Did you apply to be part of the Chevening Class of 2023?
For many people, the most nerve-wracking part of the application process is the interview stage.
The prospect of making a good impression in such a short amount of time can be daunting. That’s why it’s important to set aside some time to prepare.
To help you do this, we asked real Chevening interviewers what makes a candidate stand out. Here’s what they had to say:
1. Authenticity is key
The first thing to remember about your Chevening interview is that there is no “right answer” to any question you’ll be asked. All of our Scholars are different, with different backgrounds and goals.
Instead of a “right” answer, we want a true answer – one that is unique to you.
“A mix of authenticity, confidence, genuine enthusiasm, and passion is what makes a candidate stand out and what we define as ‘the Chevening spark’,” says an interviewer from the British Embassy in Yerevan, Armenia.
2. Make it clear how Chevening will help you achieve big things
One of the goals of the Chevening Scholarship is to help students supercharge their existing ambitions and find success more rapidly or on a larger scale than would be possible on their own.
It’s important to make it clear to your interviewer how the Chevening Scholarship specifically can help you do this, for example by referencing:
- The academic course it will make available to you
- How the Chevening network will help you
- The government connections that it would give you in your own country.
“Chevening is opening up the world for you,” says an interviewer from Tanzania. “Think and explain how the Scholarship will help you realize your dreams.”
3. Set achievable goals
While thinking big is an asset in a Chevening application, you need to have a realistic path planned out to get to your desired outcome – even if that path is ambitious or challenging.
“Achievements come with time,” says our Tanzanian interviewer. “While thinking about attaining bigger goals, know that you will need to start small. You will not be penalised for not attaining your aspirations, as long as your goals are REALISTIC.”
4. Don’t hold back
There is no time for modesty in a Chevening interview. We want to hear about your biggest successes, so don’t hold back on telling us your best stories.
“While long and unstructured answers can be tedious, choosing your best example and explaining it well will score you marks,” says our Tanzanian interviewer.
Read up on what Chevening Secretariat are looking for from our Scholars and prepare a few strong examples of how you have demonstrated these qualities. Having at least one strong anecdote that you have practiced and know how to communicate concisely is very important.
5. Use the STAR approach
To structure your key examples, you should use the STAR approach, describing:
This will help you give high-quality answers in an appropriately short amount of time.
“Candidates that use the STAR approach and focus specifically on what they did rather than ‘the team’ really stand out in terms of structure and flow of responses to competency based questions,” says our Armenian interviewer.
So, you don’t need to worry what your interviewers are thinking about you. Remember that we want you to succeed and do yourself justice. Be yourself, and good luck!