Interview Traps - Number One - "The Robot"

"I interviewed a boy yesterday and it was like interviewing a computer; all you had to do was enter the question and an automatic pre-set answer came out! After half an hour, I still had absolutely no idea about what really made the boy tick." (House Master, UK School)

As parents, we can see that being selected by one school over another will set our child on very different paths. Behind this poor boy will have been parents who only have his best interests at heart and will have stuffed the poor child so full of "good" answers that he could probably recite them in his sleep. They have unwittingly created a barrier between the delight of their child's personality and skillset and the interviewer.

In an interview situation,it is immediately clear and ultimately frustrating when a child is a mouthpiece for parents' ideas. It is your son or daughter who will be joining the school, not you!

Resist the temptation to cram them with answers and focus instead in helping them to develop a dialogue with adults they come into contact with. Encourage them to develop ideas as you encounter new experiences or read together "what do you think about..." "how would you feel if..." "why would you like to..." "what would you change if..." Not only will your child develop critical thinking skills but you, as a parent, will form a deeper understanding of what motivates and inspires them.

In the next few posts, I will focus on school interviews and then move on to job interviews. I will identify some common areas and suggest solutions. My aim is not just to help in an interview situation but hopefully to encourage communication skills which will have long term benefits.

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