Hi everyone, my name is Kristen and I’m currently in my second year in the Clinical PsyD Program here at MSPP. This past weekend I had the privilege to be a part of one of the interview teams for Friday’s Interview Day here at MSPP. I was amazed by the multitude of skilled candidates that attended regardless of the snowstorm that hit much of New England. Based on what I observed, and yes, been through myself, I’ve put together a few pointers for those interviewing at MSPP, field placement/internship sites, or elsewhere.
1. Get a good night sleep! I’m sure you’ve heard this before and it may sound redundant, but there’s a reason that it’s been ingrained in our heads. Staying up and worrying all night about an interview will be in no way helpful. Instead, try and have a relaxing evening the night before. Easier said than done? Probably right, but you can do a few things to lessen your anxiety and hopefully get a good night’s rest. Put on your favorite movie, TV-show, or curl up with your favorite book before going to bed. Avoid caffeine in the evening and try not to eat anything, especially with a lot of sugar, before you jump under the covers. Anything that you need to do in order to get a good night sleep, do!
2. Give yourself plenty of time to get ready in the morning. Make sure you have time to eat a good breakfast, though if you’re interviewing at MSPP, there’s always a smorgasbord of food provided! Always, look presentable. I can’t stress this enough. Here’s the rule of thumb: if the interviewers are dressed better than you then there’s a problem. When you’re unsure of what to wear a suit never fails. After all, it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed.
3. Now for the important part- how to act during an interview. Be yourself! Another thing that I’m sure you’ve been told over and over, but again there’s a reason you’ve been told so many times. The thing is that you were invited for an interview because your GPA, essays, and other materials were impressive. Interviewers want to see if your personality is as stellar as those materials. It’s OK to have some anxiety- we all do, but don’t let it dominate the interview. After all, the people who are interviewing you are compassionate people (most likely) that have been in your shoes at least once in their life. If you think of it in this way, it’s much less overwhelming!
4. We are here for you to interview us as much as we are interviewing you. The interview is a great chance to get to know the program or organization to which you are applying. Bring questions to ask that you were unable to find answers to easily on the internet or other source. Don’t ask obvious things that could easily be answered by looking at the website. For instance, at an MSPP interview, it would not be wise to ask, “How long does it take to complete this program?” This is something that you easily have answered yourself if you just took the time to look. Having questions prepared shows the interviewer you are interested and that you’ve done some research, but not all of your questions were addressed.
5. And finally, when it’s over…. RELAX! If you’ve followed these few tips then you’ve done everything you can. I know, as Tom Petty says, “the waiting is the hardest part.” The days, weeks, or months that it takes to receive your decision can be brutal! Do things to take your mind off of it. After all, worrying about the verdict is not going to make it come any faster. Instead, distract yourself with other things: friends, family, an occasional night out, etc… Stay positive, but don’t dwell. You’ll know soon enough.
So, that’s my two cents on interviewing. If you have specific questions, please feel free to e-mail me directly. Until then, good luck with interviews!