Interview at the university
Read our tips about a successful interview and how to perform professionally!

Preparing for an interview at the university

At some point in life, everyone has gone or will have to go through an interview and face a mixture of emotions. The big questions are - how can you prepare yourself for a conversation with your future teacher/employer? Is it possible to achieve a smooth or even perfect interview?

Many people regard interviews as a torturing method while others even refuse to take part in one. The reasons are many; it is well known that humans can be afraid of certain types of social contact.

On a serious note, interviews are a simple conversation with a person or people who would like to know if you are the right person for a certain activity and if you are a good fit. Interviewers usually ask questions that require good and adequate answers in return. On the other hand, interviewed people are expected to have some form of preparation and assure a high-quality dialogue.

What to do before the interview?

Usually, you receive a call from an unknown person who invites you to an interview at a certain location and a set period of time. After the call ends, you realize that you have an enormous advantage, as you have the opportunity to prepare yourself and make up a plan.

For example, you have received your interviewer’s name and basic contact, why don’t you look for any useful information on the Internet? For a university interview, there is a lot of feedback from previous candidates and students who are giving tips and explanations on what to do before and during your “big day”. Information for job interviews is usually limited unless it is a big company.

After you get acquainted with your interviewer, it is time to familiarize yourself with the university/organization. You can always look for some history or important recent news. Try to find major facts which you might be expected to know.

Finally, you can take a look at the documents and letters you have sent in. Most interviews require a CV and a motivation letter, which are the only sources of information for your interviewer before your conversation. Therefore, it is a good idea to structure your CV well and even use it as a script. You might also face questions regarding voluntary work, job experience, additional certificates, etc. so make sure your data is genuine and you are ready to speak about it. Set up a good presentation of yourself by thinking you are the product. Think about your skills, knowledge, qualities, experience and wisdom.

Here are some tips and questions:

  1. Think about the dress code. Is your interview more formal than usual? Is a suit and tie better than a plain shirt?
  2. What sort of questions might the interviewer ask? Are you ready to speak about different topics?
  3. Do you believe that you are worthy to become part of the university or the organization you applied for? Are you ready for the upcoming challenges?
  4. What makes you the best candidate? Can you improve and be even better than the best?

What to do during the interview?

First of all, make sure you are on time. Even better, try to reach your location 20 minutes earlier, especially if you are in a big city.

Just before the interview you will probably be extremely nervous. Think about the interview as a simple dialogue with a person who you have just met and you are trying to impress. When you enter the room, aim to achieve the following steps:

  1. The first impression is extremely important. Act professionally and in a serious matter. Don’t be cocky, be humble and wise.
  2. Make a good impression not only to the interviewer, but to every one you encounter in the university or the organization.
  3. Don’t be afraid to make eye contact and use body expressions.
  4. Have a firm hand shake.
  5. Listen to the questions. If you missed something, ask politely for a repetition. 
  6. Speak clearly and don’t forget to smile. A friendly and happy face is always an advantage.

Bear in mind that interviews do not last long – from a minimum of 15 minutes to a maximum of an hour. You will probably feel more comfortable after the first few minutes, so make sure your mind is clear and finish the interview relaxed. If you are asked to perform a specific task or answer a theoretical question, concentrate, use your time and rely on your knowledge.

Some interviewers like to be asked questions. Try to prepare a list with something you would like to know. And really, if something is unclear don’t be afraid to ask about it – this shows you are interested and you require as much information as possible.

And last but not least, there is no such thing as a perfect interview. It is just a form of contact between people. With the correct preparation, you will have no problem proving yourself the right choice.

For more tips you can check out this page as well. We find it to be quite helpful.


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