Education Eye: Top tips on how to beat competition at interview

Catherine Stoker
Catherine Stoker
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We seem to have been supporting an array of interview candidates recently.

Young children seeking places at senior schools, sixth form candidates, those applying for university courses, or graduates seeking to secure their first job. Consequently, I thought a few interview tips might be timely.

First impressions count. Clean, smart appearance, positive but not bone crunching handshake, make eye contact and smile. Don’t forget hair and shoes. If seated think about posture and open body language.

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.

Give some thought to what skills and capabilities you are able to offer within the environment of each individual institution or company. Have some examples at the ready which demonstrate contributions you have made in these areas in the past, to back up your claims.

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. Be truthful. 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.

If you need time to think, ask the interviewer to repeat the question or perhaps ask a question of your own to 

This will buy a bit of time, putting the ball back into their court, giving you time to consider your answer.

Good Luck!