggers. Any event that is with the grad students only (which I assume the Thursday night dinner is) will be casual, as grad students generally live in jeans. You may want to wear a nice sweater or sharp jacket, but dressed down should be the rule. For the Friday night dinner, if there is no time to change, everyone will just wear their suits, but if you have time to go home, you will be expected to dress more casually - I probably would go business casual even if everyone else is in jeans. Any other events - campus tours, lunches with grad students - will be casual (jeans). You can also confirm dress code with your "buddy."

No one has yet asked for my CV but I carry several copies with me (on good stock paper) just in case - enough for each person I will interview with. I doubt you'll ever need it. Good luck!!
 
OP
T

twiggers

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
Aug 5, 2004
353
0
Status
Thanks! I appreciate it! I think the Thursday night thing is with both faculty and grad students, but I was told it was just an informal get together. I think I'll ask the "buddy". As for the Friday night dinner, it is approx. 1 hour after interviews finish, so I'm not sure if they'd expect you to run to hotel and change.
 

amimi

Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jan 30, 2005
32
0
Status
My in-person interviews are coming up (the first one on the 27th & 28th), so I am certainly in the same boat regarding all these nit-picky details. I went on a couple of in-person interviews last year, so my advice is based on my observations from that, as well as suggestions from other grad students. (all my interviews were/are clinical)

The suit during the interview is a must, at least based on the advice I've been given--and either black, grey, or navy. The majority of the other applicants at my interviews were also wearing suits. Once you get there, if the atmosphere is more laid back and no one else is wearing a suit, you can always take off the jacket so you're wearing a nice blouse and slacks (or skirt). All the casual dinners and stuff, I'm not too sure, because that can always vary. I would generally avoid jeans, I think. Khakis and a nice sweater/blouse? One of the schools I went to had a dinner the night before the interview, and I wore a button down shirt and a khaki skirt and that was pretty typical. (It was also almost immediately after I got off the plane, so I changed from jeans at the airport before I was picked up)

Makeup: if you don't normally wear any, I don't think it's necessary to do so now.
Hair: I used to be involved in pre-law/mock trial stuff, and the general rule was to wear your hair up--or at least out of your face--to make it less distracting to you and others. I think it would follow for interviews also, but it's obviously no hard and fast rule. As long as you look clean and put together, I think it's fine.

CVs: Nobody ever asked me for a copy, but always better safe than sorry. I'd say anywhere from 3-5. And if you can spring for the nice paper do it, otherwise I don't think the regular paper would be detracting in any way.

I don't have any experience in developmental at all, so sorry I'm no help there.

I did get some great advice from a grad student friend of mine:
* Wear nice--but comfortable!!--shoes. Most schools take you on a campus tour, so you'll be doing some walking, and you don't want to be the girl complaining about how your feet hurt the entire time! (I went on a tour with quite a few girls who did this. Very obnoxious.)

* Bring an umbrella (great advice in my personal experience!), bottled water, powerbars (or small snacks), and cash in case you end up eating somewhere during the middle of the interview day, since alot of places in/around campus don't always take credit.

* No alcohol. If you're pressed and don't want to look awkard, only take one and nurse it the entire night. I had a grad student tell me a pretty hilarious (for me, not him) story about how a bunch of the applicants at one interview were given way too much alcohol by students at the school they were interviewing at.

* You are always "on"--graduate students at the school have more pull on who gets in to a program than you might think. It's sort of exhausting after a plane ride and a bunch of stressful interviews to be happy and cheery and enthusiastic ALL the time, but unfortunatly a necessary evil. All of the graduate students I came into contact with were all very nice, so it wasn't necessarially a concerted effort.

All in all, the interviews I went on were pretty good--most of the time the graduate students will ask about who you're interviewing with beforehand and give you a little advice. You are definatly at an advantage having had phone interviews prior to this, so you're aware of the different things you are asked and how to best prepare.

