One mistake in your interview won’t dramatically damage your chances of being offered a place on your chosen course. However, there are certain things that you should try to avoid – things that might damage the rapport you’ve built up or distract your interviewer from all the intelligent things that you are saying. This resource highlights three simple ways in which you can go into your interview and present yourself at your best.
Remember that your interview is a dry-run for your future tutorials and your tutor will be looking for someone who will value their teaching and be eager to learn. They do not want someone more interested in making chit-chat than talking about the subject that they love. Try to read the situation to understand what is required. Likewise, try to get into the habit of saying ‘yes’ not ‘yeah’ – it’s a more formal way of interacting, which is always better in these situations.
Another question that comes up regularly on our Interview Preparation Days is whether applicants should do research into their interviewer’s special areas of interest and expertise, and potentially even raise these points in their interview. It is worthwhile knowing your interviewers’ areas of specialism, in case they do touch on them in your interview, as these are topics they will be particularly passionate about. Make sure you understand the basic tenets, key vocabulary and any recent developments in this field so that you can recognise a question close to your interviewer’s heart when it arrives. For the most part, however, it is best to stay with the areas that you have read into in the most depth and can talk about with confidence. It is your subject-specific interests that your tutors will want to discover, not their own (they already know these)!
You know how, like, irritating your parents and teachers find it when you, like, say ‘like’ like every other word? Well your interviewers, believers in the power of the English language for communicating complex ideas, will find it even more so. The same goes, to a lesser extent, with saying ‘um’ and ‘er’. Naturally, you need some thinking time, but try to do this with your brain, not your vocal chords. You really can improve your articulation and cut out these language ticks with practice. Try to be really aware of what you are saying and make an effort to avoid uttering these words. You’ll be surprised by how dramatically your speech will change over just a few days.
Our expert Oxbridge-graduate tutors, who deliver mock interviews at our Interview Preparation Days, are excellent at picking up on your interview tone and giving you feedback on how you come across at interview. Likewise, our expert communications consultants, one of whom runs a workshop on each of our Interview Preparation Days, can help you to converse confidently about your subject at interview. For feedback and advice on your interview style, book a place on an Interview Preparation Day.