Here’s our school interview skills feature.


This is part of our top tips for different types of interview’ series, which includes

What’s the purpose of private school interviews?

For the school to:

  • Assess if the student (and parents, to some extent) is a good fit for the school and vice versa.
  • Get to know the student beyond what can be found on an application and school reports.
  • Explain the nuts and bolts of how it works, and to differentiate the distinguishing features they offer.
  • Detail the enrolment process and when the school may be able to offer a place.

INTERVIEW Advice for parents

  • If you’re running late, phone the school and let them know. Allow plenty of time to travel so you and your child are relaxed and ready for the meeting.
  • Be flexible when arranging the time. The vast majority of interviews occur during school hours.
  • Ensure the school has all relevant information before the interview, including school reports, specialist reports, exam results, etc.
  • Schools are legally obligated to cater for any child’s needs by making any reasonable adjustments.
  • Do not answer any question directed towards your child. Allow your child to answer questions and be themselves.
  • Make sure you ask any questions you may have, but also listen to the answers and don’t interrupt the interviewer.
  • Do ask further questions by email after the interview.

2023 SCHOOL INTERVIEW TIPS for children

  • Get a good night’s sleep before the interview.
  • Don’t worry if you are nervous – most students are.
  • Dress to impress. Your current school uniform is fine as long as it is worn well.
  • Otherwise, wear good casual clothes.
  • Find out the school’s uniform regulations and dress similarly.
  • Be prepared to answer questions. Explain your answers and be calm and articulate, but don’t over-explain.
  • Make sure you know something about the school. The more research the better.
  • Read the prospectus and website, and ask other families you know who have children at the school. Think of a few good questions to ask.
  • Make sure you have a firm handshake and always use eye contact. Good posture makes a strong impression,
  • So sit up tall and don’t slouch, fidget, bite your nails, pull your hail or chew gum.
  • Use your best manners. Say please and thank you to show your appreciation. Call the interviewer Sir or Madam, Mr or Mrs.
  • Never answer your phone or check text messages.
  • Always be honest. If you don’t know the answer to a question, just say so. Remember, there are no right or wrong answers.

2023 SCHOOL INTERVIEW questions

  • The following are just some examples of questions that may be asked to students enrolling in Years 3 to 11.
  • We advise parents to prepare their child to answer any question that may be thrown at them.
  • Encourage them to answer in an audible and articulate voice.
  • Always try to answer with a full sentence or more, rather than just “yes” or “no”.
  • What are your favourite/best subjects?
  • And your weaknesses? What subjects do you not enjoy? What subjects/work habits require improvement?
  • What do you want to do when you leave school?
  • Why are you interested in our school? What did you like about the school (if they have been on a tour)?
  • Who in your life has been the greatest influence on you?
  • What will you do to contribute to our school?
  • Tell me about a challenge you have overcome?
  • And your hobbies/interests? (Mention sport, music, etc)
  • What do you see yourself doing in 10 years time?
  • Do you believe your school reports truly reflect your ability and effort? Explain.
  • Favourite types of books to read?What books do you read?
  • Do you have a favourite author or series? Can you recommend a good book/website/app/game?
  • Is there anything you could have done differently in school?
  • Tell me about your family. Do you have siblings?
  • Have you ever been in major trouble at school, or have you ever been suspended or expelled?
  • Do you have any health needs (this includes mental health)?
  • Have you ever received academic support in school?
Graduate Interview Tips. Candidate looking at laptop with camera.

Graduate Interview Tips

  • Interviews that are structured around a set of competencies. These need to have been shown to be considerably more reliable and predictive of future work performance. Compared to the traditionally “unstructured” interview format.
  • A well-conducted interview should form the basis of every selection process.
  • Thus, the most effective way of predicting job performance is to use a mix of assessments. In addition to a graduate interview.

Matching assessment exercises to the role and level

  • Graduate level assessment typically involve several online aptitude tests and a personality profile.
  • Managerial roles require a range of assessment exercises and psychometric tools.
  • These are complex roles requiring a broad range of skills, knowledge and abilities involved.
  • It is fairer and more professional for a company to use this multi-assessment approach.

Assessment Options

  • Graduate interviews at Assessment Centres
    • Group Exercise
    • In-tray Exercise
    • Fact Find Exercise
    • Role Play design / Interactive Exercise
  • Development Centre design and development exercises

Graduate Interview tips. Candidate shaking hands with panel member

Panel Interviews

For many jobs:

  • the interview alone will be the most appropriate approach.
  • For many basic level operative and clerical jobs! Then the interview should be conducted in an as informal and encouraging way as possible.
  • It is not appropriate to use a complex battery of assessment techniques for jobs requiring basic level skills.
  • Rather than enhance the outcome, this is more likely to put potential applicants off.
  • Never use assessment tools for their own sake.

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