Most MBA interviews are still virtual this year and your strategy should adapt accordingly. Harvard Business School MBA Interview will be conducted online, as well as admission interviews for Stanford GSB, Wharton, and Yale SOM, among other top schools (this includes Wharton’s dynamic team interview).
It may seem like video interviewing is a downside, especially for the extroverts among us who are fueled by sharing the energy of others. But the virtual interview has its benefits, as well as some unique considerations to prepare you to make a personal connection and a positive impression.
Of course, there are additional pressures related to lighting, sound, internet connection and / or technological issues. Attention to both engagement and the environment is a must, in addition to the other vital preparation for MBA interviews you will lead. What’s more, what to wear for the virtual MBA interview takes special considerations, as my colleague from Fortuna Karen Hamou covered in her popular article.
With so much at stake, what can you do to ensure the best possible conditions for a great video interview?
I have developed seven top tips for a successful Virtual MBA interview, which includes great insights and insights from my Fortuna Admissions colleagues.
7 ESSENTIALS OF THE MBA VIDEO INTERVIEW
- Adopt your “business mule” style.
I like this playful and honest emblem of our experience of working in quarantine: the “business mule” or “mule outfit” formal up, party down. Before you pick up your Zoom shirt, remember to keep your audience in mind and dress accordingly. Business casual should be the base, skewing formal affairs (men’s suit jacket and tie, women’s jacket) to suit your academic or professional interests. “As illogical as it may sound to dress for a call in your living room, you will rarely feel uncomfortable OVERDressed – but you might end up feeling uncomfortable UNDER DRESSED,” Karen writes in his related post. “That said, the interview is all about authenticity, so if wearing a tie bothers you to the point of distraction, go with your gut,” Karen points out that you want to stand out with what you say – not what you say. that you wear – so save the big fashion statements for a welcome week and err on the side of conservative in terms of clothing and personal care – at least from the waist up. (No one will be wiser if you always wear pajama bottoms.)
- Stage your background.
Video is as much about what you see as what you hear. Make sure the space behind your camera is clear and unobstructed. Film yourself against a single wall if possible, to keep the focus where it should be – on you. Any larger plan of your room in the background should be neat and organized. No passing people, animals or distracting piles of laundry in sight. You can definitely have a small plant or a small frame to give your shot a bit of personality. If you’re using Zoom, try experimenting with settings like choosing to “blur” your background or “touch up” your appearance.
“I will never forget a Skype interview especially from my days at UCLA Anderson Admissions,” reflects Jessica Chung de Fortuna, former associate director of admissions at UCLA Anderson. “I have no recollection now of who he was, what he said or what he was wearing, only that I couldn’t stop staring at his messy and unmade bed in the background. This tidbit entered my post after the interview. As with your attire, you want to be memorable for all the right reasons.
- Give your face the best glow.
Test beforehand to make sure your lighting is strong, not too bright or too dark. Face the light to give the interviewer the best view of your face. Try to move your screen to different places in your house to get the best light; some customers use small light rings that are easy to attach near your computer’s camera. I had a client who looked constantly sweaty, so I recommend blotting papers from the pharmacy. As mentioned, if you are on Zoom, you can take advantage of the “retouch my appearance” feature (Settings> Video dialog> “Retouch my appearance”). Speaking of glow, according to Stitch Fix, the three colors that suit everyone are to blush, red and black, although you can check out their handy guide to find the colors that look best on you.
- Adjust your technology.
With flawless internet connectivity, you’ll want to make sure you have excellent sound quality. Find a quiet place and use headphones to improve the sound (they can reduce unexpected background noise). Your voice should be the only one heard during the interview. Your voice should be clear and easy to hear when speaking at a normal tone and volume. Make sure your computer settings are updated – Zoom, for example, makes frequent changes that require updating to function optimally. Check that your microphone is working properly and that the computer settings are updated for audio. And by all means, make sure the link is working before trying to open it at the time of the call.
- Play home advantage.
Write down a few bullet points or talking points or describe a quick structure, for example, the main answer and supporting examples. Corn avoid too many scripts – you want to appear fluid and natural in front of the camera. “A great result is that you have the flexibility to put things outside of your interviewer’s line of sight,” says Sharon Joyce of Fortuna, former associate director of admissions at Berkeley Haas. “You can have sticky notes with keywords or messages on your wall. Just a few “cliff notes” in the background to help you lift yourself off if necessary. Having said that, consider a few post-its at eye level to jog your memory or focus; you don’t want to read full sentences from a script prepared in advance or have your eyes on the play. The interviewer can tell if you are reciting, which will hurt your authenticity.
- Express confident body language.
While most candidates focus too much on what to say, how to say it – as well as other non-verbal cues like maintaining eye contact – can have an even greater influence on how they feel. you leave with an admission guard. Eye contact is very important – although it’s tempting to look at yourself on your screen, be sure to engage the interviewer by looking at the camera instead. It is true that it is not easy to do. As you practice, take inventory of your visual rapport – from your posture and expression to your breathing, gestures and energy. Remember to smile: when you’re having fun, it shines through and creates a bond with the viewer (you’re in front of the camera, after all). You can also choose to turn off auto-view, which can help make yourself less aware of yourself.
Play around with the posture to see what works best for you. I am a fan of more energy. Sharon is a big supporter of adding a two minute power pose to your pre-interview ritual, popularized by HBS psychologist Amy Cuddy in her TED talk. Not only is this a setup for a more effective interview experience, but research also shows that it strengthens your internal state by making you feel more powerful. As you do, visualize success. Ask yourself what is the number one thing that I want my interviewer to remember me?
- Register and correct the course.
Check in when you practice. What kind of impression do you give? Are you friendly and approachable? Would others feel comfortable working with you? Did you manage to avoid the overuse of “um”, “like” and other filler words? If you are lucky enough to have more than one interview, the subtle recording of your experience will allow you to debrief. “For some of my clients who are particularly worried, I have told them to record their MBA interview on their iPhone,” says Sharon. “We will listen to it together and I will be able to give very specific comments before the next interview. “
Remember, one of the biggest benefits of interviewing from your own space is that you can create the conditions to feel more relaxed. (No one will be wiser if you are sprayed with soothing essential oils or the aroma of freshly baked cookies.) Know that this year, in particular, many students are going through the same thing – so by no means a business school will penalize your application for having participated in the remote interview.
That said, perform the standard pre-interview rituals: identify your main selling points to provide clear and concise answers, practice responding to the camera to be as natural and confident as possible, and stay grounded to let your experience shine through. personality.
If you’re looking for some extra support before the big day, you can Register for the preparation for the MBA interviews with one of the former MBA admissions controllers at Fortuna Admissions. And don’t miss this related article from Malvina Miller Complainville, Interview Manager at Fortuna, to learn more. MBA interview tips, including information on the interview landscape with M7.
Judith Silverman Hodara, EdD, is Director of the Fortuna Admissions MBA Admissions Coaching Firm and former Interim Admissions Director at Wharton. For a candid assessment of your chances of successful admission to a high-level MBA program, enroll in a free consultation.