How to Deal with Difficult Interview Questions

Interviews are such an important piece of your scholarship journey, so it’s of extreme importance that you answer the questions to the best of your ability. Sometimes, no matter how well you prepare, the judging panel will hit you with a question that you don’t expect or that seems difficult. We will spend some time in this blog post preparing you for these questions.


1. You don’t know the answer. If you don’t know the answer to a question – admit it! It’s much better to be upfront about your lack of knowledge on a subject than to try and fake intelligence. The judges can always see right through that. You can also ask for more time by coming back to the question later.


2. Tell us about yourself.  This is a tough question and can come as quite the shock if you came into the interview prepared to answer specific questions. You can prepare for this by making a list of accomplishments that you would most like the committee to hear about in more depth. Being granted this opportunity to throw out your best material in the beginning is actually a great opportunity to save the trouble of formulating your answers later towards your attributes most deserving their attention.


3. Why are you the best choice to receive our scholarship? This is a slightly more antagonistic approach to the previous question. It almost sounds like you’ve been issued a battle decree to prove yourself worthy. Use this as an opportunity to remind them of your best attributes and prove to them that you are the one that deserves the scholarship the most.


4. Is there anything else you would like to add? This is an open ended question that allows you the perfect opening to remind them once again of your great accomplishments, and to include those that might have been overlooked during the course of the interview.


5. Do you have any questions for us? Yes, you do! Make sure that you have prepared a list of questions you can ask when this query is made. A question that shouldn’t be included in this list – “When will I know if I’ve won your scholarship?” This is unprofessional. If they want you to know their decision timeline, they will tell you.


6. If you are being challenged with a question. Sometimes a judge will put you on the spot a little bit by asking you intimidating questions that might sound like a challenge. An example of this might be, “If you are such a resourceful person, why do you need our scholarship to attend college?” If this happens it is most likely an effort to test your reaction to being placed under siege. Make sure you remain cool, calm and polite and continue to smile as you give them your good-natured answer. This also applies if a judge disagrees with one of your responses. Simply tell them that you see their side, but you respectfully believe your position is the correct one. The key is remaining cool, calm and friendly during the whole process. Also, it helps to remind yourself that all the other interviewees have gone through the same exact questioning.

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