Interviews may be required for the following groups of applicants:
A selection of applicants who are pre-screened on other admissions criteria are invited to interview.
A selection of applicants who have a non-traditional educational background.
Applicants who are applying for direct entry i.e. Year 2.
The University of East Anglia will require an interview for one or more of the following reasons:
- It is a requirement of a professional body.
- an interview to assess suitability to undertake the course and/or to seek evidence of ability for a particular profession.
- If a course is selecting (i.e. the demand for a course is higher and a limited number of offers), interviewing may be used to form part of the decision-making.
The University of East Anglia will use one or more of the following formats for the interview:
- A group interview to assess skills of interaction.
- A multiple-mini interview (MMI).
- A semi-structured interview which can allow conversation to enable interviewees to give a fuller account of themselves.
- An interview where questions are not prescribed but interviewers have a clear set of themes or areas to explore.
Interviewers and Interviewer Training
Selection interviews will be conducted by a member of staff who has received appropriate training in selection interviewing. Training should ensure competence, consistency of approach and fairness.
Set criteria and Benchmarking
Details about how interviewees' responses will be recorded and scored, will be agreed in advance of the interviews. Any specific criteria that will be used to score against, including any essential or desirable criteria and how a final score will be arrived at, will be agreed prior to interviews commencing.
Interviews held on site should be set up in advance and applicant notified that they have an invitation to interview as soon as possible.
Inviting applicants to Interview
The Admissions Office is responsible for inviting selected applicants for interview.
Wherever possible a range of dates will be offered to an applicant to give them the opportunity to choose when they have their interview but please note this is not always possible.
Upon invitation the following correspondence will be shared with the interviewee:
- Date, duration and location of the interview.
- Format of the interview (including an overview of schedule if available).
- A request for any information needed from the applicant either before they arrive or to bring with them on the day (essay, work experience form, qualifications, ID, audition piece).
- Details of where to report to and a phone number in case of emergencies on the day.
- Travel information.
- For the interviewee to contact us, Student Support Service should they require any additional support for their interview (where appropriate will be informed to assist with the provision of additional support).
- If there are other activities other than the interview, when and what these are (e.g. numeracy and literacy test, presentation, campus tour, demos, lunch).
The Applicant must be made aware of the consequences of non-attendance. Applicants will be reminded a maximum of two times that they need to book on to an interview.
Before an applicant is rejected for non-attendance, the Admissions Team will check to see if there is an alternative non-interviewing course for which the applicant is eligible.
Recording Selection Interviews
In the interests of equity, all selection interviews for a particular course should be structured in a consistent manner, following an agreed format.
There may be the need to ask questions that do not influence the outcome of the interview e.g. placements, module choices. A clear distinction needs to be made between the two, and the interviewer should indicate when this is the case.
An interview report form should be completed in respect of each selection interview recording a suitable transcript/commentary and a final recommendation. Where significant numbers of selection interviews are conducted, a ‘matrix sheet' for record keeping may be of use.
The Interviews must keep to time throughout the day so as not to cause unnecessary anxiety for waiting interviewees.
Contingency interview slots should be in place in case an applicant has an unforeseen delay in attending an interview.
All efforts should be made to ensure the interview is not interrupted, except if this has been agreed in advance e.g. if an interview is being assisted by a time-keeper.
Conduct of Interview
Any telephone, mobile phone or equipment not being used for an interview should be turned off or diverted.
Interviews should, where possible be conducted by a minimum of two people, with a minimum of one whom has undergone the full interview training. Other interviewers may be external professionals and/or service users. Where there is only one interviewer, the door to the room that is being used should remain open, with appropriate signage indicating that an interview is in progress. The interviewer(s) should introduce themselves and the procedure for the interview.
At the end of an interview or interview day, the applicant should be given an indication of when they will hear the outcome (but they must not be given the decision in the interview).
Telephone/ Skype/Video Conference Interviews
Every effort should be made to recreate the length and format of the interview to mirror an interview conducted in person. This includes completing identical paperwork.
It is important to verify the identity of the applicant to ensure the correct person is to be interviewed. In most cases a copy of the photo in a passport will be provided to identify the person being interviewed.
Please note not all courses permit interview by telephone or Skype.
After the interview
Interviewers should identify themselves on score or report forms.
All paperwork and other material including audio recordings of interviews and interview report forms and scoring sheets will be securely stored for the appropriate length of time in accordance with the Admissions retention of records policy.
The University recognises that provision of constructive feedback is courteous and will provide such feedback to applicants who have been unsuccessful in gaining a place when confirming the decision. Feedback on specific applications will not be offered to other parties (e.g. parents or teachers) without the express consent of the applicant.
More detailed requests for feedback must be made by the applicant in writing within three months of the date that the application was unsuccessful.
Feedback is automatically sent in the form of a standard set of text. Where an interview is for a selecting course, often the feedback is ‘Course applied for is highly competitive; the application was unsuccessful relative to strength of applicant field'. However, additional comments may be included, which may take the form of advice as to how to improve a future application.
The University reserves the right to make academic and non-academic judgements outside of the published guidelines in complex and exceptional cases but the reasons must be documented.
Updated December 2016