Thinking of doing a Master’s degree? Here’s what to expect in a postgraduate interview
If you’re thinking of doing a Masters degree then you have to realise that at some point you will be called into an interview, either with the course leader or a lecturer on the course. Interviews can be daunting, and since you are stepping into postgraduate education it might be the case that you have never been in a proper interview environment before. As with all interview processes it is good to know what you are likely to be asked, I have compiled a list below of what questions you are most likely to encounter.
Tell me about yourself.
So, strictly speaking this isn’t a question but more of an opportunity to tell the interviewer about your past experiences, experiences that are likely to make you a good candidate for a position on the course. You should look to mention past experiences in education, in the workplace and any extracurricular activities that you feel would strengthen your case. Make sure not to go on about your social life and hobbies (unless your hobbies are directly related to the course) because the interviewer isn’t interested about what you do in your spare time.
Why do you think you are well suited to this course?
It might be the case that you have already highlighted this in the ‘tell me about yourself’ stage. However, it is always good to reemphasise exactly what skills and past experiences you have that make you the ideal candidate.
What are your strengths?
This should be an easy question to answer by now, because you will have already told the interviewer the things that you make you an ideal candidate. What you need to do is to think a little bit deeper, and to highlight the attributes that your past experiences have developed within you. Examples of this could be dedication, hard work, teamwork and persistence.
What are your weaknesses?
This is likely to be the most difficult question asked of you, because it is not always easy to identify, let alone admit where your weaknesses might lie. Again, it is important to note that the interviewer will be talking about academic or vocational weaknesses so you can’t answer ‘Jägermeister’.
The best way to answer questions about your weaknesses is to use examples of weaknesses you are currently working to overcome. For example you could say ‘I used to take too many useless notes in lectures, but I have since developed a system for highlighting the most important points’ or ‘I used to get very nervous when a deadline was approaching but I now create a schedule in order to properly plan my work’. This will show the interviewer that you are aware of your faults but that you are also actively employing methods in order to overcome them.
Do you have any questions you’d like to ask me, about the course or the faculty?
It is critically important that you have something to say should you be asked this question. For this reason it is a really good idea to look into who will be interviewing you, and what their role is in relation to the faculty. You should also have armed yourself with the intimate knowledge of the course and what it entails. Prepare questions that are based around specific pieces of material on the course and this will be the clearest indication that you are keen and interested in succeeding on the course.