Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Some top tips for interviewing successfully for schools, universities and graduate jobs

It's an important time of year - young people all across the UK are preparing for interviews at senior schools, sixth forms, universities and graduate jobs. Below are a few of our top interview tips, whatever level you're studying at.

First impressions are important. That means your appearance, your greeting and your body language. Dress appropriately - if the interview is for a school place, dress smartly (students and accompanying parents) or in school uniform if needs be. If it is for university, be sure to show some individual flair, but keep it somewhat formal. For graduate jobs, dress formally - office wear or smart fashionable clothing depending on where you are interviewing. Keep good posture, a strong and positive handshake (but not bone crunching), make eye contact and remember to smile. 

Research the institution or company you wish to join. Appearing well-informed about what it offers and why that appeals to you will give a positive impression, but reading ahead will also help you to understand why it does appeal to you. What is it you like about that school, university or company? Give some thought to what skills and capabilities you are able to offer within the environment of each individual institution. What would you personally bring to the table that would impress? Have some examples at the ready which demonstrate contributions you have made in these areas in the past to back up your claims and be confident about your skills and achievements.

Who will be interviewing you? If you are notified in advance who will be conducting the interview, research their role and what their specific areas of interest might be. It is easier to engage with a person if you have identified some common ground. But remember to be truthful at all times too. You could get into a sticky area if you make a claim that you can’t back-up during discussion via in-depth knowledge or examples.

Back up every answer with a why, how or because. Just answering the question without stating why you have that opinion or giving examples of how you have previously used a skill or attribute within a relevant situation, is only half an answer. Having a full argument or explanation shows your knowledge, experience, but also that you have come well prepared for the day.

If you need time to think, ask the interviewer to repeat the question or perhaps ask a question of your own to clarify. This will buy a bit of time, putting the ball back into their court, giving you time to consider your answer. Always be prepared with a few questions to ask at the end in any case, as this is your best opportunity to find out more about the institution or company, and demonstrate your eagerness to be part of it. Good Luck!

If you are looking for help with senior school interviews or interviews for scholarships or bursaries, why not look at our digital guide on Interview Preparation? Available on our online store via the link below.

Our online store has guides on all areas of UK Education including financial aid, interview preparation and questions to ask on a school visit.


We offer a wide range of services and expert advice on your child's education. If you would like interview advice for sixth form, university or jobs, to book in a practice interview session with one of our experts or help with any other education questions you may have, email or contact Claire on 01865 522066 for an informal discussion on how we can help.
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