Good luck (to both of us!)
 

tamateta

Junior Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jan 2, 2005
15
0
Status
hi all-

i've been to a few interviews, and i had 1-2 beers at both (as did a bunch of other applicants). so i wouldn't say that no alcohol is a must... remember that when you're on an interview, you are also interviewing them. you have to decide if you could see yourself hanging out with the students for the next 5 years. i don't normally drink a lot, but i have a beer/wine here and there and didn't want to pretend like i don't. i want to be around students that are laid-back and aren't going to have a heart-attack when i have a beer, or if they themselves have one. now, drinking yourself stupid or getting out of control is another story.

also, on a similar note- i wore jeans to the grad student parties (both were at restaurant/bars). almost everyone was casually, but nicely dressed (jeans and a sweater.. a few people wore sweatshirts, but they looked a little sloppy), but no one was more dressed up than that. i think that these parties are a chance to be a little bit more of yourself, as opposed to the suit-clones that you'll see on interview day. just be comfortable.

i also carried around a folder with CVs- and one prof asked for one.. so i was glad i had it. only about half the students at the interviews had them, but i am glad that i did.
 
OP
T

twiggers

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
Aug 5, 2004
353
0
Status
Thanks for the advice!!!!!!!!!
I don't ever drink so that won't be an issue for me (of course I never have a problem with being around people who drink).

So you don't think a ponytail will be too laid back (maybe if I put it in a nice clip)?

For the casual nights, do you think corduroy pants would be too laid back (just plain brown fitted ones) with a nice sweater?
 

ClinApp

Member
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Feb 2, 2005
145
0
Status
Psychology Student
I think a ponytail (especially low, in a nice clip or simple band) is more professional than down, and the outfit sounds fine for a casual event. I wouldn't worry about makeup, just do what is comfortable for you. Try to have fun, and good luck!
 

SaraL124

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jan 29, 2005
266
1
Status
I would wear your hair in a low ponytail with a nice clip or barette, or half-up. That always looks professional to me.
I wouldn't worry about make-up.

I know some other people here have said it's ok to wear jeans, but I just wouldn't. When I interviewed at Temple, the grad students were hanging around all day to chat with us, and none of them wore jeans. I have two interviews coming up that have "social gatherings" the evening prior, and I plan to wear nice black slacks and a grey turtleneck. It never hurts to be overdressed for a social gathering as long as you're comfortable. It sucks to be underdressed.

And definitely find some pumps with low heels. If you are wearing a pant-suit, you will have more shoe-flexibility because you can wear boots, and no one will see. Or you could wear flats and it will look much neater with pants than a skirt.

If you go the skirt route, ALWAYS wear panty-hose. It doesn't matter if they're black or nude sheer, but that is a definite professional must!

Good Luck!
 

winnie

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Aug 13, 2004
121
1
Status
I have another question for girls who have already been interviewed...I don't know what kind of bag I should take. A regular handbag or a briefcase? What's been the norm at your interviews?

BTW, Twiggers, thanks for bringing up this topic! I had many of the same questions.

Hang in there, everyone! :oops:
 

SaraL124

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jan 29, 2005
266
1
Status
Most women at my interviews had a regular handbag, and then carried a leather folder of some sort in which to keep resumes, a pad of paper, and any relevant info (directions, etc.).
 

jengle

Junior Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Feb 15, 2005
11
0
Status
This is a really good thread. I had a lot of the same questions, too! I have been invited to an accepted applicant's visit weekend at a Developmental program and am wondering about dress code there. We will be meeting with professors and having dinner with them one night, and then will be having dinner with grad students the next night.
Since I've already been accepted, I guess I don't have to worry too much about being formal, but I was wondering what you guys think about what other people will be wearing? I was planning on khaki or gray pants for the professor day and maybe jeans for the campus tour/grad student dinner. What do you guys think?
 
OP
T

twiggers

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
Aug 5, 2004
353
0
Status
I would imagine if you've been accepted that the suit isn't necessary...although I guess it could never hurt to make a good impression at any time. I also have the same thing happening at the end of next month, I was wondering about that too since they're offering me tickets to baseball and swimming matches on the same day as the interview....can't really expect someone to wear a suit to a baseball game lol

I think for the professors probably wearing nice slacks and a nice sweater would be appropriate, along with some nice professional looking shoes.

I just received an email from my "buddy" grad student at Notre Dame. I asked what I should wear to the dinner. She said the grad students will all be in jeans, but I should dress a little more formal. She said nice pants and a sweater would work, and to save the suit for Friday.
 

Sanman

O.G.
15+ Year Member
Sep 1, 2000
1,879
870
Dreaming of Margaritaville
www.-----.com
Status
Psychologist
Hey guys, Has anyone asked about the financial situatiion/funding of a program at the interview? If so, who do you think it is best to ask? I'm just wondering what the best way to inquire is at one of my programs without seeming like that is all that matters to me.
 

winnie

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Aug 13, 2004
121
1
Status
SaraL124 said:
Most women at my interviews had a regular handbag, and then carried a leather folder of some sort in which to keep resumes, a pad of paper, and any relevant info (directions, etc.).
Thanks, Sara. That helps.
 

