This is the time of year our first year MBA students interview for their six month corporate residency opportunities. Employers have become very competitive with each other and all want to be first to interview so we kicked off residency recruiting with Interview Day in February. We hosted more than four hundred interviews!
While it was an exhausting but very productive day for students, employers and staff, the feedback was the most critical aspect to me. Employers were impressed that our students were so well prepared. The practice sessions in class and their in person and telephone mock interviews helped them put their best foot forward. It also reminded me that regardless of what stage you are at in your career, when you decide to jump into a job search, everyone needs to update and fine-tune their interview skills. Whether a recent grad or seasoned professional, interviewing is not something we do every day (thank goodness!) so we need to consciously prepare for success and practice as much as possible.
Practice is critical prior the key interview for the new job you really want. Identify your behavioral stories and practice using them to address specific questions. Think about how you explain your decision to make a change. Anticipate the questions you will be asked and fine tune your responses.
Often the pushback is that candidates don’t want to sound robotic or memorized so they avoid practice. In reality, the more prepared you are, the easier it is to adapt on the fly, be in the moment and customize your responses.
Interview Day was a reminder of how critical this skill is in the job search process and how little experience most job seekers have with interviewing. Therefore, the next several updates will focus on critical interviewing skills.