7 Ways to Prepare for Interviews

Are you nervous about your Honors Program interview? Here are 7 ways to conquer your nerves!

I am one of very few people who can say that they actually enjoy being interviewed. In an effort to make the Honors Program interview process less of a nerve-wracking experience, here are the seven things I think about before every interview.

1. Put on your Happy Face!
Even before “hello,” your interviewer will subconsciously read your facial expression. Walking in with a smile (and this goes for almost every part of daily life, not just interview situations) automatically lifts the mood and affirms your interest in talking to the people who will be questioning you. Positivity is contagious, use it to your benefit!

2. Prepare for the Inevitable Stuff…
Being prepared does not only mean being ready to talk, it means knowing what you will be asked and having strong answers ready for those questions. In this case, the seminar observers will ask for your opinion on the class subject, why you chose it, and what readings you might suggest to incorporate into the course. Be prepared to answer those specific questions, and don’t ever be afraid to express your opinions!

3. Besides that, BE PREPARED for Anything!
Interviewers will ask you things you know the answers to and things that will make you think. They want to see how well you can communicate with no forewarning. The discussion section of the seminar experience tests this, as does the panel interview. Go ahead and look up some common and uncommon interview questions online. Think about your answers to those questions, and have an idea of the way you want to present yourself despite the actual question.

4. Don’t be Afraid to Say: "I don't know"
Early in my seminar session, I came across a term I didn’t understand. Rather than fighting my way through an hour-long discussion that made little sense, I told my group that I couldn’t quite grasp the meaning of the word, and they defined it for me in non-dictionary terms. With my new (though limited) comprehension of ‘nihilism,’ I was able to participate fully in the conversation. It is okay to not know everything. It is SO okay to not know everything. You are coming into an environment based on education. Don’t be worried if you have to ask a question or get a quick definition- integrating what you learn into your discussions is what college is about.

5. Keep Interviewers on Their Toes
Any questions you can prepare to ask will be a benefit to you. Not only are you getting answers, your interviewers get the feeling that you are invested in the program enough to pose knowledgeable questions about it. Asking a question that makes your interviewers think for a moment is a great success. Even if you are flat out of questions to ask, do try to think of something every time someone gives you the opportunity during the day. You are being evaluated by everyone you meet, and the ability to ask questions of them and to seem interested is important (but don’t let this scare you- being talkative and inquisitive adds to your appeal, but having only a few questions doesn’t really subtract).

6. Be Completely Yourself
Your interviewers want to get a better picture of you than simply your test scores and GPA. They want to know how you think, what you think of yourself, and where you see yourself going in the years you will spend in college and afterward. These things can only be communicated through your honesty. Put a positive spin on everything, but don’t ever present yourself as someone you’re not- if you are accepted as that person but you don’t turn out to be what you seemed, no one will be happy.

7. Interviews Really Can Be Fun!
That is completely up to you! Many people say that they hate talking about themselves, but your interview is a chance to tell people about what you have done and who you are. When I asked a fellow Honors Scholar what she thought the importance of the interview process was, she mentioned that the experience was a chance “to have a conversation about ideas [the interviewee is] passionate about.” Talk about your passions! Your panel wants to hear that you have been engaged in something you are interested in beyond regular school. These interviews can be intimidating and stressful, but heading in with a positive attitude and an outward excitement to express yourself can make the whole experience more enjoyable for you and your interviewers!

Nerves are normal and help you to perform better, but don’t worry too much before or afterward. You’ll do better than you think! Practice with your parents, take deep breaths or dance it out, and right before you go into each interview room, remind yourself to just be the best possible you!

BY: Jessica Myer '18

Photo description: Casey, Bailey, and Emily jump for joy in front of Weaver Hall.