If you’re reading this I assume that you have got an interview coming up in the new few weeks. Congratulations!
Now, the next stage is possibly the one you are most nervous about, but, with a little preparation and some interview skills advice, it might even turn into an enjoyable experience (honestly!).
So, as we are all scientists here, I’ve decided to break down the different tips and tricks you might want to apply to your interviews.
Step 1: The night before.
Try to get a good night sleep, make sure you’re well fed and hydrated. It may sound obvious but you will not perform at your best if your body and mind is not well rested. You wouldn’t run a race on little sleep and poor food (with the exception of Usain Bolt and his chicken nuggets).
Step 2: Before you leave the house.
Dress in what you are comfortable in (but smart is better than casual), and get to your college with plenty of time to spare. This day will be stressful enough, don’t add to it yourself by rushing.
Step 3: Entering the room.
Again, this sounds like an obvious step, but I’m nothing if not thorough. Take a deep breath, walk in, smile, and say good morning/good afternoon to your interviewers. First impressions won’t guarantee you an offer but it may help the flow of the interview.
Step 4: Approaching questions (Personal Statement)
If you get a question on your personal statement you should feel that Christmas has come early. This is your personal statement, you’ve written it, and you’ve (well you should’ve) done everything on there. Be enthusiastic when answering these questions, and even think about asking them for their opinion or insights. This will show that you have a genuine interest in the subject.
Step 5: Approaching questions (short Maths or Physics)
These shorter questions will be at a level similar to the Maths and Physics A-level. However, there will be a twist. The difficultly in these questions are the concepts brought up, and they are not meant to be testing your maths ability.
To prepare for this you must make sure your maths knowledge is solid. You should be able to integrate and differentiate up to C4 at least, and also be able to apply conservation of energy equations, Newton 2, and the constant acceleration equations.
To deal with the difficulties in these questions, start with where you are comfortable. If it’s a limit to infinite, start at lower number and try to spot a pattern. Whatever you do, explain why you are doing it to the interviewers. They are testing how you think as much as anything else, so show them.
Make sure your written work is neat. They will be looking over at your work to spot any errors you make, and it will be easier for you to fix it if you can follow your own work. If it isn’t neat then you may get the wrong answer and the interviewer may not know if you’ve just made a small error, or a large one.
Step 6: Approaching questions (long Maths and design questions)
One of your interviews may be entirely based on one question. This may be a new topic that the interviews introduce to you, or it may be a long design question. Always remember that although it may be a new topic, you will still be able to apply your basic physics and maths principles.
Explain why you are doing what you’re doing, and don’t be afraid to ask questions if you feel like you haven’t got enough information to tackle the question. With design questions, think about real life applications (if you are asked to design a bridge, think about what a bridge looks like).
Step 7: Finishing the interview
Thank the interviewers for their time and then try to put it to the back of your mind. You can’t change anything that has happened and all you can do it wait.
Well that’s it from me. I wish you luck with your interviews!