When helping grad students prepare for nonacademic interviews, you can and should use the Hiring Success Stories on Versatile PhD as examples of successful interviews. Hiring Success Stories are complete dossiers of winning application documents that got real PhDs real nonacademic jobs.

Each one consists of all the key documents (resume, cover letter, etc.), and importantly, a first-person narrative explaining exactly how the hire took place. That narrative often contains a description of the interview: what questions were asked, what was the experience like, and so forth. Read through a bunch of narratives so you can pick the ones that go into the most detail about the interview, and that best illustrate the points you want to get across about interviewing.

(If you’re signed in but are blocked from accessing a Hiring Success Story, it means you need to pass through your institution’s authentication portal to reinstate your access upgrade, which will then last for a year. Find your institution’s portal on this list and authenticate yourself as directed. The same applies to students and anyone else in your institution’s service pool.)

Notice in particular that there is no standard formula for nonacademic interviewing, because nonacademic interviews vary wildly, and there may be conventions and expectations specific to the field they are interested in. For example, consulting interviews often involve “cases” where the applicant is told about a situation and asked what he or she would do or recommend.

When discussing interviews, use one or two of the interviews described in the hiring success stories as cases for discussion. Or, draw pointers from the narratives yourself, share them with students and give a list of recommended hiring success stories to read later on. If you have the luxury of giving homework assignments, have them summarize in writing what they learned about interviews from the reading, perhaps couching it as advice to themselves. If a student has a specific career in mind, have them read the Hiring Success Stories associated with that career, in case there is field-specific information to be gleaned. Remember, these are real people succeeding in real interviews. Truth is stranger, and infinitely more compelling, than fiction.

Bottom line: VPhD Hiring Success Stories provide real-world examples of successful interviews that give students a realistic preview of what to expect!