How do you prepare your child for virtual interviews?

As lockdown continues for most children, schools are keen to maintain some stability as regards their assessments of prospective pupils in order to avoid too much disruption to the admissions process going forward. Hence, like everyone else, they have resorted to running these remotely. Arabella Davies, education and school planning consultant shares some tips on how to adequately prepare your child on what to expect from this method of interviewing.

With the interview and assessment carrying increasingly more weight in a school’s final decision it is essential that we prepare our children accordingly. In normal times we would be telling them how a firm handshake, eye contact and positive body language was key to creating an unbeatable first impression. However, in this current crisis we are all having to swap face to face meetings with digital versions but yet at the same time maintain the necessary impact.

For our children these interviews are anxious moments at the best of times and in order for them to get the very best out of what may be their first (but certainly not their last) on-screen digital assessment let’s look at some positive ways you can help prepare them:


  • In advance of their interview, ask your child to consider what they most enjoy at school during a normal term-time including classroom subjects, sports and other co-curricular activities so that they are ready to talk about these in detail and with enthusiasm


  • Ensure your child undertakes an in-depth exploratory tour of their target school website and in particular to focus on areas that are of interest to them as they will be asked to provide reasons why they might wish to attend said school and what they hope to achieve when they get there


  • Encourage your child to think about current affairs and the world around them. With one topic dominating the news my advice is for them to consider how this will affect their life in the future or that of the climate or global politics and economics – the interviewer may very well even argue their opinion along the way to test their debating skills


  • Ensure your child has answers to some obvious questions including how lockdown has affected them personally, what they are doing as a family during this time and how they are responding to remote schooling


  • Set the scene appropriately – choose a room away from noisy distracting siblings and where your internet connecting is working well – ensure their backdrop is neat and tidy and I advise your child wears full school uniform unless told otherwise – smart attire will automatically put them in the right frame of mind


  • Have a couple of practice sessions in the room where the interview is going to take place while you take yourself to another part of the house and dial in for a mock interview – it is incredibly important that they are familiar with the computer and know where the camera is located so that they can maintain eye contact throughout the interview


  • Finally, encourage them to enjoy the ride – and remind them that a great big smile and enthusiastic chatter goes a very long way. After all, it’s the interviewer’s job to put them at ease in order to get to know them and if they are asked a tricky question then it is merely to test their broader thinking and the interviewer will be impressed if they have given it their best shot even if it isn’t necessarily the answer they were looking for

For further information on remote interviews and assessments including advance question & answer preparation please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Arabella Davies at

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