Hello everyone! We were together during the Mandela Washington Fellowship application period, now that some countries have started calling applicants for interviews, its only fitting that we share our experiences around this as well. Mandela Washington Fellowship Interview Tips
On this post, I have worked with Esther Mark, Patience Agwenjang and Isaiah Owolabi. We will update this post with additional tips as we go along.
Once again, congratulations to everyone that has been called and fingers crossed for everyone still expecting a call-up. Sending prayers up for you. Mandela Washington Fellowship Interview Tips
Here we go with the Mandela Washington Fellowship Interview Tips!
Remember the application you submitted few months ago? This is the time to revisit your saved copy. Go through this to note EVERYTHING you wrote. You would be asked questions from your application and you need to OWN everything you have written.
-Do not leave any room for doubt.
-Do not allow your interviewers to think that someone wrote the essays for you, or that you lied in your application.
-Get all your facts right. Get every information straight.
I’ve spent the last few days interviewing people for an open position in my office. While some had very fantastic CVs and cover letters, their application simply didn’t match their live performance during the interview. Mandela Washington Fellowship Interview Tips
When interviewing, you need to be sharp, extremely confident and let your answers reflect deep knowledge of the subject matter under discourse. Let the interviewer know you are sold out to the cause, you know exactly what you are doing and are very aware of how big an impact the MWF will make in your life journey as well as that of your community.
Let them see the Big picture!
So one thing I do every time I have a meeting or a pitch is to anticipate questions. It could be from my legal background but I think it’s a useful habit to form.
Critically examine the content of your application. Identify areas that may be unclear or requires some bit of explanation and mentally think up responses to those grey areas. Think about questions that may arise. You can start from the basic, by thinking about questions such as tell us about what you do, why did you start it? How can the Mwf help make it better etc. This exercise is not complete until you think about your answers to those questions. Think it through and rehearse with other people watching.
Please drop mannerism that can be extremely irritating. While you may have made a really good case for yourself, at the end of the day when there are lots of other equally competent people, it comes down to the little things.
This exercise is also very important if you are the very shy and timid type. Most times, we leave a panel and suddenly remember EVERYTHING we should have said. In as much as you may always feel you could have done better, this mock rehearsal is very important for such people as it helps you prepare your mind and your answers. But be careful so it does not look like you CRAMMED your answers. Just be acquainted with your application, and know what to say, at each particular time.
3. DRESS WELL
This is a formal interview and like every other interview, you have to dress well. Do not be flamboyant in the sense that attention moves from you to your clothes. Do not put on dangling and overtly blinking accessories. Be moderate. Avoid high heels that make crazy sounds. Wear your hair well. Be smart. Be deliberate in your approach. You are addressed as you are dressed, the saying goes. That is true. Just be simple but classy. Let your worth do the talking, not your clothes.
4. BE PUNCTUAL
Be there on time. It helps when you arrive the venue ahead of time. This helps in familiarising yourself with the environment, and even get to network with prospective fellows. Doing this takes your mind off the tension that is building within you.
5. BE CONFIDENT!
This is a great step towards making your dream come true. Confidence speaks volume. As you go into the interview hall, wear an aura of confidence, but not arrogance. We must stress that you should note the difference between the two. Do not carry an aura of pride. YOU should be proud of your work but not spiteful and condescending. Also know that you do what you do not just to go to the US. Do not make it appear like that is the SOLE REASON why you are into your work. Let them see that confidence and humility. Remember to also wear a smile.
6. BE TRUTHFUL
This is where we warn you that as much as you may be tempted to exaggerate your work and its impacts, you can never go wrong by being truthful. Say it as it is. Do not lie or try the impress the panel by stating facts or things you had not achieved.
7. WATCH BODY LANGUAGE
If I’m interviewing a person, I can tell within the first ten seconds of the person in front of me is a good fit or not. If you find yourself in such a situation where you can tell an interviewers apparent lack of interest in what you are saying, that’s a big red flag. Try to pull them back with eye contact, answer to them directly at the interview and when they ask you another question, know that you are being given an opportunity to make a second impression. Use it well!
Do no be too loud. You do not have to talk for long to make sense. If at any point, you get lost or have nothing else to say, stop talking. There is no point babbling over and over when you are not making sense.
8. KEEP IT SIMPLE
You do not have to keep talking especially when you ha e nothing more to say. The same way you do not have to go on and on answering a particular question asked until even the interviewers forget the question. Keep it simple.
Be careful and be mindful of your responses. Always be on the alert that you do not veer off from the conversation. Most times, your answers be interconnected, whereby, you have to connect the dots from one point to the other. Be careful not veer off. If you run out of things to say, just stop. Do not over-beat it.
Again congratulations to everyone shortlisted! Mandela Washington Fellowship Interview Tips
Hoping to welcome you to the MWF group in 2018
MWF Fellows in the House, did we miss out anything? Please add to this and we will be glad to update the post with your contributions.
Thank you, everyone!!
Adepeju Jaiyeoba is a Mandela Washington Fellowship Alumni, Founder, Mothers Delivery Kit and Brown Button Foundation