Ok, so you know you should set up these interviews, but what do you say when you get there?
#1 rule is DON’T BE ANNOYING. Make it worth their time and don’t take more than 30 minutes unless the person you’re speaking with makes it clear they want to continue the conversation. Buy them coffee/lunch/a drink (whatever is appropriate to the setting) and make sure you have clear questions for them. They shouldn’t feel like they need to do the heavy lifting. Have some clear questions for your interview subject. What do they love about their job? What do they spend their time doing? How did they get their job? What advice do they have for you? What educational path did they take? What courses do they recommend? What course material do they actually use in their day to day work? Listen. Most people like to talk, especially about something they love, and hopefully they love their career. (If they don’t, you probably want to find out why not and take that into consideration!) Ask good questions and then listen. Use the snowball effect. Ask them who else they think you should meet. It means more networking for you and gives them an easy reason to follow up with you (or for you to bug them “I remember you offered to put me in touch with so-and-so.”) Be ready to tell them who you are. They are likely to ask you “Who are you and what are you interested in career-wise?” Be ready to give a clear and concise answer. Don’t say “Oh, I don’t know. I’m interested in everything and need a job.” You want to appear driven, passionate and clear on what you want. You don’t have to be so specific that you pigeon-hole yourself, but you need to give them something to work with. If you’re asking them to pass along jobs that might be of interest to you, they need to know how to narrow it down to what you’re interested in, and qualified for. Thank them for their time. Do it at the end of the conversation, and by email afterwards. Remind them of any asks (to introduce you to someone else, to pass along opportunities they hear about, etc.) and thank them again. You want something from them, so don’t give them a reason to write you off. So to summarize: don’t be annoying, have questions, listen, use the snowball effect, be ready to tell them who you are, then take the interviewee for their time. Simple enough, right?
Thank you very much for this post. I’m about to take some interviews with the admissions team and I’m a bit nervous trying to have everything set right.
This post gave me lots of tips to be ready for the time of the interview and to avoid make mistakes.
Thanks you again
Noah Morton says
We are glad that you found this post helpful, Francisco! I am Noah, a consultant with The Art of Applying. Hopefully, this is still helpful for you and someone else in that situation.
Making a first impression matters and reviewing materials for the interview can be a daunting activity! Of course, nervous may creep in as well. Relax. Breathe. You got this! In addition, we are here to help too! Whether it is Mindset coaching, conducting mock interviews or discussing interview strategies, we have a decade of experience of working with clients, who have been successful in the interview and graduate admissions process. Here are some Client Case Studies.
While we don’t provide free 1:1 advice via our blog, we’d love to chat more with you about your interview process, and how we can help. We offer hourly coaching as well. Here is the link to continue the conversation.