As I’m sure you’re all aware, it’s interview season at the universities! I had my first interview of three for Broadcast Journalism last week in Glasgow Caledonian University and, believe me, it is a nerve-wracking experience.
I’ve put together some tips for anyone looking for help or advice in the run up to your interviews!
- Find out what form the interview will take: is it a group or individual interview? In many cases it’ll be a one on one interview, but in the case for my interview for Salford next week, it’ll be a group interview.
Some courses may look for you to complete an entrance exam, some of these you cannot study for! If it is for Journalism, look at events that happened over the past year. My current affairs exam asked me to name the typhoon that hit the Philippines in 2013 and who was the founder of Glastonbury Festival!
For more vocational courses like Veterinary or Medicine a good understanding and application of scientific knowledge is key.
Revise for weeks beforehand!
You want to impress them!
- Prepare!! – Never underestimate the importance of preperation. Although you don’t know the exact questions they will ask you, you can definitely prepare a few sample answers.
- Many interviews will ask you about information in your personal statement; prehaps what you did exactly during work experience. They may ask you about after-school activities or hobbies you enjoy. It’s important to fully explain every answer and show them that you are suitable for their course.
- Of course, the question they always ask, “Why do you want to do _____?”. Give a full explanation! This is your chance to show them that you’re fully committed to this course and talk a little about where you would like to end up. For Journalism, I mentioned my love of reading when I was younger and how that eventually led me to creating a hand-made newspaper for my neighbourhood. The University want you to show them that this isn’t just an alternative choice, it’s what you want to do for the rest of your life!
- If need be, plan a mock interview with a senior teacher. They want you to succeed just as much as you do!
- Ask questions at the end. I unfortunately forgot the questions I wanted to ask, but now have a few written down! It never hurts to enquire more about the course you’re applying for. It shows your interest and it’ll demonstrate that you’ve done your research about the course. How many holidays you get would not be the best way to impress them with your work ethic.
- On the day of the interview, remember to get plenty of sleep! I got four hours before mine and I felt exhausted by the time my interview came around, no matter how much caffeine I had! I had to wake up at half four to get my flight, go to bed early and don’t stay up all night beforehand worrying. It will never go as badly as you think it will!
- Dress appropriately for the interview. Something that isn’t too formal, but nothing too casual. One guy at mine came in a suit whereas someone else turned up in jeans and a hoodie. You want to show them that you’re mature and although it is superficial, Universities do judge you on how you look – it’s their first impression of you.
- Try to relax! Take some deep breaths! Just show them what you know, why you’re the perfect candidate for this course. If it doesn’t go well, don’t worry about it too much! Many interviews are used as a way of challenging candidates. Every interview is a new experience, if you do badly in one, ask yourself what went wrong and improve on it for your next one.
- Be yourself – interviewers want to know about you, not just what tips you’ve read off the internet! (How ironic!)
- And finally, don’t worry about whether you’re offered a place or not afterwards! Most universities will take a few months to respond. You have done the best you could do, use it as a learning experience. If you’re declined an offer, ask them why. Usually they do give a reason but you can ring up the course director and ask them further in detail. Use it to improve for future interviews!
Remember eye contact and smiling is important!