Wednesday, January 26, 2011
It's interview season again, and I'm just about finished with my alumni inteviews for this year. Gary put up a great post a few months ago on nailing your interview. After this year's crop of hopeful applicants, I've got a few don'ts to add to his list. While I had some interview stars this year, there were definitely a few duds. Here are a few tips to make sure you shine.
First, respond promptly when your interviewer contacts you. Both this year and last, I had one student that was tardy in contacting me after I had both called and emailed. The worst offender waited until after I had responded to the admissions office that I had been unable to conduct the interview. Gary had a student last year who didn't respond until after the deadline. For goodness sake, don't let this be you! All you're doing is communicating lack of respect for the interviewer's time, lack of interest in the school, and lack of judgment in believing that this behavior won't work against you.
Next, follow the rules. I always ask students to bring nothing but themselves (read, leave your resume at home!). My alma mater explicitly requests that interviewers not ask about GPA, SAT scores, etc. When you show up with your resume, you're flouting my instructions. Even worse, don't show up with your resume then keep referring to it during the interview. One student this year did just that, and she had trouble responding to my questions because she was focused on covering all of her bullet points.
Finally, resist the urge to have your parents drive you (even if they're hinting that they want to take you). You're about to be "on your own," and bringing your parents to an interview tells me that you may not necessarily be ready for independence (or that your parents don't trust your ability to take care of yourself). Not very flattering, right?
So be confident and BE YOURSELF, and you'll cruise through your interview. Ask questions, engage and resist the urge to yawn (another faux pas this year). Good luck.
If you're looking for more, here's an earlier post on whether the interview really counts.