Just walk in and crack it!
You have just received an interview call for college admissions. After making it through with your resume, academic grades and covering letter, it is time to impress in person. An interview is a two-way conversation, where the interviewer wants to determine if the applicant is the right fit for the opportunity in question while the interviewee wants to decide if the prospect is right for his/ her overall development.
However, interviews are not conducted just face-to-face anymore. With a number of applicants from foreign countries, college admission panels prefer to conduct interviews over the phone and even online. Whatever may be the mode of interview, you should be prepared for a variety of interview styles. Some interviewers may ask questions from a list, while others may stick to the conversational style. Universities are looking at students who can meet the demands of the course, get along with other students and adjust well in a new, international culture. Traits that cannot be uncovered through entrance tests and academic grades are evaluated in an interview. Since there is intense competition, short listing and admitting the right student can be a demanding exercise.
Before the D-day, you could prepare in front of the mirror, a friend or a family member by talking about yourself, listing your skills, talents and experiences that apply to the opportunity in question. Look out for nervous gestures and use of slang. Here are a few tips that will help you come out with flying colors:
- Dress appropriately. Wear a formal, yet comfortable outfit. Formal shoes and neatly combed hair should complement your outfit. Don’t forget to wear a smile on your face.
- Listen to the question carefully before you answer. If in doubt, ask them to repeat themselves.
- Give honest and genuine answers.
- Your answers should be clear and specific. If required, elaborate with relevant examples.
- Ensure that you answer the question completely, covering all the aspects needed.
- Do not get excited or argue unnecessarily. Explain your point politely and confidently.
- In a face-to-face interview, maintain eye contact with the interviewer(s).
- Make sure you have an even tone of voice throughout the interview.
- Once the interview is over, thank the interviewer(s) for their time.
- You may ask when the final decision will be made, if it hasn’t been communicated to you on the spot.
Nowadays, since interviews are also conducted over the phone and via internet, you may keep the following tips in mind:
- Select a quiet place for the interview. If you are doing it online, sit against a neutral and neat background,
- so that the interviewers are not distracted by what’s behind you. Ensure that there is no activity behind you.
- Keep all the documents that you sent, at hand. You may also keep some notes handy, but do not shuffle papers or turn pages. It is extremely noisy and distracting.
- For a telephonic interview, try and give a landline number to the college. If you have to use a cell phone, make sure it is fully charged and you are not in a poor network zone. The number on which the phone call is expected should be kept free.
- If online, ensure that you have a formal and interview-appropriate username and picture. It is sensible to create a professional account that can be used for multiple interviews.
- Conduct a test-run with a friend to ensure your system and connections are working properly.
- Close other programs on your computer. For the duration of the interview, keep your cell phone away and if you have a landline connection in the room, unplug it.
- If you are using a laptop, ensure that it is charged or plugged into a power source so that the interview runs uninterrupted.
Once the interview is over, jot down notes — name of the interviewer, questions asked, questions you answered, etc. Always send a thank you letter or follow-up email expressing your gratitude for their time and reiterate your interest
in the opportunity. If there was a question that you missed answering during the interview, you can use this follow-up letter to convey your answer.
Source: This article was originally published in Mid-Day newspaper – PDF File: Tips to Ace an interview