New for 2017 admissions is our optional online interview process, described here. It’s optional, but I would highly recommend it. There are probably some questions about it, so here are a few comments and suggestions.
How does it work? We’ll be sending out batches of invitations by email to do the interview over the coming months (make sure you watch your email that you used to apply through OUAC, since this is where all our communications will be going). In your email, you’ll get a personal link to the online system where you can do the interview (don’t share the link, it’s specific to each applicant).
What’s it like? Once you start, it presents a random set of pre-recorded questions. You have a little bit of time to think about your response, and then it starts recording your answer to each question. It’s supposed to be like a live interview, but without the problems involved with scheduling meeting times. Because it is recorded, applicants can do it whenever convenient for them, and we can review the responses at a later time when it’s convenient for us, without worrying about time zones, weekends, etc.
The structure? There are some practice questions that you can do to make sure everything is working and to get comfortable. Once you start the real interview, there are 3 questions, two requiring verbal responses and one with a written (keyboard) response. We’ll also ask you to type in your Waterloo id number (to ensure there are no mistakes in awarding points to the right person).
Why do we have an interview? It gives us another mechanism to find out more about the applicant. It also gives the applicants another and different opportunity to tell us about their thoughts, experiences, and goals. Our School of Architecture has used interviews for many decades and they find them to be a useful part of their selection mechanism.
How is the interview used? We will review the interview and award some bonus points. Since this is new, the bonus points will be weighted less than our Admission Information Form (AIF) for this year. However, it can still have some impact on an applicant’s ranking during the admission decision process.
Can a bad interview be a negative factor for admission? No, not normally. A small bonus for attempting the interview is still better than not doing it at all. The exception would be if the interview contains unprofessional or inappropriate responses. If this happened in a job interview, you wouldn’t get the job.
Other reasons for the interview? Waterloo Engineering is co-op only, meaning that everyone is going to be doing interviews with potential employers within the first two to six months of school. A lot of new students don’t have much experience with interviews, so this is a chance to start getting some practice and thinking about interview skills. These are skills that will be useful no matter where you end up going.
How can one prepare for the interview? Our interview is set up to be something like a job interview, with those sorts of questions. There are lots of online resources about preparing for job interviews, typical questions, etc. I would suggest spending a few minutes looking at those resources, especially if you’ve never done an interview before. A Google search will turn up lots of suggestions.