Interview Tips for MBAs
With many MBAs graduating in the coming months, a number may still be looking to secure a job post-grad.
Chris Westfall, a contributor at Forbes and career coach, recently discussed the most important question applicants should ask themselves in every job interview: “So what?”
“If you don’t ask yourself ‘So what?’ at least three times, you’re dead in the water before the interview even begins,” Westfall writes. “Why? Because that’s what the interviewer is asking herself as you share your story.”
CONNECT YOUR STORY
Each applicant will have a unique story and background. To stand out, Westfall says, it’s important to connect your story to the interviewer.
“Connecting your story to your interviewer – to your prospective employer – is the thing that is most often overlooked in the interview process,” he writes. “Who decides if your experience is important, relevant and powerful? Answer: your interviewer.”
That’s where asking yourself, “So what?” comes into play.
“Your experiences – no matter how important they are to you – can create a huge ‘So what?’ without connecting your story to your next employer,” Westfall writes. “’Because’ is the word that connects your story to your solution – and positions you as the go-to candidate… That “because” connection links your history to the person that matters most right now – and that’s your interviewer. Whether you’re interviewing with HR or talking to your next boss, connection is always the missing link.”
To connect your story, it’s important to know the key points you want to tell and the supporting stories that will drive that story home.
Malvina Miller Complainville is head of interview practice and an expert coach at MBA admissions coaching firm Fortuna Admissions.
Complainville says applicants should prepare at least five key selling points to offer during an interview.
“Each selling point should have a couple of short stories to illustrate your point,” she writes for P&Q.
Know What The Interviewer Is Looking For
Experts say MBAs should try and understand what an interviewer is looking for when asking questions. According to Lee Susen, Marketing Director at E.&J. Gallo, there are four areas an interviewer tries to understand in an MBA graduate: interest, fit, leadership, and skill.
“Make sure you can answer the following questions: Can you articulate why you are interested in the industry/company/role? Can you demonstrate that you understand the core values of the company? Have you been a leader in the past and are you well positioned to lead people in the future? Do you have direct or transferable marketing skills that can add immediate value?” Susen tells Forbes.
When answering these questions, it’s important to always try and tie your response back to what you’ll bring to a company.
“Make your experience matter to your listener, and bring your skills to light in terms of the company you wish to serve,” Westfall writes. “That service is the first step in creating your next opportunity – and avoiding the dreaded ‘So what?’ in the interview.”