5 Job Interview Tips for MBA Graduates

Students who enroll in an Online Master of Business Administration typically do so as a means to advance their careers. Whether they’re seeking knowledge on how to take the reins of a family business, open the doors of their own startup or climb the corporate ladder, earning an MBA is generally considered a sound step in the right direction.

According to the Corporate Recruiters Survey from the Graduate Management Admission Council, 90 percent of employers said they planned on hiring MBA graduates in 2017. The survey also found that demand for MBAs is increasing. Of course, there are some important steps individuals must take to earn a position with a company hiring MBAs.

Earning your degree from a well-respected institution like Northeastern University’s D’Amore-McKim School of Business is the first step. According to Forbes, 96 percent of graduates from the D’Amore-McKim School of Business are employed after graduation.

Another important step in professional success is passing the initial in-person interview. This step can be a challenging one, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are five tips to help you ace this all-important meeting:

Research The Company

Companies want to hire people who have a genuine interest in them. Don’t show up to the interview with no idea what the company does. A good starting point is the company’s website, but don’t stop at the homepage. Click around the website’s “About Us” page, and the landing pages describing their products, services and leadership team.

Forbes contributor Jon Youshaei pointed out that job candidates have ample opportunity to learn even more in-depth information about the company by reading their blog or looking up their earnings calls or quarterly reports. Additionally, individuals can use Google Alerts to receive emails about new happenings at the company—simply search the company’s name at google.com/alerts and enter your email.

Prepare Specific Examples

Upon graduating from Northeastern’s Online MBA program, students will have a plethora of knowledge regarding financial accounting, business management, information analysis and more. But simply listing these marketable skills isn’t enough to convince a prospective employer—every MBA graduate who applies for the position will have the same information on their resumes as well.

To set yourself apart from the crowd, it’s essential that you’re ready to defend and define the skills on your resume. There’s no better way to do this than to show that you’ve already demonstrated these skills. Identify a few shining moments where you solved a complex problem, led a team to success or used the skills you learned to make a positive change.

Practice elaborating on these instances. The more you do, the more confidently and convincingly you’ll give your answer.

Keep Your Answers Concise

While it’s important to be able to enumerate on your accomplishments and abilities, talking too much can be a critical mistake. Going on about your accomplishments may make you look self-absorbed or as if you think you deserve to be handed the position. On the other hand, over-talking may sound like rambling, which may frame you as unprepared, Monster pointed out. In either case, talking too much can hinder your chances at getting past the in-person interview.

Keeping your answers short and sweet benefits you as well. A job interview isn’t just about the company evaluating you; it’s also about evaluating the company. When you give your interviewer a chance to speak, you’ll also get a chance to learn more about the company, the role you’re applying for and the team you’ll be working with—all information you’ll want to have on day one.

Giving complete yet condensed answers isn’t always easy, but practice makes perfect. Review common interview questions and practice answering them. Brainstorm ways to tailor your answers specifically to the company’s needs whenever possible.

Practice Your Elevator Speech

Companies aren’t just looking for the right skill set or a specific degree; they’re also looking for a good personality match for the team or department they’re hiring for. To make sure they choose a good fit, they’re going to want to know about you as a person. One of the first things your interviewer might say is something along the lines of “So, tell me about yourself.”

This isn’t an invitation to expound your entire life story. As mentioned above, clear and concise answers should be your aim. At the same time, this is your opportunity to show why you are uniquely qualified for the job. Hone what Youshaei calls the “Story Statement.” This is your quick run-down on what draws you, personally, to this role, company or industry. It shouldn’t be too long, but it should be detailed and convincing.

Dress for Success

Workplaces today are trending toward more casual dress codes. But, just because it’s permissible for employees to wear jeans to work doesn’t mean you don’t have to dress up for the interview. This is your one and only chance to make a good impression. Underdressing can make you seem irresponsible, immature or indifferent to the job—not good messages you want to give off to your potential employer.

If the company culture is very casual, business formal may be too much for the interview. While you want to look nice and professional, overdressing may make you look out of place, The Muse pointed out. If you can, reach out to the recruiter or HR professional you’ve been communicating with to learn more information about the dress code.

Once you’ve found your perfect outfit for the interview, feel free to add a subtle touch of personality, Youshaei suggested. Perhaps wear a small pin that shows off your hometown pride or a bracelet that demonstrates your international travels. They could be a good conversation starter that works in your favor. Don’t go overboard—keep it small and tasteful, and don’t choose anything political or remotely controversial.

Take The First Step with Northeastern University

Advancing your career isn’t something that happens overnight. To move up, you’ll need to put in hard work. While acing the post-MBA interview is a key step in your journey, you should first earn your MBA from an AACSB-accredited institution like the D’Amore-McKim School of Business.

Students who graduate from the Online MBA program will have learned important skills that can only benefit their business careers. Further, taking part in organizations, residency courses that can either be completed in the U.S. or internationally, and group work assignments will all sharpen the people skills that are necessary to making a good impression in the interview. To learn more about what you can gain from earning your MBA online with Northeastern University, make an appointment with an enrollment advisor today.