You’ve gotten a call from your organisation of choice and have an interview lined up. As the date approaches, you wonder what you need to do to make the best possible impression when you walk through that door.
We hope you have done your research and rehearsed your self-introduction. Those are the “big ticket” items that will make or break your interview. However, that doesn’t mean you can neglect the small stuff, which will help improve your self-image and give others a good impression of you.
Whatever else, make sure you:
1. Tidy yourself up
Dress for this interview as you
would for a job interview – neat and professional. Make sure your hair is tidy,
your shirt is ironed, and your nails are clipped. Follow a personal
grooming checklist, or just ask your mum to give you a once-over before you
head out. You may wish to prepare a “scholarship outfit” that you can reach for
easily, so that you don’t have to worry with multiple interviews.
You can also speak to the person who
informed you of the interview about the dress code, and emulate it.
That said, even if the company/organisation
is a more relaxed one (such as the DesignSingapore
Council), you should still opt for business wear in terms of clothing
options, and a put-together self-presentation never goes amiss. This is a way
of showing respect towards yourself and the interviewer, and validating the
importance of the interview.
2. Give a good handshake
We all know first impressions are
formed in a matter of seconds, or even faster than that.
Sponsoring organisations have
hundreds, even thousands, of candidates to interview. That means you won’t have
any time to correct a bad first impression, and they won’t bother to reach out
to clarify anything with you either.
A good smile, a confident step,
polished manners… these small things will be noted by your interviewer the
moment you walk in the door. So leave a lasting impression and a good one by
making sure you have these covered!
If you do make a small error of
manners, though, make sure you apologize sincerely and then move on. There’s no
need to linger on your mistakes, and it was a small one.
3. Have your materials on hand
It’s always good to be prepared. The person who reviewed your application may not be the person interviewing you, or you may be interviewed via a panel.
Hence, keep a copy of your documents on hand in hard copy, and bring them out when needed during the interview. These include your grades, CCA records, testimonials and even your resume, if you want. You can’t be over-prepared for an interview like this, and it’s good to have all your bases covered.
If it’s a video interview, do the
same on a digital level. Have a list of links to a resume or portfolio ready to
copy and paste if required. You may wish to prepare a browser window with all
the necessary loaded up beforehand, so that your interviewer can switch to the
relevant screen anytime.
4. Get yourself psyched!
“Be confident and be sincere during
the interview. Some people show their nervousness and if that happens, just
calm yourself down and maintain your confidence.” That was the advice of Chia
Jieru, ST Engineering Overseas Scholar, as featured in our magazine.
To gain confidence, thoroughly
research and prepare before the interview. That way, you’ll be sure that you
won’t mess up due to a lack of diligence, and that ethic will show through in
After that, you can practice
encouragement and self-affirmations
before the interview itself. You can model these on the affirmations used
before a job interview to inspire confidence and calm. Also, think of projects
you succeeded in and difficulties you overcame, and revel in the gung-ho
feeling you gain. (Don’t go overboard into boasting, though!)
A confident, sincere applicant is a good candidate for the scholarship, most sponsoring organisations agree.