Interview and Job Talk Tips

Helpful Hints

You have an invitation for an interview and you have to get prepared — where do you start and what do you do? The advice from many is to prepare, prepare, prepare. In general, do your homework. Find out as much as possible about the institution, the department and the professors. Use the Web, your own faculty and fellow students as resources.

An interview is not simply a chance for you to respond to questions you are asked. It is your best opportunity to convey the information you believe will have the greatest impact on your candidacy. So, the key is not the questions you are asked, but the answers you give. The following is advice from Career Berkeley Online Career Center.

What to Do in an Interview


  • Present an air of confidence during your interview and understand what is expected of you.

  • Do your homework and find out as much as possible about the institution, department and the faculty. Know the institution's Web information.

  • Tailor your job talk to the attendees and make arrangement for any A/V support in advance.

  • Keep your job talk general and short. Don't talk about all of the details, but show that you are aware of them.

  • Address questions about your job and don't be afraid to admit you don't have an answer.

  • Show interest in your interviewer's work. Read at least one paper written by each person in your area.

  • Show respect to committee and department staff. Be flexible and polite.

  • Dress appropriately.

What Not to Do in an Interview


  • Don't forget the goal of the interview is to see if there is a match between you and the department.

  • Don't forget you are always being interviewed, even at meals, parties, in casual conversations and graduate student meetings.

  • Don't forget to check your time and not go over the time allocated for your job talk.

  • Don't forget to ask people about their work.

  • Don't forget to send any materials you promised to individuals as soon as possible.