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Interview Dos and Don'ts (and Daisy)

Interview Dos and Don'ts (and Daisy) main image

Preparing for university or job interviews? Here are some interview dos and don'ts that might be useful.

1. Interview outfits: Wear something smart, but comfortable.

This is pretty obvious, but worth repeating. When choosing interview outfits, I’d say it’s best to stick with things you’ve worn before. It’s tempting to go and buy a new interview outfit, but you don’t want to get there and then realize those shoes are really painful/shirt is more see-through than you expected/you’re allergic to wool.

2. Prepare for university or job interviews, but not too much.

There are some things you can almost count on being asked, such as “Why this job/university?”, “What do you hope to get out of the experience?”, “Where do you see yourself in 10 years”? Anything you’ve mentioned on your application is also ‘fair game’ as a topic of discussion.

So it’s worth spending a bit of time thinking about those things, and doing a bit of research so you can actually talk about specific elements of the course, for example. But don’t over-think to the point where you’re stressing yourself out, and don’t be afraid to take a moment to stop and think in university or job interviews. Thoughtfulness is good.

3. Smile!

Even if you don’t feel like it. You’ll immediately appear more confident, relaxed and enthusiastic (all of which are good, in moderate levels) and you’ll feel better too [insert scientific study on the proven health-and-well-being benefits of smiling].

4. Don’t do anything weird.

By this, I mean anything too eccentric/ ‘out there’. Obviously you want to stand out, but not for the wrong reasons. One of my university tutors nearly split her sides with laughter when telling the story of an applicant who ended the interview by reading out a poem he’d written. Don’t. Do. It.

5. Don’t worry too much!

Easier said than done, I know, but try to remember that while university or job interviews are a good opportunity to shine, they’re still only one part of the overall assessment. If you don’t get an offer, it’s probably not because you chose the wrong shade of green or failed to deliver the perfect handshake. It may just be that someone else had more experience than you or turned in an ab-so-lute-ly faultless application essay.

After all, even Daisy didn’t get rejected just because she impersonated the Spice Girls...

Written by Laura Bridgestock
The former editor of TopUniversities.com, Laura oversaw the site's editorial content and student forums. She also edited the QS Top Grad School Guide and contributed to market research reports, including 'How Do Students Use Rankings?'