Westpac Future Leaders Scholar: Three steps to interview success

Jayne Fendyk, Westpac Scholar, 2022 Future Leader

Making it through the application process, eligibility assessments and university shortlisting is an achievement in itself. The next step is the National Selection Panel. In my experience the panel members were all incredibly lovely and made me feel super comfortable on the day (which is not always easy via a Zoom interview). However, there’s a few things you can do to help yourself feel extra prepared. Here are my three steps for interview success! 

  1. Reach out to past scholars (they don’t bite). I plucked up the courage to reach out to a previous ANU scholar. I’m glad I did because I got to chat with them about their experience, get a sense of what it might be like on the day, and learnt about the types of questions they got asked. Every interview is different, but it gives you a starting point on how best to prepare. 
  1. Try and find examples that highlight you, your leadership strengths and how you approach challenges in your everyday life. Examples are important because they give colour and legitimacy to your answers! The interview is not necessarily like a formal ‘job’ interview, so feel free to draw on examples from your academic, working, extra-curricular and potentially volunteer experiences. In thinking about my examples, I tried not to structure them too much. Instead, I wrote down a couple of key points I hoped to convey. That encouraged me to practice using the example in lots of different ways and saved me from sounding too rigid on the day. 
  1. Practice (in front of something and someone). Once you’ve got a good idea about the things you want to say and examples you may wish to use, start practicing with a parent, partner, siblings, housemates…whoever! I tend to find that if you’re comfortable interviewing in front of your nearest and dearest (who rarely see your more 'professional' side), when you go to interview in front of people you don’t know - it is much easier. If you’re short on people to help, film yourself answering questions on your laptop. Naturally, it will be a bit 'cringey' playing it back, but it’s a really good way to refine your responses (in my case, to curb excessive use of 'um' and 'like'!)

Of course, the practice tip comes with a big caveat. Ultimately, there’s only so much you can practice. What the panel really want is to get to know you, first and foremost. At some stage you have to just trust yourself and your process, take a deep breath and crush that interview!  

For more information, to nominate or apply for a Westpac Future Leaders Scholarship, visit the Westpac Scholars Trust website.