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Experiential and collaborative learning, camaraderie, and networking are integral to the Archer experience. Interviews help the selection committee understand the depths of your passion for policy as well as how and what you might contribute to class and workplace discussions. They also provide insights into your personality, professional, and interpersonal communication skills and how well you would represent the university.

Here are some guiding principles to help you present your best self.

Be authentic.

Don’t try to tell the interviewer what you think he or she wants to hear.

Be honest. Never misrepresent or falsify your background, experience, or proficiency in a given skill. If you don’t know the answer or are lacking a particular qualification, be honest about it, then emphasize your related skills, knowledge, and willingness to learn.

Don’t be afraid to let your personality show. The Archer Center values diversity—in background, beliefs, life experiences, academic and policy interests, and in terms of personality and personal strengths.

Tell your story about what inspired your passion for a particular area of policy. Help the committee connect your experiences, background, and/or aspirations to your policy interests.

Be aware of your nonverbal communication.

The way you answer the question is just as important (if not more so) as what you say. Aim for a balance of composure and enthusiasm. Your vocal tone, rate, and expressions should convey both professionalism and passion.

Avoid rambling. Keep your answers succinct and on point. If you find yourself rambling, wrap up the current point and ask if the interviewer would like you to elaborate or provide additional examples or details.

Use proper grammar, formal forms of address, and a professional tone. In other words, no slang, acronyms, or text talk (JK, IDK, BRB, etc.); “yes” not “yep”.

Avoid verbal fillers (um, like, ya know, kinda, I mean, basically, etc.).

Project confidence with good posture. Sit with your back straight and shoulders relaxed. A slight forward lean shows interest and warmth.

Maintain consistent eye contact. If you tend to look away when thinking about what to say, try taking a few seconds to gather your thoughts before responding. When you’re ready, shift your gaze back to the panel.

Hand gestures can emphasize key points and convey your enthusiasm, but in excess they can also distract from your message. Be mindful of nervous gestures and fidgeting which diminish the overall impression of your poise and professionalism.

Be positive.

Never speak negatively about yourself, your employer, previous employers, coworkers, or peers.

Be self-confident. Highlight your accomplishments, strengths, and positive traits.

Don’t apologize for your lack of experience or draw attention to weakness in your application. If the interviewer has concerns, he or she will ask.