The art of the interview

Victoria Fordham ‘15, Staff Writer

Truth be told, I am not the right person be be writing this article. My interview experience is limited to just one encounter. My first – and only – interview was for my chance to come to Le Moyne and study abroad. And even then, I failed miserably and was rejected from the program.  So think of this as my “post-interview” advice, the little I have to give.

In the end, I got here: still in the US, still studying. In hindsight, there are probably things I should and shouldn’t have said, but what helped me was one simple word…


If I had never asked for advice, if I had never plucked up the courage to be criticized and told where I had gone wrong [and face it, no one likes to be told that], then I wouldn’t be sitting here writing this article.

After a poor performance at an interview, this simple concept is often and easily overlooked. You don’t feel great about the fact you’ve just failed to achieve whatever you were just rejected from; it’s like you’ve been kicked in the stomach, and suddenly you’re questioning why you put yourself through all this, only to find out that you’re “not worthy enough,” that there’s “someone better” out there.

But trust me, the idea of asking for feedback isn’t one that should be taken lightly. At worst, it will help you get back on your feet. You’ll be filled with a new sense of confidence, know where you’ve gone wrong and you will know how to ace it next time. It may sting your pride, but what’s a little knock every now and then? It keeps you grounded, it keeps you focused. It may seem like a harder fight, but the victory will be that much sweeter when you win, knowing how far you’ve come and how much you tried, how much effort you put in to gaining your place.

And at best?

At best, the interviewer will think you have guts, will be impressed with your initiative, and will give you the opportunity to do something that you’ve only ever dreamed about, whether that something is studying abroad, like me, making money from a job or gaining valuable work experience.

I didn’t acquire this “post-interview” knowledge by myself. It was given to me by a very wise and clever [and old] woman who likes to take up residence in my living room. And as much as it pains me to say it, this is up there with the best advice that my mum has ever given me. Begrudgingly, thankfully, sometimes parents actually do know best. So my second, and final, piece of “advice” – if you can call it that – is don’t be afraid to ask your parents what to do next.

They’ve had experience, more so than you think, and maybe you could learn from their mistakes, but also their successes. Passing an interview is a skill, and you can only hone that skill through experience. Asking them for their tips might make your life easier in the long run. If nothing else, they can offer you the positive words of encouragement that you need when you think that all else is lost.

So just remember: you may be kicked down on your first try, and you may not feel like asking for advice [from your interviewer or your parents], but you will rise as a stronger, more determined person for it in the end, ready to take on your next challenge.