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How to Stay in the Driver’s Seat of Your Personal Interview

These Miss America contestants must have rocked their personal interviews this week, and you can too with these tips. Photo: Miss America Organization Facebook.

The average job interview lasts about an hour. The average pageant interview lasts mere minutes. Dear queen-to-be, you have to quickly share the reasons why you are qualified to win the crown. There is a technique to doing this skillfully.

With the Miss America Pageant well underway, we know that the personal interview is a very important competition to determine who will take home the crown. The women competing must have their interview skills in tip-top shape, and you can too by following these steps. (Read: How Not to Say ‘Love’ in Pageant Interview

How to Stay in the Driver’s Seat of Your Personal Interview

Predetermine Your Most Important Points

Commit to memory three to five impressive things about you and your achievements that you will strategically share during your interview. Here are some possible points:

1. Charming quality
Can you do an impression? Speak French? They’ll fall in love with you!

2. Personal achievement
Did you start a scholarship? Start a S.A.D.D. chapter at your school? They’ll be impressed with your leadership skills.

3. Endearing story, personal or platform
Has someone had a great impact on your life? Have you served others? Overcome personal adversity? Telling stories are powerful ways to quickly connect the judge’s heart to yours.

4. 1-3 Platform accomplishments
What have you already achieved that proves you are a passionate activist for your cause?

5. 1-3 Platform goals
What is your strategic platform plan once you are the wearer of the crown?

Don’t ride submissively in the back seat of your interview! Now is the time to steer your precious minutes with the judge in the direction where you can show why you are so worthy of the win.

How to Get There

Answer the question, and then attach an enticement at the end of your answer that will invite the judge to follow up on the conversation direction you are suggesting.

Judge’s Question: “What is your greatest personal achievement?”

Winner’s Answer: “I am very proud that I maintained my 4.0 GPA while playing varsity volleyball. [You just worked your personal achievement point. Keep going!] And I recently have had some great accomplishments with my platform work.” [Inviting the judge to ask you about platform accomplishment point. Well done, you!]

Now the judge will naturally follow up on your platform accomplishments and you are in the driver seat of the interview. (Read: The 10 Toughest Pageant Interview Questions and How to Answer Them)

One word of caution: No judge wants to be kidnapped. Use this expert level interview technique only if the judge is not naturally asking you questions that touch on your important points. Work the enticement endings in occasionally, subtly and respectfully. Judges have the right to ask any question they like. But YOU are in control of your answers, and if your answers display what makes you worthy of the title, the judge will be dazzled by you, your achievements, and how smooth a ride it was to interview you.

Here are some more examples of ways to initiate enticement endings to your answers:

“And if we have a chance…”
“Which leads me to…
“I’d also love to share with you…”
“And you wouldn’t believe…”
“And if it is alright with you, may I share…”
“And just last week/month/year…”

Now, practice this technique. Queen, you were not meant to sit in the passenger seat of your interview. Grab the wheel. Invite the judge to sit comfortably, and drive straight to your next crown!

Best of luck, ladies!

Sarah Wall Beckman is a former Miss International and has judged numerous pageants at the local, state, and national levels. She resides in State College, Pennsylvania, and is an interview and pageant coach.

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