Interview Best Practices
DAVS members should…
Always be considerate of a student’s comfort and safety
Invite meetings in a mutually agreed-upon public space such as a coffee shop, public library, business lobby/conference room or other common space. If you meet in an office during business hours, leave the door open or ajar. Consider the distance of a meeting location for both the student and for yourself. Respect the commitments and culture of the student. Use appropriate language.
Create a positive and respectful atmosphere
In all interactions with students and their family members, be polite and professional and establish a conversational tone. Set biases aside. Every student and family member with whom we connect should feel they’ve been treated fairly. Avoid value judgements and never belittle a student’s choices or activities. Encourage a natural, two-way conversation.
Represent Dickinson well
It is important to represent Dickinson as it exists today, not as it was yesterday. Stay current with Dickinson information by visiting the Dickinson web site for news, About Dickinson and Quick Facts. Refer often to the DAVS Reference page for instructions and updates. Share your own experience but acknowledge the broad range of experiences of Dickinsonians.
Offer a virtual meeting if an in-person meeting isn’t possible
We offer in-person meetings wherever possible but, where distance or schedule don’t make this possible, you may invite the student to a meeting via Skype or another videoconferencing program or over the phone. We have no expectation that you would incur any costs for doing so. If the only option is an international call, please contact DAVS in advance so that we can seek another option.
DAVS members should not…
Suggest a probability of admission
The interview is an opportunity to gather a sense for a student’s talents and aspirations and offer those impressions to the admissions committee to complement the materials in the candidate’s application. While the interview is important, with so much information informing the admission decision beyond the interview, it is not possible to predict admission from that conversation. Students with questions about the likelihood of admission should contact the regional counselor.
Conduct interviews in a private space
Interviews should never be scheduled in non-public spaces, such as homes. The interview should be conducted in a neutral space where alcohol is not served, such as a coffee shop, business lobby or library.
Record the interview
Interviews should never be recorded. If you would like, please feel free to take notes during the interview.
Communicate with the student outside of the context of the interview
Communication with the student should focus on the interview and any follow-up questions. The DAVS program will coordinate other initiatives for outreach to prospective students and their families. Do not initiate social-media connections with students and decline these invitations from students.
Interview students with a personal connection
DAVS members should decline any interview invitation from a student they know personally or where a significant social or professional relationship exists with the student or the family. Similarly, avoid interviewing students from high schools where a strong personal or professional relationship exists, such as having a junior or senior attending the same school, being employed by or serving on the board of that school, etc.
Avoid comparing colleges and universities, especially making disparaging remarks about another school. Focus on what makes Dickinson special. Do not ask the student where else they have applied, although you may share this information in your notes if the student volunteers it.
Participate in DAVS while their own children/siblings are applying to college
Whether or not the student’s search includes Dickinson, we ask that you take a leave of absence to avoid a conflict of interest during the year that your child or sibling is applying to college. We will gladly support you as you guide your student through the process and look forward to you returning to active membership after the college search is completed.
This information is offered with thanks to our colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania whose training materials we have drawn on here.