Find out how to tackle your interview weaknesses and build your confidence.
Identifying where you are least confident
Interviews are a chance for the university to work out whether you’re a good fit for the course, and for you to work out if the course and university are right for you.
Your knowledge and ability be important, but to make the most of them, you’ll need the interview skills to put them across.
Think about each of these statements. Do they describe you? Which ones do you feel most confident about, and which ones do you feel least confident about?
- I can make a good first impression.
- I know how to prepare by researching the course and university.
- I have the skills and knowledge I need for the courses I want to apply for.
- I can talk about my subject and interests confidently.
- I can handle extra interview challenges, like written tests or group discussions.
- I can deal with an unexpected question effectively.
- I know what to ask to find out if the course is right for me.
Working out exactly which skills you are worried about is a good way to start improving your interview technique.
Tackling your weaknesses
Now think about ways to improve or work around the skills you are less confident in. Not only will this improve your interview technique, it will help you to feel more confident and prepared overall.
There are two main ways of approaching this:
Improving your skills
You might be able to build up a skill directly, by practicing or by doing more reading and research. For example, if you’re not confident in group discussions, you could try practicing with friends.
Talking to your subject teacher can be helpful: they might be able to suggest things you can read or research, or set up a mock interview so you can practice.
For other problems, you might need to find a technique that will help you out during the interview. For example, if you get very nervous and it makes it difficult to make a good impression, you may need to learn some techniques for dealing with nerves as they happen.
Unfortunately, it’s difficult to know exactly what will work for you until you are in the situation. This can be especially difficult with university interviews, since most people only go to one or two, so you don’t get much chance to practice. Try to:
- Think about other situation where you have had a similar problem. How did you deal with it? What else might have helped?
- Talk to other people who have been in similar situations. What works for them? Do you think it would work for you?
- Arrange a practice interview with a teacher or a friend. This won’t be exactly the same as the real thing, but it will give you the chance to put your techniques to the test.
- The ultimate guide to university interviews
- How do I apply to university?
- How do I write my personal statement?