MBA's Guide: What to do during an interview

BY Nicole Sopkovich   |  

Our candidates always want to know how to stand out during an interview.

We know interviewing can be quite a difficult and sometimes daunting process – you want to ensure you differentiate yourself from the competition and elaborate on why you’re the best person for the position at hand, all while remaining calm and confident.

If you really want the role, follow MBA’s tips for a successful interview:

First and foremost... The basics:

Be Yourself.

Be Professional.

Be Honest.

Be Positive.


Now, let’s dive more in-depth into how to present your best self in your next interview:

1. Know who you're meeting

Research your interviewers! This is a great way to stand out as a candidate during the interview process. Look over their LinkedIn profile and career history, it would be beneficial to understand their background, position within the company, and commonalities between yourself and them. This will help you better prepare and feel more confident to answer questions and position yourself as the best candidate for the role.  If you can’t find any information, ask your recruiter!


2. Arrive Early... but not too early

Obviously, we all know that being punctual is important. This will give you time to decompress after your journey and allow you to collect your thoughts before going into the interview. However, you don’t want to arrive too early, as this could put the company or interviewer under unnecessary pressure. This could also reflect negatively on your time management skills and your value of other people's time. We’d say that 10-15 minutes early is the 'sweet spot.'


3. Take Notes

It is perfectly acceptable to bring some notes with you to your interview. Write down some key points you want to remember as well as key questions that you want to ask about the company. This would be especially useful for those that want to discuss specific figures from previous positions in further detail. Overall, showing up to the interview well-prepared shows that you’re serious about the position and interested in learning more about the company. Bringing a pad of paper and a pen also gives you the option to take notes during the interview. Jot down anything that would be useful to look back on when writing the all-important follow up email after the interview.


4. Be Confident 

Be confident in yourself and your own ability. You want to feel confident and really portray that to those you are meeting with by being well-prepared. It is normal to feel nervous during an interview, but you still want to communicate to the interviewer that you trust yourself and your ability to do the job well. Impress with your confidence by maintaining eye contact, preparing examples, thinking positively, and dressing interview appropriate. Don't forget to really get your personality across, after all, you do want to secure the position for being yourself. & Always remember confidence is key!


5. Ask Questions

Sometimes people often forget- an interview should be a two-way process. Of course, they’ll ask you questions and you should prepare for this with examples of work you've done or figures/stats you may have at hand (if relevant). Our advice for answering their questions is to revert to the STAR method (situation, task, action, and results) to avoid any waffle. Likewise, you should ask the interviewers questions, as this shows your desire to learn more as well as your interest in the company. Don’t be afraid to ask questions either, after all, you want to know everything to properly evaluate if the position/company is right for you! Don’t ask nonsense just to impress the interviewer, focus on what is important to you! Overall, your recruiter should have laid a solid foundation for the role description, salary, hours, days, location etc. So, focus on asking questions like:

- What does a typical day in this role look like?

- Where have successful employees previously in this position progressed to?

- What are the performance expectations of this position over the first six months?

- What is the company and team culture like?

- Is there anything else I can provide you with that would be helpful?

- What are the next steps of the interview process, if any?


Lastly, it is important to understand that for many roles, we quite often find that a strong work ethic, positive mindset and energy are just as important as experience. If you can really showcase your willingness to learn and develop as well as your desire to work for this particular company, you will find that can really help.


For more on what to do BEFORE the interview: check out our previous blog: What To Do Pre-Interview: MBA's prep list



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