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The Personal Interview – The Most Common Mistakes

To win a scholarship you will often have to go through a multi-stage application and selection process. This usually involves an interview. In this article you will learn interview mistakes that you should avoid.
Prepare yourself well for your interview
Prepare yourself well for your interview

Normally only applicants who leave a good impression in their written application will be invited for an interview. The point of this selection stage is to find out if the personality of the applicant fits the organisation. Even if you’re authentic, there are many mistakes you should avoid.

Good preparation is everything

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is not reading the website of the organisation so that you know what it is about. If you fail to do this you risk asking questions that you could have answered yourself. So spend some time before the interview researching the awarding body, and the scholarship itself.

And don’t be surprised if you are asked standard interview questions . You should also spend time preparing answers to these common questions. Our article on common interview questions gives further advice on how to prepare well for these sorts of questions.

Do not be late

Lots of things can make you late for an interview but remember there is nothing worse than being late. Make sure you plan ahead and leave home early so that you arrive on time, even if something happens that causes a delay.

You should try to arrive 10 to 15 minutes before the time of your interview. Running up the stairs late and being sweaty and out-of-breath will not leave a good impression.

Stay calm

You should try to control your nerves during an interview. Remember your application has already passed the first test and is of interest to the interviewers. That is a good thing so focus on staying calm and showing your personality. You should give the impression that you like being there and are happy about the invitation, even if you are nervous. You should also keep in mind some general tips for the personal interview.

Show interest in the conversation

You should show that you are interested in the conversation. This means not leaning back in you chair. Instead you should sit up straight, smile, and look your interviewers in the eye. If the interviewer offers you a drink don’t make any strange requests – just keep things simple. But it is best to take a drink when offered as your mouth can become dry when you are nervous.

Look your best

Wearing appropriate clothing plays a big role in giving a good first impression. Obviously you should avoid showing up in summer shorts, Hawaiian shirts and sunglasses. Business attire is often the best type of clothing to wear.

And also make sure your clothing and general appearance is clean and tidy. You should try to present as professional an impression as possible.