So many articles focus on how to prepare for your business school interview (and you should read those articles!), but here I’m going to talk about things you should do DURING the actual interview. Not what you should say, but how you should say it. How should you answer the interview questions? How should you act towards the interviewer? How can you make the best impression?
These 3 tips will help you tackle the how aspects of your b-school interview successfully:
1. Visualize an outline when structuring your answers. You want to answer the questions as clearly as possible, providing all necessary information in an engaging fashion without rambling or boring the interviewer. Being prepared with key stories and experiences will certainly help reduce your “ers” and “ums,” but staying focused and organized during the interview itself will really help you answer the interview questions in full without veering off topic. Visualize an outline as your formulate your answer to ensure that you go from point to point. If asked “What are your post-MBA goals?” don’t begin your answer with “I was born on an army base in Guatemala,” but with “I have three short-term goals and one long-term goal.” Then proceed to elaborate on each of those goals.
2. Be confident. Confidence is essential for b-school and real-world business success, and your interviewer will want to know that you possess the confidence necessary to excel in both. Plus, if you’re confident, you’ll most likely do a better job saying what needs to be said in the most effective manner possible. Nerves are often responsible for tripping you up or causing temporary interview answer amnesia. It’s hard to fake confidence – note how I said “Be Confident” rather than “Act Confidently.” Easier said than done? Yes. But it’s not impossible to convince yourself that you’re confident.
A few tricks:
• Breathe. Take some deep breaths while waiting for your interview and remember to continue breathing once your interview begins.
• Begin and end your interview with a firm handshake.
• Dress the part of a professional business person, and you’ll have an easier time falling into that role.
• Use positive imagery. Thinking happy, confident thoughts and visualizing yourself in a comfortable place or accomplishing or experiencing impressive achievements will help your body relax, enabling you to convey a true confidence.
Remember, if you believe you’re confident, so will your interviewer.
3. Follow your interviewer’s cues. If your interviewer is talkative and bubbly, then he or she will probably appreciate if you work up your chattiness and humor. If, on the other hand, you end up with a slow-talking, no-nonsense interviewer, then you may want to skip the small talk and jump right into a focused no-frills interview.
“3 Day-Of Tips for a Successful MBA Interview” is the next post in our blog series, 9 Secrets to Standing Out, a guide to helping YOU stand out in your MBA application – no matter how ordinary your profile may seem.