Interviewing Graduate Students

ME: "I conducted 3 interviews today." FRIEND: "Oh yea, who did you interview." ME: "Graduate students for our assistantship for the fall" FRIEND: "Wait, you interviewing graduate students? You are a college drop out." ME: "Any your point?" The fact that my recommendation will determine who gets the assistantship does come with a touch of irony. But I was doing this when I was a college student as well. So this is nothing new. This year my boss did not have time to help me with the interviews, so it was me in a solo effort. Since those who I interviewed might be reading this, I will not divulge my opinions on the contestants, er.. applicants. All I will say now is that I know without a doubt who I will recommend for the job. Conducting an interview is really hard work. And although I have been doing it for years now, interviewing both undergraduate and graduate students, I do not think I am that great at it. I usually rely on my boss to ask the hard questions. I have not struck out yet on my recommendations, so I have that going for me. If anything, I am now able to get a good sense of talent in an interview. While that is not the only part of determining a future employee, it has become the easiest thing for me to gauge. Another thing that I have learned to gauge is communication skills, and the fact that those skills trump talent in a tie breaker. Sometimes communications skills can even outweigh talent alone. You learn a lot more about the interview when you are the one asking the questions, and not answering them.

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