Interviews. I’m sure whenever people hear or see that word their mind goes into overdrive. What do I wear? What questions will they ask me? What shall I do to prepare? And when a University place is riding on the outcome of an interview, the pressure is certainly on. Scared much? Don’t be. The Student Pocket Guide is here to arm you with all the skills you need to ace that all important interview. Paxman, bring it on!
Be prepared. Don’t turn up to the interview without a clue about the university and the course itself, it looks unprofessional. You should research a bit about your course; what modules you will be taking; which lecturers will teach you and the skills you need to do well in that course. This will prove to the interviewer that you are serious about getting a place at their university. It may also be useful to ask people who have done this before what sort of questions are asked. That way you can try and formulate your answers beforehand, instead of doing so on the spot. It will ease a lot of pressure.
Bring everything with you. If the letter or email states that you need to bring a portfolio, bring a portfolio! If you ignore clear instructions like this, you are making a poor impression before you have even begun answering questions. If it is not mentioned that you need to bring certain things with you, try giving the University a call. They will be more than happy to help you. If not, take any items that may aid your interview, such as references, examples of work and certificates, just in case.
Arrive on time. Nothing shouts unprofessional more so than being late. Getting there in time will allow you to relax and calm down before the interview begins. Being late will unfocus you and give yourself a bad first impression. If you have a habit of not being on time, bring a time conscious person with you to the interview. This will keep you motivated and time focused.
Dress well. I know looks aren’t everything, but dressing in an appropriate manner will give your interviewer a good impression. Leaving slogan tops behind may be a wise move. Interviewers want to know about your achievements and your education, not your view on the latest single from Justin Bieber. You know the saying, “Dress for Success”.
Appear Confident. Even if you are crumbling inside, aim to appear confident and positive. The interviewer will know that you are nervous, but try to show them that you can deal with the strain and can perform well under pressure. When asked a question speak up and don’t mumble. Eye contact is also key. When speaking look the interviewer in the eye, it shows that you are confident. Talk with conviction. If you believe what you are saying, so will the interviewer.
Have Positive Body Language. Throughout the interview you need to obtain good posture and open body language. Avoid slumping over your desk or crossing your arms. Don’t fiddle with your hair or fingers, as this shows that you are nervous. Try to sit up straight, keep arms to your side or behind your back. Also, don’t forget to smile!
Written by Sage Fitzpatrick