Congrats on landing that coveted interview spot at your top choice school. What, you got a bunch of invites? Rake them up! Now let’s prep you for them. Here are 5 tips to help you march towards that interview confidently.
1. You deserve this!
Getting an interview spot is a big deal! It means you have made it past thousands of applications to be considered for a slot in the upcoming class of that school. It means you are that good and you should appreciate and acknowledge that! Know that more than anything, this school would be lucky to have you, so walk into this process with a winning mindset already. You got this!
2. Know your story
Reread your own application thoroughly and know your story well. Your interviewer is here to learn more about you and you should be able to give color to the words you wrote on paper. Remember the themes of the school, for instance I am a Michigan Ross alumni and the big themes there are collaboration, impact and leadership, to name a few. Think about all the situations where you have demonstrated these qualities because throughout your interview that is what you will be illustrating over and over again. I have a practice where I keep a running spreadsheet list of my “strong” stories in the CAR format (Context, Action, Result) and I mark them with what qualities they portray. These are the stories I use in my interviews all the time.
3. Know your school
Research interview practices for your school. Reread about them in general but also find out their past interview questions and experiences of others with them. You also probably talked to a lot of alumni on your way to this interview table. It is good to go back and check in with them again, as good networking practice, but also to gain more insights into interview prep for the school. If you know your interviewer, research them too. The more specific information about experiences at the school you know, the better you can illustrate your interest in it as a candidate and determine your fit for it.
4. Practice, Practice, Practice
The only way to know how well you are going to do at an interview is to practice. Find people to mock interview you and practice saying your answers back to a variety of questions. Be specific with your feedback and work on it with each turn. Almost all interviews this year will be virtual which is a more challenging environment to make an impression. Practice it. Find that good spot in your home, with good lighting and where your internet is stable. Practice how to sit upright, look straight at the camera and be engaging. Record yourself in some of your mock interviews and learn from the recording. The more you do it, the better you will get!
5. Answer the questions
This is one of my biggest things to practice and my personal pet peeves when giving interviews. People tend to answer questions in a roundabout way and expect me to dig through the trash to get to their essence. Don’t be that person! Alumni interviewers at my school have to compile pages of feedback about the interviews they are giving. The more you are crisp and direct in your answers the more help you are to them and the more memorable you will be as a candidate. We will discuss this further in the next blog post on acing that interview
Good luck out there and if you need more help with preparing for your interviews, get in touch with me at email@example.com for an interview prep session.