Although I am a recipient of the TD Scholarship, I have no experience on the judging committee, so please take my information or advice with a grain of salt. Oh, and good luck!
In general for interviews, I think anywhere from semi-formal to formal is fine. For my interview, I wore a dress shirt, dress pants, and dress shoes – no tie, no blazer. I honestly don’t think the judges really care about your attire as long as it’s presentable.
I believe you are asked to come to your interview for maybe half an hour or so before it’s actually your turn. You get to spend this time with a few past TD Scholars, and feel free to ask them questions and just have a nice relaxing chat. Hopefully the warm welcome will take your mind and nerves away from the situation.
In addition, you will receive an information sheet with a short biography of each of your judges. The judging panel includes Jane Thompson (Executive Director of the TD Scholarship program), a past TD scholar, and around three leaders from the community. The point of the biographies is just to give you a bit of background information on who you will be talking to. Don’t worry about memorizing the biographies, it’s not like you will be quizzed on them or anything! That being said, it’s some good information that you can use to maybe figure out how you can better relate and connect with them.
Inside the Interview
When you enter the interview room, I suggest going up to each judge, shake each of their hands, and get to know their names before sitting down – I think it’s important to know who you are talking to during the interview.
As far as questions, I think they were pretty simple. I found the TD interview process pretty relaxing and laid back. The judges seemed more concerned with just getting to know me than asking me really difficult or trappy questions.
Most of my questions were pretty basic – tell me about this from your application? Why did you start this? Oh, so it says here you are interested in studying neuroscience in university, why? It says here you are in a choir, tell me about that?
Conversely, I never got questions like: What are the most important qualities of a leader? What are your strengths or weaknesses? Nothing like that. All of the questions were just there to learn more about me as a person and the activities I’ve been involved in.
The most important thing is to answer honestly and be yourself. Sorry if that is cliche, but I think not being completely myself is what hurt me at my Loran interviews. During that process, I tried too hard to answer “correctly” instead of answering honestly, and that really messed me up. I think I prepared for a week for the Loran, whereas for the TD, I maybe prepared for maybe 15 minutes the day before, and just decided to walk in and speak honestly – and it worked!
For example, I’m pretty sarcastic as a person and I like to joke around, so I was sarcastic and made jokes when I felt like it in the interview – I didn’t force anything, I just spoke as I would normally speak to people. So honestly, just be yourself, and answer truthfully and from the heart.
At least from my experience, that’s what TD cares about. The want to see real people in their real element. There were even times in the interview where the judges were discussing random ideas with each other and not just asking me questions – that’s how laid back the TD scholarship interview is.
Hope that helps, and best of luck to all the finalists!