FAQ - Finalists

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General Questions:
May I reschedule my Truman Interview?
Generally, no.  The only exception is if you must miss your interview due to a documented medical emergency or weather conditions.  If such a situation arises, please contact your Faculty Rep and ask them to contact the Foundation.
May I request a particular time my interview?
Your interview time will be assigned by the Truman Foundation staff.  If you have particular time constraints due to your travel arrangements, please speak with your Faculty Rep.  They can make a request to the Foundation.  We will honor the request if possible.
May I be interviewed over Skype or by phone?
No.  You must be interviewed in person with other Finalists from your home state.
I'm unfamiliar with the city where I am interviewing.  Can I call the Foundation for recommendations?
The Foundation staff may not be familiar with the interview locations.  You will be contacted by a member of the Truman Scholars Association regarding dinner the evening before.  These Scholars are local and an excellent source of information.
Is the dinner the evening before required?
No, but it is recommended.  The Truman Scholars Association plans dinners the evening before each interview to allow you to meet area Truman Scholars and get to know other Finalists.  The events are low-key and a wonderful way to relax before your interview.  Panelists do not attend.  Finalists are responsible for the cost of their own meal.
What should I wear to the interview? 
Most candidates wear a suit or other formal business attire.  The temperature in the rooms is often unpredictable, so you may want to bring a sweater or wear layers.  In some locations, there isn't table between you and the interviewers.  Please consider this when choosing your attire.  You may also wish to practice sitting in whatever you decide to wear.
Is there anything that I should bring to the interview?
You must bring ID to gain entry to many of the interview locations.  The panelists will have your application materials and they will not consider additional items.  Some interview locations will require you to surrender camera phones when you enter the building and others may not allow you to bring liquids.  If you need specific guidance, you may call the interview locations.  Many candidates bring reading material, cards, or other items to occupy their time during the day.
Preparing for Your Interview:
How can I best prepare for my interview?
No amount of preparation can guarantee your selection as a Truman Scholar.  There will be other good candidates with different experiences and interests.  You should strive to present yourself as well as you can and enjoy the day as much as possible.  In advance you should:  
  • Keep up with current events, particularly as they relate to your topic of interest;
  • Have a few 20 minute practice interviews in which you can work on responding precisely and concisely to a wide variety of questions;
  • Think of 2 or 3 things about yourself and your record that you want to be sure the panel remembers;
  • Look forward to meeting other Finalists.  Spending the day talking with them casually, rather than comparing resumes, will help you to be more relaxed during your interview.
What can I expect from the day?
You will spend the day with the other Finalists from your region.  Many of you share similar concerns and interests and the day is often very enjoyable.  There will be a short reception in the morning where you meet the other Finalists and the panelists.  There will be light breakfast items, please plan accordingly. Interviews will begin shortly after the reception.  Each candidate will have a 20 minute interview.  There is an hour long break for lunch.  Finalists are responsible for their own lunch; there will be people at the interview locations who can make suggestions.  The interviews will end in the early afternoon.  Some applicants may be called back for a brief second interview.
Where can I find more information about my panelists? 
The Foundation provides basic information about the panelists in the listing for the Regional Review Panels. You are not expected to know additional information. The interview is about you, not the panelists.
Will I be asked questions about President Truman?
Possibly.  To prepare, you should be familiar with the main accomplishments and issues of the Truman presidency.  You should also be familiar with President Truman's stance on the issues you discuss in your application.
Your Interview:
What will happen during my interview?
A panelist will be assigned to bring you into the room.  When you arrive, please have a seat.  There is no need to shake hands with the panelists or reintroduce yourself.  The questions will begin immediately.  A panelist will announce when you have a minute left and give you the opportunity to give a closing statement.  Many candidates use the closing statement to mention something about their experience or personality that has not been discussed; others simply thank the panel.  After your interview, you may leave the room and join the other panelists.
What is the second interview?
Some candidates may be called back at the end of the day for brief second interviews.  These interviews are usually called to clarify something from the interview or because a question was missed during the first interview.  The second interview is fairly rare and not something that you should worry about.
Will I know how I did after the interview?
Probably not.  It is difficult to tell how panelists feel about your interview performance.  
What are the most common mistakes made during the interview?
The most common mistakes are:
  • Failing to answer the question that was asked;
  • Not being succinct in the responses and taking too long to answer the question;
  • Trying to guess what the panel wants to hear rather than providing an honest answer; and,
  • Being either too staid or too nervous and not permitting the panel to see the personality behind the accomplishments.

Can I find more information about the process?

If you are the sort of person comforted by more information on a process like this one, you can find a long, tedious article about Truman interviews.  This article was written for a faculty audience but might still be helpful to candidates.

When and how will I receive the results of my interview?
We send letters to the permanent address listed in your file and inform your institution.  Scholars will also be posted on the website.  Please consult our list of important dates for more details.
If I am not selected as a Scholar, may I appeal?
No.  The decisions of the panel are final.
If I am not selected as a Scholar, may I request feedback from my interview?
No.  The Foundation does not provide feedback on Finalist interviews.