Having good interview skills will benefit you throughout life.
You will find yourself in many situations when you will be interviewed, not just in pageants!
The few minutes you spend in your interview can be the most important time spent in your pageant experience. Not only will a good interview help the judges form a positive attitude about you, you will go onto other interviews in life.Â You will find that you will be interviewed in many situations such as employment, to make teams, other pageants, to obtain scholarships, and even to rent a place to live.
During your pageant interview your judges will have the opportunity to get to know you so you want to make a good first impression on them.Â During this few minutes, you will be "up close and personal" with the judges and are the focus of their attention.Â You need to make yourself someone they will remember in a positive way!
Your goal in winning the pageant is getting the "job" of representing the title.Â The interview is very similar to other job interviews and will be in front of a panel of qualified judges.Â There will be typically five or six judges on the panel, often made up of both men and women.
Begin your interview with a friendly "hello" and end with a sincere "thank you."
Your appearance will be extremely important.Â Make sure you pay close attention to details and dress appropriately and according to the rules and guidelines.Â The best interview outfit is a suit-type with a skirt and fitted jacket in a color that is flattering to you.Â It needs to fit well, be clean and good repair, and modest.Â Draw attention to your face and what you are saying, not your fashion.Â Avoid wild distracting designs and styles.Â
Keep your jewelry and other accessories simple and not distracting.Â Wearing dangling earrings will have your judges staring at them instead of paying attention to what you are saying.Â Five pieces of jewelry is plenty such as a necklace, earrings, watch, small bracelet and one ring.Â Don't wear double pierced earrings or other body piercings during the pageant. Be careful not to fidget with rings or other jewelry during the time you are in front of the judges.
Cover all visible tattoo's. What is a current fashion trend might not be appropriate for the title you want to hold and often you will get conservative judges.Â Check the rules and guidelines for the requirements regarding piercings and tattoo's.
Hair, Hands and Make Up
It's important to be very careful with your makeup because the judges are generally very close to you.Â Daytime makeup is appropriate as you are not onstage.Â Blend everything well and make sure the colors compliment your outfit.Â Choose colors that make your eyes stand out.Â Make sure your eyebrows are well-shaped.Â Many make up consultants will give you a free make over for purchasing a few of their products.Â This will give you the opportunity to learn professional tips that will bring out your best features and how to hide any flaws you might have.Â
Keep your hairstyle on the simple side and more professional-looking.Â A style pulled back away from the face is nice if it flatters your face shape.Â Avoid bows or fancy clips.Â Do not have strands of hair hanging in or covering your eyes.Â Strange hair colors or patches of wild color are not appropriate.Â Avoid touching or playing with your hair during your interview.Â
Your hands must be clean with your nails manicured.Â Keep your nail color clear or french-tipped.Â Avoid long nails, bright colors or designs.Â If you have acrylics put on, make sure you are comfortable with using them if you typically don't have them on. Â
Show confidence!Â Walk into the room with the confidence that you know that you can be the next Miss Pageant.Â Be confident, not cocky!Â There is a difference.Â You are selling yourself to the judges and no one else is going to do it for you at this point.
Always have a positive point of view.Â Avoid answering any question negatively.Â Look for the positive in every situation and question and find a way to bring it into a positive light.Â Be up-beat and optimistic in your attitude as it will show in your answers. Â
Be friendly and open.Â Smile!Â The judges love a sunny demeanor in a young woman.Â Never speak on a personal level to the judges, such as addressing them by their first name, even if they are familiar to you.
Avoid being silly or giggling.Â Many young women tend to giggle when they are nervous.Â Learn to control nervous habits.Â It's certainly not cute to be a "ditz."
Express the feelings and opinions that you have and not your coach.Â Don't be a "Pageant Patty" and give the typical World Peace type of answers.Â Be yourself.Â A judge can spot a phony personality very easily.
Never chew gum!Â Take a drink of water and don't eat candy mints before your interview as it can make your mouth feel like cotton.
Relax!Â Take a deep breath and think happy thoughts before you walk in.Â It will reflect on your face.Â Don't fiddle with your clothing or jewelry as this will show your nervousness.Â Don't rush into answers and take a moment and collect your thoughts.
