Top interview strategies that help MBA students land jobs

June 15, 2018

How successful MBA applicants get hired

2 people talking in a job interview
Job interviews are an opportunity to showcase your unique attributes to employers.

The culmination of one’s education, previous experience and preparation, job interviews are an opportunity to showcase your unique attributes to employers. A competitive job market has placed increasing demands on hard qualifications and impressive resumes, which often steal the focus from the all-important personal qualities employers seek.

Studies show that up to 33 percent of employers make a hiring decision within 90 seconds of meeting the candidate. While these figures might seem intimidating, successful candidates find simple strategies to appeal to employers, allowing their talents and qualifications to carry them through important interviews. From interview preparation to follow-up, these strategies can make the difference between finding a position quickly and an extended job search.

Read on to learn some key strategies that help MBA graduates land their dream jobs.

Candidates excel through research and preparation

Among the interview mistakes that cost applicants jobs, employers highlight a lack of knowledge of their organization.  Given the online presence of businesses in all sectors, pre-interview research has never been easier. While preparing for their interview, applicants are advised to research the specifics of their potential position and the organization’s larger mission. This combined insight communicates an attention to detail, enthusiasm for the role, and an awareness of the bigger picture.

Anticipating interview questions, MBA graduates can prepare adaptable responses on key aspects of their personal history. While this preparation helps prevent hesitant or meandering interview answers, candidates should be careful not to sound too scripted or inauthentic. Prepared applicants are ready to explain why they are interested in the position and demonstrate their knowledge of the company’s mission and values. They are also able to provide an example of past leadership or resourcefulness and list specific business skills that will help them excel.

A man is writing something down in a notebook
Prepared candidates are more likely to persuade managers of their strong work ethic.

Personal etiquette is key for successful MBA applicants

While searching for future colleagues and employees, managers prize a good disposition to complement a candidate’s qualifications. Proper interview etiquette begins with a suitable appearance for business.

In a survey of 2,000 bosses, 65 percent agreed that clothing could be a deciding factor in choosing between two identical candidates. A professional look illustrates interview preparation – and helps potential employers imagine candidates in the position. The same survey also listed limited eye contact, a lack of smiling and bad posture among the factors that weigh against candidates.

Employers are looking for thorough but direct answers from candidates. As business expert Kimberly Whitler notes, MATH is a helpful acronym for questions that test MBA program qualifications. Candidates are advised to make assumptions (M), ask for clarifications (A), think out loud as they work through their answer (T), and – above all – have an opinion (H). After providing an answer, candidates can ask their interviewer if they have satisfactorily addressed the question. Signaling attention to detail, this helps candidates meet employer expectations.

Follow-up is a crucial part of the interview process

While often neglected among applicants, the right follow-up approach is crucial. Following up after an interview summarizes a candidate’s strengths and communicates an ongoing interest in the position. According to an ERE survey, the average corporate job attracts up to 250 applicants, among whom four to six will be called for an interview. Interviewed candidates can improve their chances by maintaining contact with their potential employer – and reiterating their interest in the position.

While employers are reaching their decision, a follow-up message can help candidates ask questions and add clarifications to their interview answers. It also keeps candidates abreast of the company’s hiring process, which may include a further round of interviews. Finally, an appreciative tone helps candidates highlight professionalism and courtesy – two qualities that managers seek in new employees.

A man is shaking hands with a woman
Successful applicants provide continued proof of their suitability for the position.

Are you looking for leading MBA courses to help you land your dream job?

Contact WU Executive Academy to find out more!

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