The Oxford Learners Dictionary defines interview as
1. a formal meeting at which somebody is asked questions to see if they are suitable for a particular job, or for a course of study at a college, university, etc.
2. a meeting (often a public one) at which a journalist asks somebody questions in order to find out their opinions
3. a private meeting between people when questions are asked and answered
The origin of the word apparently is in the early 16th century; from the French entrevue, s’entrevoir (see each other), from voir (to see), and on the pattern of vue (a view).
I am sure everyone has experienced the first meaning at least once in their life. We all have to present ourselves and our knowledge for an opportunity to survive. We have all been asked question upon question about our skills, interests, likes, hopes etc. We have all been scrutinized and looked upon through a microscope to get where we are. I’m sure some of these interviews have left you drained, while others seemed invigorating.
The second definition, however, is not bestowed on everybody. It is one that is far more surprising than the other. The inquiries can be much more personal, depending on who you are and what the interview is about.
Lastly, again, it can be something we all do all the time. Every date we go on, every time we see our parents or friends, the queries just come. Here, we tend to love to answer and ask. It is just a “normal” conversation.
Today, I’d like to have a look at the second kind of interview, because that is what I had to try and promote my project…
1. How can you prepare yourself?
I’m not going into how you should make sure that you are at the right time at the right place, or how you should know as much as possible about your interviewer as well as look your best, because this is what you find if you google “prepare for an interview” and this is what is important for any interview. However, I want to have a look at preparing for questions and answers.
As every person is an individual and has his or her own habits, likes and quirks, it is certain that no two interviewers inquire the same. One interviewer might be interested in your project and how it came to be, whereas another might want to get to know you and your interests. So, what can you do to be ready for questions, which you don’t know will be asked (and often don’t expect)?
I always believed it good to put yourself into the interviewer’s shoes and come up with as many uncomfortable questions as possible. However, during one of my first interviews as a singer, I was asked something I really had never anticipated and – to be frank – I’m still quite shocked. Although, I had tried answering my own difficult queries in the mirror and thought about words I could use, I seemed to have my back to the wall, while trying to answer truthfully (it was about wanting and/or having kids and combining family with a career). This experience showed me that preparation isn’t everything, you still have to be ready for the unexpected.
Something you can really prepare yourself for is your language. Whether you have the interview in your first, second, third, or one-hundredth language, it’s always good to think about words and expressions you might have to use. Do you want to say “I think” or “I believe”? Do you talk about you or yourself? Do you want to do that distinction, or does it not matter? How do you want to be seen in terms of your language? Do you want to seem eloquent? Do you want to repeat yourself? Do you want to talk in full sentences or in phrases? Think about your language and the image you want to get out there.