Interview Advice for Students

Whether you’re preparing for a university interview or a job interview, there are a few things you should always keep in mind. This can be the most nerve-wrecking aspect of either application process, but follow our advice and you’ll approach the interview in a calm manner, and ensure you make the right impression.

Background preparation

Firstly, do some research. You need to know the history of the company or university, how it functions, its aims and ethos. Think about the relevant skills and experience that you have for, and for university interviews the related subjects you are studying and other interests that are relevant. Ensure you arrive punctually by checking the location and time of your interview, and consider the time it will take to get there. Always try to get a good night’s sleep the night before, don’t risk being tired for the big day!

Questions you may be asked:
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • What are you looking to get out of the course/job?
  • Explain how you went about acquiring new skills
  • Why have you applied to this organisation/institution, over our competitors?
  • Give an example of when you used leadership, initiative or good judgement in a situation

The interview

It sounds obvious, but be sure to dress smartly on the day. It’s imperative that you’re on time, so get there early, and take a phone number for the interviewer so you can let them know if you’ll be late. In the interview formal body language is essential; don’t slouch, yawn or fold your arms, and always sit up straight, make eye contact and stay alert to the situation. Try to stay calm, but remember that everybody gets nervous and that it’s completely natural. Don’t worry if you don’t understand a question or statement; you can always ask for something to be repeated or rephrased.

Five must-dos:
  1. Research the company/university
  2. Know the job/course description
  3. Make eye contact with the interviewer and maintain formal body language
  4. Use examples to display your skills
  5. Most important of all, be yourself

After the interview

Always have questions in mind to ask at the end, take this chance to gain an insight into the company or the university in question. To help you with this part we’ve listed a few suggestions for job interviews below:
  • What could I expect on an average working day?
  • What kind of training or development would I be exposed to, if any?
  • What do you like most about the company?
  • Can you give some examples of how the company upholds its ethos?

Some suggestions for university interviews are:
  • How would I be assessed? Through written examinations, presentations etc?
  • How would I be taught? Through seminars, lectures, group work etc?
  • Are there any plans for new facilities for the … department?
  • What are some of the current research projects in the … department?

Avoid asking questions about pay and holiday, especially in a first-round interview. Save these for the latter stages of the interview process. For universities, again avoid questions about graduate salaries, and anything that can be found just by glancing at the website/prospectus. Of course at the end of every interview remember your manners - a handshake and a thank you to the interviewers for their time. Good luck from everyone at Scape Living!

Where next?