Interview Tips

You’ve got an interview. Now what?

  • Be excited.  You’re one step closer to achieving your goal. But you still have work to do!
  • Look to the scholarship website for specific information about the interview process. The Truman site is especially helpful. www.truman.gov.
  • Ask the Top Scholarships office to help you prepare with a practice interview if there’s time.
  • Call in your resources. Ask friends, family, faculty to practice with you.

Interview tips

  • Be yourself.  Relax as much as you can.
  • Dress appropriately. If in doubt, ask a faculty member or advisor.
  • Arrive early at your interview site. Locate it ahead of time if possible.
  • Reread your application materials thoroughly.
  • Think about the main points you want to convey about yourself.
  • Be award of “ums”, “uhs,” and “like”.  If you know you use these verbal fillers, work ahead of time to eliminate them.
  • Speak at a normal pace, not too quickly.
  • Use your body language well. Avoid slouching, crossing your arms, fiddling with anything.  Keep your hands on the table, or use them for emphasis.
  • Make eye contact. Each interviewer should notice you paying attention to them.
  • Practice. Practice answers out loud. Practice keeping answers short, typically 30-45 seconds each.
  • Identify what a question asks. “Name the three main problems in your field,” for example, doesn’t ask for explanation. It asks for a list of three items.
  • Leave room for and expect follow-up questions.
  • Take time before answering a difficult question. Gather your thoughts. A little silence is fine.  It’s better than a protracted “um.”
  • Don’t hesitate to smile or laugh!
  • Let your enthusiasm for your work and future plans show.
  • Stay informed. Read widely to be aware of issues in your field, and general current issues. Consider reading a couple of good daily newspapers , like the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times. You might keep up on respected journals in your field. Also consider respected magazines (The Economist, Harper’s, Atlantic Monthly, New Republic, The New Yorker, National Review, and the Weekly Standard).  Read international news sources if your interests/ambitions lie overseas.