Many scholarship and fellowship competitions require you to interview. Some of these interviews may be in phone and some may be in person. Increasingly, skype and other methods of video conferencing are being used for interviews, and these methods can involve their own challenges. The most important thing to remember about the interview is that it is a tool that you can use to your benefit. Try thinking of it as a way to deliver information about yourself and your personality that might not have been able to show a selection committee via your written material.
Other things to consider:
- Always, always practice. One practice interview is better than none, and of course, many are better than one. If you are an A&T student, I am always available to do a practice interview with you.
- If you are an A&T student, another great resource is career services.
- If you know that you will be interviewing via skype, do a test run ahead of time with a friend. Make sure that you are sitting in a space that is clean, well, lit, and where you can easily be heard. Also, if you are at home, lock up the pets. You don’t want a cat photobomb in the middle of your interview.
- If you are interviewing via phone, do a practice interview over the phone. It’s important that you practice getting your points across without depending on visual cues (gestures, facial expressions, etc) that your audience won’t be able to see
- If you are interviewing in person, give yourself plenty of time to get there. I cannot stress this enough.
- Wear professional attire – no matter what the job is. Again, I can’t stress this enough. For a more in depth guide, look at this.
- Be confident. Look your interviewers in the eye. Speak up – make sure they can hear and understand you, especially on a phone interview!
- Listen to the questions carefully and answer the question that they are asking. Be thorough but don’t ramble.
- It’s ok to admit if you don’t know the answer to a question.
- It’s also ok to allow a moment or two of thought before you answer a question.
- To prepare for your interview, re-read your resume and any other material that you might have sent the interviewer. Use this to anticipate what questions the committee might ask you. Anything that you have sent them is fair game.
- If you indicated on your application that you speak another language, be prepared to answer questions in this language.
- If your application involved a proposal for how you will spend grant money, be prepared to discuss the details and the methodology of your project.
- For the major fellowships, be prepared to talk about current events, especially in the country that you are applying to go to.
- Following up interviews with a thank you is generally a good idea. Always do this for job interviews. This is often a good time to follow up on a question that you may have stumbled on or not answered to the best of your ability.