University of Wisconsin–Madison

Successful Interviews

Many research advisors will ask you to interview with either them, their group or both before formally inviting you to join their lab.  For a successful interview, keep the following in mind:

  • Arrive on time
  • Be prepared to present the best side of yourself–you do not need to necessarily dress-up, but make sure you look like you really want the position (i.e. Do not wear pajama pants to the interview!)
  • Show your enthusiasm for the research opportunity
  • Review the website for the research group,  including taking time to read a couple of their recently published papers.  They won’t expect you to understand everything on their website/papers, but it is important that you have at least a basic level of understanding of what their research group does.
  • Be prepared to answer typical interview questions such as why you want to do research with their group, what you hope to gain from conducting undergraduate research, how many hours you plan to commit to research per week, how many semesters you plan to stay in the lab, what you plan to do after you graduate and what made you interested in their group.
  • Have a couple questions in mind that you would like to ask regarding the research of the group.
  • Consider asking about the expectations of undergraduate researchers in the group (time commitment, number of research credits you need to enroll in, type of work, level of independence, etc.) and who your direct mentor will be (professor, post-doc, graduate student, etc.).
  • It is also advisable to bring a copy of your unofficial transcripts and your resume, if you haven’t already submitted one.
  • For additional interviewing tips, please also check-out Successworks’ suggestions
Student pipetting a solution
Student Researcher working in a fume hood