How to prepare for an award panel interview

Being a former winner of the Australian Young Telstra Business Woman of the Year award, and also being a prolific nominator of other people in awards, I’m often asked what my tips are for performing well at interview panels.

So, here’s what I usually tell people:

1. Be yourself, have a personality (preferably yours).

2. Remember they’re looking for someone who will be a good ambassador for the program as well as someone deserving – so think about the brand of the awards program and how well you fit into that (presentation-wise, aspirational-wise, etc).

3. Know your application inside and out for your interview and, this should go without saying, make sure it’s all 100% the truth.

4. Be memorable. When my real estate agency was called M&M Real Estate, my application had M&M chocolates inside it; not a bribe, just something to indicate the type of service we offered to our clients in a fun way.

5. Have a killer answer to the question: “What would change in your life if you won?”

6. I’d recommend setting up your own practice panel of people you trust/value and preferably a mentor or two and have them ask you all the tricky questions they can think of. If you’re going for a businesswomen’s award program be sure to have them throw in questions around: juggling family, balancing act; glass ceiling; and advantages/disadvantages to being a woman in business.

7. And finally, if all else fails, just go with number 1. There’s no point winning any award unless it’s YOU who actually does it. You’ll typically be a representative of that award for at least a year (good lord, I’m still talking about some of my award wins a decade later). That’s a long time to be anybody but you.

From broke at 19 to retired at 27, Kirsty is an entrepreneur, mother, author and lives by the motto Memento Vivere (remember to live).


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