6 Interview Tips for University (and jobs)

diary interview tips

I think interviews are the one thing everyone gets at least a little bit panicked about. Whether it’s for your dream job, a part-times job, or a degree course, it’s that fear of the unknown that springs up out of the blue.

At the start of the year I had my most nerve-wrecking interview to date. I’ve done a few for part-time jobs before, but this was for my dream masters course at UCL. I had my heart so set on going that staying at my current uni instead just made me feel unsatisfied. Which is the worst feeling, especially when your future is completely thrown into the unknown.

I mean, I was simply relying on these people I’d never met liking me enough and seeing enough potential that they would offer me a place. Having such little control over it all is terrifying! 

But I got an email at the end of the day that settled all my worries and fears because I’D GOT A PLACE! Even typing that out just now (over two months later) my heart still does funny things. So I feel that maybe, just maybe, I might be alright at this interview malarky. So here’s a few tips I try to stick to.

1. Be yourself.

I’m quite a shy person, which I think is something that a lot of people (if they’re shy themselves) see as a negative. I do myself a lot of the time. But it’s pointless to go into an interview trying to be this confident, loud person if you’re going to turn up on your first day the complete opposite. You’re essentially selling yourself in an interview, so if you feel like you’re going to talk either too much or too little, it doesn’t matter. Say what you think you need to say, because it’s you they need to see. Not some glorified persona you think they want.

2. Know your CV.

Very similar to the first one. You’ve been asked to the interview because they like what they’ve seen so far. They don’t expect to be wowed by any extra tales, they want to have read it all already. The interview is to prove you’re the person who wrote the CV. That’s the way I see it anyway. If they can see you know all you’ve done inside out, can demonstrate what those experiences have given you, what more can they ask for. They don’t want surprises, they just want to make sure you’re the you you’ve shown them, because they like that you (that’s a lot of ‘you’s).

3. Dress comfortably.

Smart casual is always the best way to go. Unless you’re being interviewed for a top super business place, then I ain’t the one to help with that! Us girls are lucky on the clothes front, because most of our clothes can fit into this category anyway. A nice dress or skirt/trouser and blouse combo that can easily change from day-to-night is your best bet. You don’t want to be too dressy so that you don’t feel like yourself, because that will give you unnecessary nerves. And no one wants nerves they didn’t have to have.

4. Do your research.

If it’s a course, research the programme. What makes the institution stand out, why that programme, pick out particular features they are unique. If it’s for a job, why that company, why that job role. You just need to show the interviewers that you really want it. That it’s perfect for you because of this, this and this. They need the impression that no where else would satisfy you, because then they know you’ll give 110% in the job.

5. Practice.

Practice, practice, practice. Think about what kinda questions they might ask. Why do you want to do this, what makes you good for it, what recent news do you know about the industry. What related experience do you have, what do you want out of the job/course, where do you see your career going. If you know the basics like these, there isn’t going to be too much they can trick you with. Unless you’re going for a top-end grad scheme or course, then you’re in no-man’s land with the bizarre questioning.

6. Ask questions.

At the end of the interview, always ask at least one questions. Think of a few you can ask beforehand. In my UCL interview I asked what class sizes were like, how the work placement was organised, about the assessments. The little things that aren’t explained on the programme website (you don’t want to seem like you didn’t even read that). You want to ask things that will effect how you feel about the course. At the end of the day, if you get offered a place it’s still your decision whether you really want to go or not. Use that to your advantage.

So there’s my tips! I really hope they help. Let me know what your tips and tricks are! I know I can never have enough help.



4 thoughts on “6 Interview Tips for University (and jobs)

  1. Well done getting into UCL 😀 I graduated from my MSc from UCL last year and it’s a great environment so hopefully you’ll love it too! Interviews are nerve-wracking, I cannot even begin to count how many I’ve been to and turned down – mainly to do with over-competition and not purely of my lack of skills. I think this is something to be put into perspective too, especially with competition getting tough putting a candidate down/feeling hopeless… being yourself and knowing your CV is definitely key, like you said, and I think, as horrible as it sounds, you just gotta enjoy the entire process and put yourself out there 🙂

    Cherie / http://www.sinonym.uk


    • Thank you!!! It’s so nice to hear of someone enjoying it there, makes me more excited 😀

      Competition is such a pain nowadays, just gotta remember it’s all good experience if you don’t get it



  2. Well done!
    As an interviewer for medical students, I’d say your advice about just being yourself is a great tip. I can see past nerves and would rather someone come across a little shy or nervous, but clearly brilliant for the place, than someone put on a huge act of bravado and stop me seeing who they really are! Being prepared and knowing the course is also essential – I’ve interviewed people who’ve clearly not researched the course and I find that off-putting.
    Jennifer x
    Ginevrella | Lifestyle Blog


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