Interview Techniques

At some stage in our lives we all have to face an interview and the more prepared we are, the better.   Whatever the age, whichever school, university or job your child is applying for, the key components of interview preparation remain the same. These tips may seem mind-blowingly obvious, but it is amazing how easily the basics can be forgotten when under pressure.

The first thing for your child to remember is that they are being interviewed, which means that they have already jumped through one considerable hoop (well done!); the next step is for them to show why the application got them this far.

Keystone Tutors, a leading expert in tutoring with offices in London, Singapore and Hong Kong have put together the following guidelines for interview practise to make it easier for you to help guide your child through what could potentially be incredibly stressful times.

Key points for interview:

  • Preparation: The interviewer wants to see that you are genuinely interested in what they are offering. Doing your research is fundamental, furthermore, showing you have gleaned as much as possible from the information available to you will make you feel at ease, and will give you the confidence to really commit to your responses.
  • Body Language: Eye contact will show your focus and engagement. Try not to fidget. Speak clearly and project energy.
  • Concise responses: Consider ‘Point – Evidence – Explanation’ as a structure for answering each question, as this will ensure that you provide enough well-structured detail.
  • Manners: Present yourself in a way that shows that you are serious. Double check where you are going, how to get there, and who you are meeting, well in advance. Punctuality will show the interviewer that you are reliable. Dress smartly and greet everyone with a smile and a firm handshake.
  • Stay calm: If you can’t quite grasp what a question means, don’t be afraid to ask the interviewer to repeat it. There is no need to rush your answers, if you give yourself time to consider the question then your answer is likely to be better.
  • You’re only human: If you don’t know the answer to a question don’t worry about admitting it. An interviewer is likely to see straight through any attempts to pretend and shouldn’t mark you down for honesty.
  • Question Time: The interviewer may turn the table and ask if you have any questions. Why not ask something that you haven’t been able to find the answer to through other means (i.e. don’t ask something glaringly obvious just for the sake of it). A well-considered question will show that you have taken some time to consider yourself in the environment on offer.

Sometimes you need to be prepared to be challenged, as these recent examples show:

  • A Winchester College scholarship candidate was asked “Is space exploration a waste of money?”
  • Oxford University recently listed some of its latest interview questions, one of our favourites being “What can historians not find out about the past?”
  • Job interview questions like this one, from a Magic Circle firm trainee lawyer interview, can put you on the spot: “What is your ultimate ambition?”

Keystone has expertise in the entrance requirements of leading UK independent schools and universities and can provide face to face mock interviews in Hong Kong, London and Singapore (or skype interviews for those outside of these regions) . For more information click here or to arrange an a mock interview get in touch


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