Preparing for a college interview

Got to share a few interview tips to students earlier today. Sharing a few pointers from the same!

Students are going through college counseling sessions and some of them are preparing for interviews! Some tips to prepare for the interviews!

Interview Tips for students

  1. Get used to setting up your appointments in your personal calendar (Google or Outlook calendar would be a good start).
  2. Communication channel
    • Ensure you understand the mode in which you would communicate with your interviewer
    • Share your email / phone numbers and request permission to use them in case of an emergency
  3. Setup interview
    • Phone call – Include the number and timing in the meeting invite and decide who would call the other person
    • Video call – Finalize the platform – Zoom, webex, Google meet, Microsoft teams, choose the platform that works for both parties and discuss who would send the meeting invite link to whom
    • Follow through and ensure you are able to access the technology and are setup with the login/password and meeting codes for the session
    • Setup a meeting reminder a day in advance, and for 30 minutes or 1 hour in advance to remind and prepare yourself
  4. Technology setup
    • Ensure all platforms are working fine
    • Check your phone volume – should not be too low
    • Ensure your audio and video controls on your computer are working fine and the other party is able to see and hear you clearly
    • Do not activate your backgrounds feature in your video calls. While it distracts the interviewer, it does not project you in the right way!
    • If you foresee network / wifi issues, let your interviewer know upfront and plan for an alternate day/mode to complete the interview.
  5. Dress for success
    • Groom yourself to look presentable during the session
    • Dressing for success increases your self-confidence
    • While you need not wear a suit for all sessions, it would help if you wear ironed clothes (and not wrinkled ones)
    • Your face and facial expressions need to be seen during the session
  6. Calm Environment
    • Ensure you sit in a calm place (loud TV or music in the background might not reflect well)
    • Do not sit on a cluttered bed full of dirty clothes for any college interview. NO
    • It is important NOT to lie down on the bed and take an interview
    • Ensure your siblings are not making weird faces behind you during the interview. Try your best to take the call alone. Due to unforeseen reasons, if you end up with your sibling during the interview, let the interviewer know about your situation upfront. It helps set expectations.
  7. Smile
    • While it shows the warmth, it increases your self-confidence as well
  8. Preparation
    • Spend at least 30 minutes preparing for the interview. It makes a difference
    • Ask yourself what would the college want to know about you, your personality, interests and ambitions and jot down a few talking points for yourself
    • Get comfortable telling your story
  9. Respect
    • Your interviewers would be taking time off their busy schedules to spend some time to know you and write about you. Be cordial and respectful during your interactions with them.
    • If they/ you need to re-schedule the meeting for any reason, be upfront about it and communicate over an email / message / agreed upon format before the start of the session (the earlier the better). Respecting each other’s time puts you in good light!
  10. Thank the interviewer at the end
    • If you have any questions, request if you can ask them at the end of the interview
    • Make sure you thank the interviewer at the end of the session for their time and effort

While you may/not meet your interviewer again in your life, you would have learned how to make a good first impression by the end of the session!

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