As we’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, the interview is a very integral part of your scholarship journey. This is often your one and only chance to show the judging panel how perfect you are for their scholarship in a personal way. Keep in mind that what you put down on paper only says so much. While most scholarship interviews are solo, meaning it’s just you and the judging panel – sometimes the panel might ask a group of finalists to interview together. This is known as a group interview.
Group interviews are generally uncomfortable and much more nerve-wracking than a traditional one-on-one interview. For one, you don’t always know ahead of time how many other people will be interviewing with you. It also means that you are competing with others for the judges’ attention – meaning it’s harder to make yourself stand out. Here are five tips for dealing with the challenges of a group interview.
1. Don’t dominate the committee’s time and attention. Yes, you do want to stand out and make the judges remember you, but you don’t want it to be because you were an obnoxious time hog. Use the time they give you to the fullest extent. But, be sure that you are courteous and respectful of the time allotted to the other interviewees as well.
2. Don’t allow yourself to slip through the cracks. While you do need to be courteous and respectful, you also can’t allow yourself to be invisible. When you answer a question, make sure your answer is thoughtful and well prepared. Use every opportunity you’re given to make yourself stand out.
3. Don’t feel intimidated because you think your competition is superior to you. That girl sitting next to you with hundreds more community service hours, who is the President of five school clubs, and who seems to have all the perfect answers is most definitely impressive. But that doesn’t mean she’s better than you or that she is a shoe-in for the scholarship award. Never allow yourself to be intimidated by another interviewee. Remember that you are a finalist too.
4. Don’t get overly cocky because you think your competition is inferior to you. Are you the girl in the group that I mentioned above? Check your ego at the door! No one likes someone who thinks they are the best at everything. And this includes the judges sitting across the table from you.
5. Do remember the names of your competitors so you can easily refer to them and their responses. This is not only courteous, but it’s also a demonstration of your thoughtfulness and the fact that you’re paying attention.