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How do you prepare your child for virtual interviews?

Despite lockdown, many children will still be in the midst of senior school interviews whether that be for 11+ entry this September or 13+ for September 2023. Although some schools have rescheduled these to the Summer term, most are continuing with their admissions timetable and have moved the interview process online.

With the interview part of the process carrying more weight in the school’s final decision, advance preparation is crucial. Arabella Davies from Their Best Years shares some valuable tips to help support your child through the process.

  • Don’t forget that most of the questions are going to be directed at your child and their aim is not to trip them but to put them at ease in order to get to know them.
  • Advance research is key so do encourage your children to keep dipping in and out of their target school websites as much as possible and ensure that they are ready to talk about their favourite classroom subjects, sports and other co-curricular activities in detail and with enthusiasm. 
  • Creating an unbeatable first impression is extremely important. For in-person interviews, I always say that you have 10 seconds; for on screen interviews you only have 5 and therefore eye contact with the camera, a big smile and sounding enthusiastic right from the outset will no doubt create and maintain that necessary impact.
  • Set the scene appropriately – Choose a room away from noisy distracting siblings and barking dogs and where your internet connection is working well – ensure their backdrop is neat and tidy and that they are familiar with the computer and know where the camera is located. Do dress smartly – I advise wearing school uniform if you have it to hand.
  • Enjoy the ride – once the first 5 seconds are up the worst is over. It should flow in to a conversation and if they are asked a tricky question then it is merely to test their broader thinking and the interviewer will be impressed if they have given it their best shot even if it isn’t necessarily the answer they were looking for.
  • Finally, your children must have a prepared question to ask the interviewer that demonstrates their genuine interest in their future schools. Also, do remind them to thank them at the end before logging off. A final impression is just as important as a first impression.

For further information on remote interviews and assessments including advance question & answer preparation please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Arabella Davies at arabella@theirbestyears.com



(this article previously published in June 2020.)

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