Add to favorites |  Add to Add to Google Toolbar Toolbar
       [Login]   |  Register now on UK Student Portal  
Google Bookmark del.icio.us Bookmark reddit Bookmark Digg it Bookmark Furl Bookmark Yahoo Bookmark Blogmarks Bookmark ma.gnolia Bookmark Netvouz Bookmark Spurl Bookmark Citeulike Bookmark Connotea Bookmark GiveaLink Bookmark Request new bookmark


Lost Password?

Register now!

Search Academic Directory

Interviews and vivas
Author: ADMIN (ukstudent at gmail dot com)
Published: Thu, 31-Aug-2006
Rating 5.00
Votes: 2
Read: 2091 times
Article Size: 5.75 KB

Printer Friendly Page Tell a Friend

Interviews and vivas. Article by The University of East Anglia


That interview feeling - sweat on your brow, the hollow feeling in your stomach, deadpan smiles, the nervous tic of your left eyelid, blushing leading to more blushing. There can be no better situation to learn about yourself. Sadly, interview skills (which are a form of communication skills) are learnt by doing them - so the more interviews you attend, the better.
By attending more interviews you learn
How to be more 'yourself' (mostly by being less nervous, but also you learn how and when to drop into the conversation your ideas and interests.)
How to add value to an answer. This means rather than replying just yes, or no, you should use the question as an opportunity to explore the issue. This allows you reveal more of yourself, particularly your team-working self.
What kinds of questions to ask back.
How to smile without grimacing.

Interview questions

Interviewers tend to ask simple questions. Yet in an interview situation such questions seem much more difficult ("tell me about yourself?" "what is your strongest asset?" "How would you increase publicity about our new fund raising campaign?")
Interviewers want to know
Your technical knowledge on a subject, e.g. farmer groups or structural adjustment or AIDS in South Africa. They will often stick to safe ground, but might try a one-off question to examine your breadth of knowledge.
Your composite skills. These interpersonal, communication skills are usually assessed as a part of the interview. Your ability to express yourself clearly and audibly.
Your cognitive and operational skills. Sometimes you are given a task to complete for example the evaluation of a text in order to formulate a response.
Your enthusiasm for, and resilience in, coping with unforeseen problems.


Get yourself comfortable
Take your time over an answer, but not too long.
Don't give one-word answers, or at the other extreme, waffle on for minutes.
Maintain eye contact with the person asking you the question. (Tip: if you have a problem doing this, you can stare at their forehead just between their eyes - it is impossible to distinguish this from full eye contact).
Realise that most interviewers want you to do well, but also want to evaluate you carefully and accurately.
Ask for the question to be repeated if you did not hear it well or understand it.
Engage with the process as much as you can. See the interview partly as a debate or a discussion, perhaps even acknowledge when a good question has been asked.

The take home message

Convey enthusiasm and honesty. Demonstrate an ability to think round a problem. If you do not know the answer, say so, but say how you might find out. Demonstrate inquisitiveness. Demonstrate calmness, even if inside you are a bag of nerves.

Thoughts on vivas - u/g to p/g

As with interviews:
Be enthusiastic and allow yourself to show interest in your own work!
Smile, and look at your examiner
Demonstrate you can listen and think
Take your time if necessary
You may feel that there are two levels of chat (or engagement), as exemplified by the points below.

Lower level engagement with examiner/subject (almost 'small-talk') This might cover you, the degree experience, other courses or the dissertation.
"What is your background?"
"Why did you do this degree or dissertation?"
"What is the aim of the degree or dissertation?"
"What is in the degree or dissertation?" (statistics, discourse analysis, interviews, observations, measurements)
What is the relevance of the degree or dissertation?
What trends/progression did you show?
"What now?" (book, further work, papers?)
"What have you learnt?" (a succinct take home lesson?)

Higher level engagement with examiner. This will cover the dissertation.
Be ready to be tested on knowledge of the subject - breadth and depth!
Be ready to be tested on your knowledge of the process of the research
Be ready to explain a pivotal point in your research upon which some important argument rests
Be ready to explain potential weak points in your research
Be ready to acknowledge your value position ('thesis') that you held at the outset of the research
Be ready to explain your value position at the finale - even post-handing in of work
Demonstrate your critical thought about the methodologies, why did you choose the methods you did
As the viva exists to show critical analysis demonstrate a willingness to engage with the debates if brought out by the examiner
Be ready to demonstrate future progression beyond the dissertation or PhD thesis (bring list of ideas?)
Be ready to demonstrate what you would change if you were to do it again (both structural/logistical (time, visits, where, when) to methodologies interview, control measurement, case studies, selection of method in any particular part).

Copyright for this article belongs to The University of East Anglia

This document was re-printed with the kind permission of Dr Bruce Lankford. Original Source of the article is located here: http://www.uea.ac.uk/menu/acad_depts/dev/keyskills/composite/interviews

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Recent Academic Directory Articles
Check out NEW
CV Writing Services from CV-Shop, the first step to securing your perfect job.

Order Your CV

Main Menu

eXTReMe Tracker