A Book Review in Entry Interviews

“What book are you reading right now?”

One of my favorite questions when I accompany young adults in their preparations for university entry interviews or scholarships. We practice the upcoming interview with questions that could possibly be asked.

Typical reaction of my mentee is a strained thought about which book it is.

“It’s not meant that exactly,” I then add, “but in such a way that you think about a book that you can tell me a lot about and that is important to you.”

“Oh, that’s right,” it comes then. “Jane Austen is one of my favorite authors. That’s also in my CV. And ‘Pride and Prejudice’ is a novel from which I took a lot with me.”

And so we dive into the content and the insights gained from it of my counterpart. It is about social norms and class differences, prejudices and personal growth. Timeless themes.

In my commission work on the entrance examination to the Studienstiftung, I also occasionally ask the question about the current book in hand. Simply because I like to talk about literature, learn new things myself and get an idea of the reflective abilities of my interlocutor.

After a few days, the feedback from the conversation above arrived. With a smile on the face, I am told that it worked. “And you don’t believe what the opening question was,” I am informed.

The interview actually began as follows: “I saw in your CV that we have one thing in common, our fondness for Jane Austen.”

One can imagine the course of the conversation on this and then on other topics. Discovering commonalities that create connections are wonderful bridges on which you can easily cross even raging rivers. And that is not only true for entry interviews.

➡️ And what about you? What book are you reading right now?

I am Bernd Scharbert and my task as a mentor and companion of leaders is to ensure that virtual, globally composed teams can be successful. Feel free to follow my hashtag at LinkedIn, #prepare4landing or visit my blog.

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