It can sometimes seem like the hard part is over once you receive an MBA interview request. All your educational efforts have paid off, and you’re one step closer to being accepted into an MBA program. However, you still have to navigate the interview process, and, for some, that can be the most challenging part of all. If you’re worried about standing out for all the right reasons, take note of some of the most common mistakes MBA candidates make.
Not Making Eye Contact
One of the best MBA interview tips to take on board is the importance of eye contact. Failure to make eye contact can make it seem like you lack confidence or, in some situations, have something to hide.
If you struggle to maintain eye contact due to a lack of confidence, consider working on it in advance. Make eye contact before you start talking, use gestures, hold your gaze for at least five seconds at a time, and maintain eye contact with the interviewers for at least 50% of your interview.
Not Answering Questions
You’re attending an interview to answer questions and make a good impression, but it’s surprisingly easy to avoid answering questions and even going off-topic. Knowing that this might ruin your MBA program chances, ensure you’re dedicated to answering every question as requested, even if you’re worried they won’t like the answers.
If you’re upfront about abnormalities or weaknesses in your educational history, the interviewers might see this as admitting your mistakes, taking responsibility, and being self-assured and confident.
Dominating the Interview
The interview is all about you, but it’s crucial to strike a balance between talking too much and not enough. If you provide long-winded answers to questions, there’s a chance your interviewer might tune out or find your answers boring and irrelevant. Answer the questions as directed, and your interviewer can always ask follow-up questions if they want to find out more.
Not Dominating the Interview Enough
While you might be worried about the prospect of talking too much during your interview, some MBA prospects make the opposite mistake by not talking enough. You might be concerned about boring the interviewers but providing short answers might make them think you don’t have anything extra to offer.
Consider practicing the information you’ll be providing, and keep your answers between two and four minutes. Anything under 30 seconds for open-ended questions might be viewed as too short and to the point.
Not Accepting Water
You might not think that drinking water during an MBA interview is an essential factor to consider, but it just might be. Accept water if you’re offered it, even if you don’t think you’ll need to drink it. Not only can a glass of water help when your mouth is dry through talking or nerves, but it can be an excellent buffer to buy time or help redirect or adjust the conversation. When you think you’ve gone off track, you can reach for your glass and bring the conversation back to their initial question.
While you hope to ace your MBA interview on your skills and accolades alone, your composure and interviewing techniques can sometimes count for a lot. Work on your interviewing skills, and you might be surprised at how confident and prepared you feel.