Some scholarship applicants seem to believe that interviewers possess some kind of clairvoyance. They didn’t think that they have to present a certain image because interviewers will magically pick up on their sterling qualities. But the cold, hard reality is you do have to put forth an effort and present some behaviours that your interviewer will respond to. Here’s what to avoid:


Bad non-verbal cues. I know it’s a cliché, but a firm handshake and good eye contact really make a good impression. I can’t explain the psychology behind this but people tend to equate a limp handshake with weakness. I have heard from people who said they’re so shy they can’t make eye contact but then the interviewer will take that as a sign that you won’t be able to lead and to stand up for yourself at work.
You may be tired of the number of times you heard your mother or teacher tell you to ‘sit up straight’. If I’m interviewing someone who is slumped down in the chair, I’m going to assume that he or she is not interested in the job.

Talking too much or not enough. It is perhaps this aspect of an interview that would benefit those who have a high emotional intelligence. This involves the ability to read unspoken cues from other people. Watch the interviewer’s eyes. If you’re saying too much in your answer to one question, and the interviewer is starting to fidget or yawn, wind it up. On the other hand, if the interviewer pauses after you answer a question, then that may mean he is expecting more. When an interviewer asks if you have any questions, and you said you have none, it just shows how keen you are in getting the scholarship. The best questions to ask are those that pertain directly to something the interviewer has said during the interview. It shows you’ve been listening. You could have even prepare some stock questions to ask.

*Jack Lau, former Human Resource Manager of a statutory board.