1. Do your research
The first thing you should do in preparation for an interview is research and by this, we don’t just mean a quick google search or glance over an institution’s website! In fact, taking a more in-depth approach to your research is a great way to stand out.
This could include following an institution on social media, attending a personal tour or an open day. To help with this, think about the 5 W’s (who, what, why, when, where).
We also suggest that you research the area of study that you’re applying for. For example, if you’re looking to study business, ensure that you have some commercial knowledge and an understanding of the industry. You can develop this by staying updated with news. If you’re looking to study one of our creative courses, maybe lookout for some new innovations in the industry and make note of some of your favourite productions.
If you are prepared with your own perspective, you can really differentiate yourself.
2. Prepare for common questions
While many potential questions can come up in an interview, it helps to be prepared for the most common ones. It’s almost certain that these may come up:
· Tell me about yourself
· Why do you want to study at this institution?
· What do you see yourself doing in 5 years?
· What are your main strengths and areas you would like to develop?
· How do you manage your time and workload to achieve your goals?
Common questions like these allow you to prepare so that you won’t be at a loss for words. However, try not to memorise or recite your answers as this can appear very rehearsed, which isn’t necessarily appreciated by everyone!
3. Use the STAR technique
The STAR technique is a great way to answer competency-based questions. Universities often use these to determine whether a student has the desired skills required for the course. Examples include:
· Describe a situation where you had to solve a problem
· What’s your biggest achievement?
· Give us an example of teamwork and how you contributed
· Give me an example of a situation where you had to use communication skills
The STAR technique has four steps that layout how you should answer questions like the above:
· Situation: Describe the situation, set the scene and give some context
· Task: explain the task, your role/responsibilities and the desired goal
· Action: share details on how you handled the situation or solved the problem
· Result: conclude with the outcome, how this positively affected the situation and what lessons you learned
4. Know your personal statement
This may go without saying but make sure know your personal statement and are prepared to talk about it when asked. Believe it or not, sometimes nerves can cause you to forget things! That’s why we advise that you read your personal statement thoroughly and have past experience examples ready to make links. You should focus on showcasing the skills you have that are relevant to the course you’re applying for.
5. Present yourself well
Usually, the interview is not just about what you say but how you present yourself. First impressions count, and if you want to increase your chances of making it through, you should try to perfect the small things! Here are some examples:
· Be punctual – arriving late will add to your stress and give a negative first impression
· Dress appropriately – you can never go wrong with smart attire
· Display positive body language – sit with good posture and maintain eye contact to show confidence
· Ensure that your tech is working, and you’ve chosen a quiet environment to take the call (if you’re online)
· Remember to smile!