EL CAPeeeTAN

"like Capitan"
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Dec 22, 2004
130
3
Status
Sanman said:
Hey guys, Has anyone asked about the financial situatiion/funding of a program at the interview? If so, who do you think it is best to ask? I'm just wondering what the best way to inquire is at one of my programs without seeming like that is all that matters to me.
In most interviews part of the day includes a meeting with the school's financial aid office. They will answer all of your questions. Also if you get the opportunity to meet current students in the program you can always aske them.
 

betterbiceps

Junior Member
10+ Year Member
Feb 16, 2005
5
0
Status
EL CAPeeeTAN said:
In most interviews part of the day includes a meeting with the school's financial aid office. They will answer all of your questions. Also if you get the opportunity to meet current students in the program you can always aske them.

Yes, I echo EL CaPeeeTAN. ON the day of the interview, time is allocated for financial aid to do some sort of presentation. After the presentation, you can even get the business card or contact info from that person. You can then communicate with them directly after interview day. I would advise against making fin aid questions during your interviews with faculty, as they may mistake that as your primary/only concern. On the other hand, if the faculty member brings it up during the interview that opens up the field to general inquiries.
 

laxyhead

Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jul 4, 2004
30
0
Status
Hi everyone,

I'm finally going to my first interview this Monday. Clinical ph.d at GWU. I was wondering, "What is one thing that you wish you knew before you went on your interviews?"

I am trying to prepare and all the previous posts have helped a lot! I'm coming from a background in business interviews (major in Finance) and I'm not sure what academic interviews in clinical psychology are like. Thanks for any responses!
 
OP
T

twiggers

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
Aug 5, 2004
353
0
Status
HI all,

Just got back from Notre Dame so I thought I'd maybe share some stuff with you that might help those who still have to go for interviews:

At the pre-interview dinner get together: I saw interviewees in jeans, I thought it looked bad. Also saw some girls with really tight tops on, thought it looked kinda bad too. I wore heels, pin striped casual comfy pants, a light green silk sweater, and a comfy khaki blazer over top. I opened up the blazer to make it more comfy and I thought it was nice.

Also grad students were laughing/joking about the student from a hot climate who only brought a rain jacket with them to the Midwest. Look prepared it can only help you!

For the official interview: I was the only female wearing a nice suit. Others had mismatched pants/blazers. Some were wearing funky platform shoes. Some had hair down in their face. I don't know....I agree with others when I say it looked unprofessional to me. One guy wore a suit, and I thought he looked great. He stood out, he looked professional, etc.

Being a tourist on the tour was totally OK.....many of us brought cameras to take pictures of the famous Notre Dame campus, and the grad students were totally OK with it.

I asked mundane questions of the grad students, like about football tickets, housing, insurance costs, what areas to live in, whether the city had Old Navy, talked about restaurants, etc. I really just wanted to get to know about them as people, and I think they didn't mind at all. It was questions that were probably on everyone else's mind, and they were quasi-important things for me. Plus I was tired of asking the same ole questions about research, and they were probably tired of talking about the research.

I was also the only student during our group interviews who asked about decision timelines....don't know if it hurt me but hey I wanna know...I've got decisions to make :)

I think being yourself is really the key.....if you're outgoing be outgoing there. Let your personality shine through :)
 

Sanman

O.G.
15+ Year Member
Sep 1, 2000
1,879
870
Dreaming of Margaritaville
www.-----.com
Status
Psychologist
Well,
Since twiggers shared her interview experiences, I might as well toss some advice out after my first interview. Well, everyone at my interview has a black or blue suit on, so you certainly want to be well dressed in case everyone else is as well. Better to be slightly overdressed than underdressed. I defintely asked a lot of the informal questions to the grad students. I also asked them a lot of the questions that I wasn't sure if it was a great idea to bring up. It worked out since one of the grad students even suggested I not ask a certain question due to a negative response from the faculty the year before when someone asked the question at her interview. I also have to say I got some very straight answers about questions that may have been controversial from faculty, but they seemed to like the fact that I was aware of these issues.
 
OP
T

twiggers

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
Aug 5, 2004
353
0
Status
Sounds great Sanman. Just out of curiousity...what was the question they said not to ask? (I'm hoping I didn't ask it at my interview lol)