Interview Skills

Be Prepared

Applying for university can be a nerve wracking time and if you’re invited for an interview it can be even worse. The best way of performing well in this situation is to make sure you’ve prepared well in advance. There’s no way you can be over prepared for an interview, but it’s not worth the risk of being under prepared. Firstly, you should organise how you’re going to get there and how long it’ll take. There’s nothing worse then stressing on the day and not knowing where you’re going. Make sure you plan for any public transport or road delays and allow yourself plenty of time to get there.

The institution will send you out information regarding the interview, so make sure you read this thoroughly. There should be details of what form the interview will take, how many people will be present, whether you’ll be assessed and if there’s anything you need to bring. If you have any questions you can always contact the university beforehand.

When you’re in the interview you need to appear enthusiastic about the course and the institution, so make sure you’ve researched both extensively. Show the interviewer that you’re willing to immerse yourself in the subject and that you keep up to date with the latest developments.

The only information the interviewer will have about you is your application form. Make sure you read through this before attending and understand exactly what you put in your personal statement. Be ready to answer questions about why you’re interested in the specific course or institution and not just because of the great night-life.

If you know who is interviewing you, then do some research on their careers. Have a look to see if they’ve written any academic papers or what their key areas of interest are, as this might be a starting point for some questions to ask.

Practice makes perfect, so find someone to do a mock interview with beforehand. Whether it’s a friend, parent or teacher, they can run through likely questions and how you’ll respond.

Look the Part

There’s no rule that you need to wear a suit and tie to a university interview, but you need to be smart and presentable. Choose an appropriate outfit in advance, make sure it’s clean and ironed and polish your shoes.

The night before the interview you should take some time out to relax and not worry too much. Don’t go on a big night out, though. Maybe have a bath and try to get an early night – you don’t want to turn up yawning.

When you’re in the interview listen carefully to what the interviewer’s saying and appear interested. You don’t want to answer questions incorrectly just because you haven’t been paying attention. Be ready to ask any sensible questions and respond intelligently to them.

Above all, it’s important to be yourself in an interview. If you highlight your strong points and be enthusiastic, all that planning will pay off.