Because many MBA students are still engaging in internship interviews and have not (yet) secured offers, we wanted to highlight a common interviewing mistake: displaying a lack of confidence. This issue can manifest itself in several ways, including a lack of focus during interviews, the inability to clearly communicate the relevance of one’s experiences, and a lack of connection with the interviewer. All three of these scenarios are problematic because they raise red flags for the interviewer about your ability to do the job. In such instances, the interviewer does not get to see the real you, the one who can add value to their organization, so they cannot recommend you for an offer.
To help improve your performance, we encourage you to approach the interview with reflection, research, and action:
- Reflection: Ask yourself, “What is the root cause of my lack of confidence?” Recall other situations in which you did not feel confident. Do these situations have any common threads? Uncover what makes you feel nervous so you can find remedies for it. Perhaps listening to upbeat music, repeating mantras, or practicing mindfulness or reframing exercises might be helpful.
- Research: Analyze the job description, and talk with current employees to identify required competencies and areas of expertise as well as to gather more information about the role and company. Find at least one example from your experiences to match each of those requirements. Prove to yourself that a clear connection exists between where you have been and where you want to go, and use it as a way to prove your relevance in the interview.
- Action: Prepare talking points for your interview. Identify the three or four key selling points you want to communicate about yourself and the three or four reasons you are passionate about the role and company. Practice interviewing (aloud!), and find friends or—even better—people who do not know you well to conduct a mock interview with you. Aim to connect with the interviewer, not impress them. You need to like the interviewer (and their company/role) just as much as they need to like you!
Remember, the firm selected you for an interview, so the interviewer will be eager to hear how you can help the organization and to gauge how you will fit in there. Different tactics will work for different candidates, but you will certainly benefit from being kind to yourself and believing in your abilities.
To learn other strategies for improving your interview performance, connect with mbaMission for a complimentary consultation call with one of our MBA Career Coaches.