choosing a college

"How To Ace Group Scholarship Interviews"

If your heart beats faster or your palms grow moister when you think about interviews, you are not alone. An interview is usually the final step in the scholarship application process, and if you make it this far, then you’re a serious contender.

How do you stay calm and make a great impression when you are interviewed by a council of judges? Here’s some advice:

Think of the group as individuals. Instead of thinking it’s you versus the team, think of each of the interviewers as an individual. Try to connect with each separately.

Try to get everyone’s name if you can. Have a piece of paper to jot down everyone’s name and role so that you can refer to them in the conversation and be able to target your answers to appeal to each of the constituents. For example, if you are interviewing with a panel of employees from a company and you know that Sue works in accounting while Joe works in human resources, you can speak about your analytical skills to appeal to Sue and your people skills to appeal to Joe.

Make eye contact. Look into the eyes of each of the panelists. Don’t stare, but show them that you are confident. Be careful not to focus on only one or two panelists.

Respect the hierarchy. You may find that there is a leader in the group like the scholarship chair or the CEO of the company. Pay a little more attention to stroke the ego of the head. A little ego stroking never hurt anyone.

Try to include everybody. In any group situation, there are usually one or two more vocal members who take the lead. Don’t focus all of your attention only on the loud ones. Spread your attention as evenly as possible.

Group interviews are not the most conducive for conversation, but if you follow the above tips you will do well. Even better is to practice these skills with a group of people. Get your family together and have them grill you. Do several rounds. This may sound strange, but it is the best practice you will ever get. You’ll amaze even yourself at how much better you can answer the same question the second time around and how comfortable you feel being the center of attention.

Another hint to perform well in group situations. Read aloud while looking in a mirror and smiling. Look yourself straight in the eyes and learn to relax. After awhile, looking people in the eyes, while smiling and talking will become as natural as riding a bike, or walking.

Thank you for visiting,

Al Brouillard

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