Now that you are fully prepared in the oratorical portion of your interview, it is time to discuss the importance of 2 key particulars: Punctuality and Presentation.
The moment you walk into the room, without speaking a word, you are being evaluated. Your body language, posture, the way you smell, the way you are dressed, your timeliness can speak a thousand words to the people interviewing you. Here are some tips:
Nothing can stir up frustration among the judges like tardiness. It does not matter if your car was hi-jacked and you were attacked by wild animals while walking to your interview. The judges only assume that you are irresponsible and discourteous by wasting their time. That is NOT the impression you want to give off to the organization extending you the opportunity for free money towards your college career.
- Have clear directions handy. It may help to call ahead and double-check the directions you have. If you are traveling a distance, allow at least an extra hour to compensate for time if you get lost or misdirected.
- If it is an early morning meeting, double-check your alarm clock and have your materials and clothing picked out the night before. Scrambling last minute to get your stuff in order can lead to anxieties you don’t want to bring to your interview.
- If an emergency arises, call the interviewer(s) as soon as you can to let them know of the situation and apologize for the inconvenience. In the interim, they can do other things or reschedule the interview, but if they don’t know why you are late, they’ll speculate the worst—irresponsibility.
The way you present yourself in any situation can dictate to subjective opinions the type of person you are without you saying a word. A scholarship interview is no different. Your appearance is the first thing they will see of you when you walk through their doors, which is why you must be aware of the following:
- Dress in conservative business-wear, appropriate to the interview. No jeans, t-shirts or overly casual clothing. Women should be aware of necklines and skirtlines and refrain from wearing sleeveless shirts or tanktops.
- Be sure clothing is neat, pressed, clean, and not frayed or damaged.
Do not wear perfume or cologne. Even though you think you smell nice, perfume and cologne scents can be downright repugnant to other people. However, that does not discount the necessity to wear deodorant and maintain good hygiene.
- Do not chew gum during the interview, smoke before the interview, or bring coffee, food, or drinks to the interview.
- If you bite your nails, consider a manicure.
- Keep the loads of jewelry at home. Guys: No thumb rings.
- Ladies: Be tasteful with your make-up
Remember, first impressions are lasting impressions.