The most important this to remember is to relax, take a deep breath, and be yourself. Yes, that’s cliche, but it’s true! You should feel no pressure to act out of character. This is not a test. The interview is really supposed to be an easy, free-flowing conversation meant for the interviewer to learn about you, your story, and your interests in the school. The talk is meant for you to strut your stuff and demonstrate how special you are! While you don’t want to sound arrogant, don’t be afraid to discuss your accomplishments and your passions.
- Arrive a little early. Showing up a few minutes early would not hurt, but don’t get there too early! Aim to get to the location 5-10 minutes before the appointed time.
- When meeting your interviewer, politely introduce yourself. Be warm, friendly and confident, even if you’re not feeling that way.
- Make an effort to make eye contact with your interviewer, especially when speaking.
- Be an active listener.
- Speak slowly. Many people get nervous and talk too quickly.
- Avoid using filler words (like, um, uh, er, y’know).
- Don’t spend too much time on any one subject. Most interviews last between 30 and 60 minutes, but some can be even shorter. Make sure things move along and you don’t run out of time to discuss something.
- Ask your interviewer questions. If there is time and/or if your interviewer offers, asking good questions can show that you truly have a vested interest in the school.
- Leave a good final impression. Thank the interviewer and shake the person’s hand while making eye contact. When you get home, send a note or email to your interviewer (see below for further instructions).
- Tell me about yourself.
- What are your strengths?
- What are your weaknesses?
- Why do you want this job?
- Where would you like to be in your career five years from now?
- What attracted you to this company/school?
- Why should we hire/accept you?
- When were you most satisfied in your job?
- What can you do for us that other candidates can’t?
- What do you know about this company/school?
- Do you have any questions for me?
- Select an outfit that is simple, classic and suits the sensibility of the institution you are interviewing.
- All clothing should be clean and pressed. Appearance matters.
- Pay attention to proper hygiene and good grooming.
As an act of courtesy, it is nice to send each interviewer a thank you note, usually within 24 hours of the interview. It should be a handwritten note or well-written email. You should thank the interviewer for meeting with you, refer to something that happened during the conversation, and express how excited you are about attending the school.
A Thank You Note Example:
Dear Ms. Smith,
Thank you for interviewing me on Tuesday afternoon. I really enjoyed speaking to you about your experiences at the University of Chicago and particularly liked your story of meeting Milton Friedman, I still can’t believe you got to chat with him. I also appreciated your book recommendation. I’ve already ordered Catch-22 and look forward to reading it over the next few weeks.
Our conversation confirmed why I’m so excited about attending the University of Chicago. I will let you know of my admissions result as soon as I am notified.