With imminent interview invites for Round One applicants, we wanted to turn our attention to this important step in the admissions process and share a few very basic pointers on interview etiquette. Though the content of your application materials and comments during the interview are of paramount importance, it’s also crucial to put one’s best foot forward and make a positive initial impression. Here are a few guidelines for interviewing applicants to keep in mind:
1) Dress the part. Unless meeting with an alum who explicitly specifies a more casual dress code, assume that business attire is appropriate. We recommend that applicants dress conservatively, opting for a dark suit (pants or skirt are both fine for women) and a blue or white shirt. Steer clear of flashy brand gear and loud ties, and go easy on makeup and fragrances; you want to be remembered for what you say and who you are, not what you wore.
2) Be pleasant. This likely goes without saying, but we wanted to state for the record that in addition to fostering a friendly discussion with your interviewer, it’s also important to be polite to administrative staff and anyone else you might encounter while on campus or in your alumni interviewer’s office. Flippant comments to the administrative assistant at the front desk often find their way up the chain of command.
3) Be aware of body language. In addition to your comments about your experiences, interests and reasons for seeking an MBA, your interviewer will also be taking note of the way you present yourself. You’ll also want to avoid taking notes or reading from your resume; it can be fine to have the latter in front of you as a reference, but remember that you should be familiar enough with its content to focus on maintaining eye contact and establishing a rapport.
4) Follow up. Make sure that you get your interviewer’s card and take his or her contact information in order to send a “thank you” email within 24 hours of the interview. This is not only common courtesy, but could also serve as the first step in forging a lasting correspondence.
While these steps should help readers in one element of their interview presentation, we’ll offer some more content and strategy focused advice next week. Meanwhile, applicants who are curious about what to expect might want to check out the Clear Admit Wiki, which features first-hand accounts of interviews at all of the top programs and the Clear Admit Interview Guides, which offer in-depth, school-specific interview guidance for nearly every leading MBA program.
Good luck to everyone hoping for an interview invite! For personalized interview coaching and school-specific advice, feel free to contact Clear Admit at firstname.lastname@example.org.