The Lifelong Importance of Interview Skills (It’s Never Too Early to Start!)
A Life Skill
School entrance interviews are often a child’s first experience of needing to present themselves well to adults, with a purpose. This can begin very early, with the school selection processes for entry at 4+; these sessions usually involve teachers observing children interacting in small groups rather than an interview as such, but it’s all part of the same skill set. Interview skills are a set of life skills that are a lifelong asset, from 4, 7 or 11+, up to university and job applications and beyond.
It’s never too early or too late to learn how to present the best version of yourself in an interview environment. Interview skills can help in difficult communications scenarios in other areas of our lives… If you can present yourself well in an interview, you can also communicate effectively in any scenario when you need to be clear, succinct and persuasive. Interview preparation can boost a candidate’s listening skills, increase their confidence in their ability to think and respond quickly, and make them aware of and improve their body language.
Interview Preparation for School Admissions
There is a real benefit in preparing children to know what to expect in an interview environment, and how to manage themselves on the day, whether they are facing a one-to-one interview or a group assessment (or both). This is where JK’s group and individual interview preparations provide valuable preparation and practice, to help children make a good impression.
For individual interviews, It’s helpful to explain the interview process, give examples of the type of questions that are usually asked, and help the child consider how they would answer questions in ‘live’ conditions. In our individual sessions, we help children to understand that no answer is wrong, as long as it is delivered with confidence and can be explained. We look at the importance of voice projection and the dynamics of interacting with others in group interview situations. Our interview preparation also includes a mock English oral comprehension and questions based on a piece of art, to encourage quick thinking and natural responses. Children (and adults) should never be prepared by being given answers to possible interview questions. It is vital that interviewees’ responses are natural, personal and original.
For group school admissions interviews, mock group sessions are very helpful. The skills tested during group interviews include listening skills, collaboration, leadership skills, teamwork, general knowledge and the child’s behaviour. We look for and assess these same skills in our mock group interviews. We observe the children carefully and give detailed feedback on how children have responded to the various group activities. We also strive to make the mock interviews a positive and helpful experience, so that when they enter the real interviews they will be keen to take part and able to show their very best!
Sixth Form and University Interviews
The same principles apply to succeeding in interviews to enter Sixth Form or University as Reception: Smile, make eye contact, maintain positive body language and answer the question you are being asked rather than saying just what you want to say! However, the difficulty and range of questions candidates might face are obviously very different at this higher level, and honing a student’s interview skills to meet these new challenges is very important.
Our experienced tutors and consultants have years of experience in this area of support; they include secondary school teachers, heads of departments in schools and sixth form colleges, and subject specialists including medics and lawyers. These tutors and consultants are all on hand to help students develop the specific interview techniques required for each level and area of study.
In the world of work, interviews – or a series of interviews – are often the final hurdle in achieving employment goals. As a start-point, our expert career consultant guides and advises students and graduates through the difficult process of deciding on a career direction and then getting that all-important first job. Interview preparation, including learning how to negotiate a contract and salary, is a key part of this coaching service, available for adults through JK Educate. Mock interviews form a key part of this service too; they are an ideal way to boost interview success rates, for graduates and older adults as well as for seven-year-olds.
Never Too Early. Never Too Late
As we have seen, interview skills are of lifelong importance, best introduced when we are young and then refined throughout our lives. At JK Educate, we can help your child acquire basic self-presentation skills from the age of 4, and interview skills from 7. As they grow up, we can continue to support them through school moves and university or apprenticeships, developing their interview skills into adulthood as they start their careers. Contact us if you think we can help your child prepare for the next step in their education or career.