10 tips to do well on a job-university interview


The one and only James Deam - Magnum

  • Prepare your meeting beforehand. Who are you going to speak to, why you’re meeting up for in the first place, what company-university do you want to have access to… Answering these questions, and collecting data about the people you’ll be talking to and place you want to enter will take you places. Visualize how the meeting will go, write down some of the questions you think they’ll obviously ask you, and other less obvious questions and find the best answer you can give to each one of them. Describing yourself in few minutes, the reason why you’re at the meeting, your goals and hobbies… these are the most commonly asked questions, and you SHOULD have a great answer to provide the jury, or else you will give the impression of being careless and uninterested.
  • Dress to impress. It is true that appearance counts, so prepare your outfit few days before and remember that the first thing the jury will see is your clothes, so dress lightly, and keep things simple. Pick an outfit you feel comfortable in but that is respectful and sober. Classics are the best when it comes to meetings.
  • First impressions count the most. Smile to the jury, make small chat with the person who walks you in, make a comment about the place or situation when you have the chance to break the tension that rules in the room during the meeting… But as pointed at before: keep things simple and just go with the flow, don’t try to astonish the jury too hard or make unnecessary comments or jokes (don’t you even start with the jokes, what you think is funny at the time of the interview will usually turn out extremely boring).

  • Be polite. The sentence is self-explanatory but just for those smart asses who don’t get the picture: don’t sit until you’re invited, put your bag or files on your lap or in the table next to you (never on the desk of the jury), don’t invade their space, don’t start speaking unless you’re invited, when asked a question answer it simply without trying to turn the tête-à-tête around and wait for the right time to ask your questions…
  • Make eye contact. Try to look at each one of the members in the eyes for few seconds, nothing creepy you don’t want to stare, just regular ‘i’m talking to you, i see you’ looks. Ignoring them or looking at your feet (or at the ceiling or hands) will make you look rude and insecure; and that’s exactly what you DON’T want them to think of you.
  • Have a strong hand shake. When you shake the jury’s hands, be consistent and show your enthusiasm by having a firm hand shake, but of course not too firm. If you want to insist on how genuine or interested you are In the meeting, keep the person’s hand one slight second longer in yours with your other hand on the top, this will give the person you just shaked hands with a reason to notice and remember you. Look up some politicians and see their tactiques, they look enthusiastic, confident and self-assured.
  • Don’t forget your posture and body language. Keep your back straight and your chin up (not too high), and while speaking make sure to elaborate with some hand movement to show consistency and conviction in what you’re saying, but don’t over do it or invade space.
  • Speak slowly but clearly. What’s worse than speaking really fast is speaking so quietly no one hears you, and in both cases they’ll end up thinking you’re someone with no confidence and who can’t communicate his thoughts well. And let’s be honest: no one likes a person who chokes on his words or chews them up and appears to be scared of his own sentences. So if you’re really bad at monologues, dialogues and oral communication in general, make sure to practise the meeting beforehand with someone you trust so you can get to the level where you need to be. Look for opportunities to give speeches and speak up so you can defeat you fear of public speaking, or tumbling on your words or the false belief that you’ll make a fool out of yourself. Great debaters and conversationalists weren’t born that eloquent, they practised over and over again, some of them even had the phobia of speaking in front of a large public, but thanks to their strong will and determination, they achieved their goal and gained confidence that shines throughout every conversation they now have, and every meeting or interview they attend.
  • If you’re really afraid of doing horrible because of the stress, tell the jury about it. By showing your vulnerability, you also show your humanity and make the jury realize you’re not an ass trying way too hard to look relaxed, but a human being who gets stressed here and there, but still manages to do well in the end. They’ll notice the effort you put in and picture you as an honest, but determined, person.
  • Ask relevent questions when you’re invited to. Nothing too complicated, keep things frugal by asking one or two good relevent questions. This way you’ll send the message of being a curious and enthusiastic person. If the jury already provided you with all the information regarding the company-university-job… you can skip this part, only ask constructive questions, both to you and the jury: they don’t want their time wasted, and neither do you!

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