MBA Job Hunt: Interviewing Like a Pro

Photgraph by Jerome Tisne

First-year MBA students have been put through the paces to prepare for on-campus interviews. This time of year is full of excitement, but also a lot of anxiety. Students put a tremendous amount of pressure on themselves before the summer internship interview process.

Let’s step back and review some basics. My goal is for each job seeker to secure the right role. The search for the right job is a little bit like finding the right date. Before you go on a first date, it’s wise to ask around about your date’s likes and dislikes and background and investigate the place you’re having dinner.

The job search is no different. As you know, being prepared for the job interview is the key to getting an offer.

As you prepare, here are a few items to consider for your interview checklist:

Have an agenda: What are the three or four most important items you want to be sure the interviewer knows about you? How do these fit with the role for which you are interviewing?

Research the company: Have you completed all your company research? Are you comfortable with your knowledge of the organization? If the company tends to provide an unstructured internship experience, have you given thought to how you will sell your ability to thrive in that type of environment? Talk with students at your school or other schools about their experiences with the company. Having some insight into the company before you go into the interview will help you to anticipate some of the questions you may get asked.

Put your game face on: Recruiters understand this is a stressful process. Still, the expectation is that you are a professional who can manage the stresses of the interview. It’s important that you try not to be too nervous. If you have a tendency for sweaty palms or brow, discreetly keep a handkerchief nearby.

Smile: This sounds so simple, but job seekers often forget to smile in an attempt to project a serious image. But communicating warmth and interest in your smile is also important. Maintain eye contact in the interview but avoid a stare down. Be mindful of your body language and make sure you are projecting openness to the interviewer. The important thing is to try to connect with the person sitting across from you.

Use your career center: During this time, it is critical to use the resources of your career center. They are there to help you achieve your goal.

Everyone gets nervous during the interviewing process. But if you know why you are interviewing for the job, are prepared to share relevant experiences and knowledge, and have done your homework in advance, you can succeed.

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