Interview Prep |Dear Potential Yali 2016 Candidate…

Dear Potential Candidate,

Congratulations on being selected for the second stage of the application process. You are already a leader in the making and whatever happens from here on, do not lose sight of what has brought you this far.

The interview will be a run down of your application. The judges want to be convinced that the application is your own. Throughout their discussion with you, they will be looking out for the following criteria;-

• A proven record of leadership and accomplishment in your selected track.
• A demonstrated commitment to public
• The ability to work cooperatively in diverse groups and respect the opinions of others;
• Strong social and communication skills;
• An energetic, positive attitude;
• A demonstrated knowledge and professional experience in the track selected;
• A commitment to return to Africa and apply leadership skills and training to benefit your country and/or community after you return home.

The first time I tried out, I took for granted the public service component. I had assumed that since I was applying for the Public management track, that was my main focus. Do not discount any public service, mentoring or volunteering activities you have been involved with. Do not assume that since the judge already has your application in hand, you do not need to elaborate further.

One of the other questions that I found difficult to answer was – Why I thought I was a leader? Its seems like an easy enough questions until you really think about it. As an afterthought, I realised I should have given a more personal answer to that question. Maybe include the time I stood up to something for the sake of others. Oftentimes we don’t realise how much our character stands out in those seemingly insignificant moments. I digress…

Also have a question to ask the judges. Show them that you have done your research. Do not ask about this sponsored benefits of the fellowship. Ask questions that show you are interested in making the most of the program to fulfill your vision and grow as a leader.

Review your application well and remember what every question means to you. The judges will most likely ask a version of the application questions to get a sense of who you are in person. Check out this blog post from former Mandela Washington fellow with more tips.

Congratulations again and best of luck.


Eldine Chilembo is a 2015 Mandela Washington Fellow from Angola.