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Professional Etiquette for a Virtual Graduate School Interview

Self-presentation is a key to success. Learn about how to present yourself in a virtual graduate school interview to maximize your chances of getting accepted.

 Cameron Maddox: photographed in E-Center for Our People feature. Accounting graduate student and entrepreneur.

When you look good, you feel good! Interviews can be nerve-wracking, but you can find confidence in having the perfect attire and environment to help ace your graduate school interview.

What to Wear

Professional attire is the standard dress requirement. It can be described as a mixture of business casual and business professional but weighs more heavily on the business professional side of things. Business casual clothing includes items such as skirts, slacks, sweaters, blouses, and button-down shirts. Business professional clothing consists of neutral colors (i.e., black, navy blue, gray, or brown) and typically calls for a two-piece skirt-suit or pantsuit. All the clothing items mentioned above are permissible for your big day.

Dos and Don'ts

While a well-dressed candidate does not substitute for a met GPA, interview skills, and other important contributing factors, your interviewer(s) will look at what you wear as an indication of what kind of student you will be in the program. The first step in acing the interview is to select an outfit that is coordinated, conservative, and comfortable. It is fine to express yourself in your dress. It is best to let your qualifications speak more than your outfit, so avoid clashing patterns and/or colors. You can accessorize to complete your look but wearing distracting jewelry is not recommended. Everything should be clean, neat, and well put together. Furthermore, your hair should be properly groomed, and your clothes are to be wrinkle-free and stain-free.

Technology Tips

Technology and background are also important when going through the interview process. It can be unpredictable and sometimes difficult to navigate; be sure you are in an area with a strong, dependable internet connection. Also, secure a location that is quiet and free of distractions. Always check your camera background! Be sure to level your camera on a sturdy surface and center your face in front of a clean space, preferably a solid color wall or a plain, virtual background. Lastly, finish all snacks and gum chewing prior to appearing before your interviewer(s).

By following these guidelines, you are sure to have more confidence going into your virtual graduate school interview. Dressing formally and setting yourself up for success can encourage you to use abstract thought processing, which can be beneficial during the interview process. After all, part of the reason for continuing your education is to enhance yourself in your industry, now is the best time to show up as such!