Preparing for a postgrad position interview

Preparing for a postgrad position interview  

Below are suggestions for preparing for an interview for a postgrad position. Be sure to prioritize questions that are important to you. Keep in mind that an interview is as much an opportunity for you to learn about the role/your potential mentor as it is for them to learn about you. The interview is an opportunity to understand if you feel the role is a good fit

and that your expectations for the role match those of your potential mentor. 

  • Be sure to share why you want the position and why you feel you’d be a good fit 
  • Be sure to share your relevant content knowledge and skills for the role 
  • Be sure to review the job description carefully and note any questions you have based on the description (for instance, working hours/expectations, professional development opportunities, etc.) 
    • Some job descriptions may not have full information – it can help to look at the potential faculty mentor’s personal/lab webpage to find more information and to create a list of what’s missing from the job description that you wish to know about. 

Some broader questions around mentorship, educational and professional development, and expectations you might ask include: 

  • How does this role fit into this unit/lab/department? 
  • Who else works in this unit/lab/department? 
  • What are your day-to-day expectations for this role? 
  • What are your broader expectations for this role (i.e., by the end of the postgraduate position, what do you hope I would have accomplished/learned/developed)?  
  • What is important to you in terms of mentoring? 
  • What do you find helpful in setting up a productive mentor-mentee relationship? 
  • How do you evaluate performance and give feedback to mentees? How often do you meet with mentees? 
  • What do you think will be most challenging for the person who takes on this role? 
  • How do you manage conflict in your unit/lab/department? 
  • What kinds of professional development opportunities are available as part of this role (such as conference presentations, conference attendance, publication, grant writing, etc.)? 
  • How do you support postgrads in their professional development and achieving their educational goals? How do you incorporate these into the postgrad training plan? 
  • What kinds of resources are there for professional development? 
  • What kinds of roles or graduate/medical programs do postgrads in your unit/lab/department move on to?