Make eye contact with the judges throughout the whole interview.Â If a judges asks a question, look at the judge to begin your answer.Â Make brief eye contact throughout your answer with the other judges but focus on the person asking the original question.Â
Never look down at your lap or up at the ceiling when trying to formulate your answer.Â Keep your eyes at eye level with the judges at all times.Â Looking around makes you look nervous.Â
Never lie on your biography or in the interview.Â Be honest about your accomplishments and feelings.Â They might know more about you and your accomplishments than you realize.
Answering the Questions
Use good grammer at all times.Â Not just for the interview.Â Start now!
- Never use slang or trendy words.
- Use complete sentences when answering.
- Avoid using words such as; like, 'kay, um
- Always say Yes or No instead of yeah or huh-uh
- Learn to moderate your speed in talking.Â Never talk too fast or too slow.Â Many will speak very fast when nervous.
- Finish the endings of your words, especially "ing" such as gettin' - getting.
- Find other descriptive words to use instead of awesome, cool, etc.
- Learn new words.Â Choose a new word each day and practice using it.
- Use language that you are comfortable with.
- Use humor!Â Judges love to laugh.Â This isn't a comedy routine but they do love to see a sense of humor.
- Judges are looking for the "girl next door" that can fit in with everyone.Â Sincerity is very important in all answers.
When answering a question I suggest a "three thought" rule.Â Try to think of three points to make to every question.Â It is usually a good rule for the length of time in answering the question.Â Too much or too little information can hurt you.Â Most judges want to know that you know about the world around you and can answer a question, but they really don't want your whole life story in ten minutes or in one answer.
Having the information to answer a question will give you the confidence you need to look good!
- Study, study, study
- Short personal stories or experiences will add a nice touch if they are applicable to the question and answer
- Know a few quotes that can be used to answer several issues that might be asked.
- Form an opinion on the issues in the news.Â State your opinion in such a way that will not offend a judge but will show you have studied the issue and feel strongly about the way to solve it.
- If you don't have an opinion on an issue tell the judges the facts that you have, but let them know that you aren't sure how it should be handled.Â You aren't expected to solve all of the worlds' problems during your interview.
- If you don't know the answer to a question, tell the judges so they can move on to another question.Â If you have information that relates to the question you can tell them what you do know, but don't go on about it.Â Don't try to bluff your way through an answer as you can end up sinking in the end.
Finishing the Answer
- Finish an answer clearly and don't keep adding "and" at the end when stating a point as this makes you have to continue on with more.Â
- When you finish your answer, smile so they know you are ready to move on to another answer.
When you "know your stuff" the interview will seem much easier for you.Â You need to study so you will have intelligent opinions and answers to the questions.Â Keep notecards or a notebook with the notes on all of the research you do.
Become interested in the world around you.Â Become informed on all of the issues and then form your own personal opinion.Â Make it an opinion that you can stand behind because you have specific reasons for your stance.
- Watch the news and news talk shows and get well-rounded opinions from informed individuals
- Listen to talk radio
- Read newspapers and other current event publications
- Ask others for information and opinions and reasons for their stands
National, State, Community
- Learn the facts about your state - state song, bird, horse, tree
- Know who has been elected or appointed to all of the top government offices
- Be informed on issues that affect your community
- Know the points of interest in your state and community
Personality questions are generally the easiest ones to answer in most interviews.Â But you need to know yourself!
- Who are you?
- What are your personal values and standards?
- What are your goals?Â Short term, long term, educational, professional, and personal
Know your biography inside and out!Â Get it prepared early, copy it, and then know every point on it.Â
- Who is the author of your favorite book?
- Who wrote your musical piece?
- Why is Jane Doe your role model?
Have several people take your biography and make up questions concerning everything that you have stated on it.Â
The internet is a wonderful resource of information.Â You can find facts and opinions on every topic you can think of.Â Your state website is a wealth of information.Â All major news channels have excellent websites that not only report the news, but have opinion blogs.
If the judges give you the opportunity to say something at the end of the interview, use this time wisely.Â Tell them something about yourself that you didn't have the opportunity to talk about with their questions.Â
Get a list of pageant questions and practice them constantly, answering in complete sentences.Â Everytime you travel, have a list of questions with you and practice answering them.Â Have friends and relatives ask you questions off of the tops of their heads all of the time.Â
Set up mock interviews with local businessmen, political leaders, and teachers to help you prepare well.Â Â Ask them to take notes to help you to improve on weaknesses that they spot.