Navigating Proper Interview Etiquette

Making a good impression on your MBA admissions interviewer goes beyond simply answering questions well. Knowing how to dress properly and how to navigate certain etiquette issues is also crucial. You want to leave your interviewer confident that you have the maturity and professionalism necessary to succeed after graduation. The following are our answers to four questions that often bedevil applicants with respect to proper interview etiquette.

Navigating Proper Interview Etiquette - mbaMissionWhat should I wear?

Always follow any guidelines the school provides about proper interview dress. If business casual is specified, wear business casual; if business attire, dress in business attire. Jeans, T-shirts, and ripped or unclean clothing are never appropriate. If the school does not specify a dress code, wear business attire for any on-campus interviews as well as for an off-campus interview with a member of the admissions staff. Business casual is often best when meeting an alumnus/alumna off campus, though you may consider politely asking the person you are meeting about proper attire in advance. Showing some creativity and style with your clothing is okay, but do not go overboard—remember that your meeting is a professional one, and your first impression is vital.

I am meeting my interviewer at a coffee shop. Who pays?

If you are meeting an alumnus/alumna at a café or similar establishment for an interview, try to avoid the awkward “who pays?” scenario altogether by arriving a few minutes early, purchasing your own beverage, and then offering to pay for the interviewer’s selection when he/she arrives. If the person you are meeting arrives before you, you might politely offer to pay for his/her drink, but if the interviewer declines, you should not insist.

Should I send a thank you note?

Yes, you should always send a brief thank you note after your interview. Write and send the note as soon as possible after your meeting—the same day or the next is ideal—and be sure to mention specifics from your conversation or your visit. Emailing the thank you is fine. Interviewers usually need to submit their feedback on candidates within 24 hours, so you want your message to be received quickly.

If I am not sure how I did, can I ask for feedback?

No! Feeling anxious about how you performed is natural, but do not ask your interviewer for feedback. Doing so will not help establish you as professional or mature and will instead leave the impression that you lack good judgment (and confidence). Just be patient and wait for the admissions committee to make its decision!

We offer more interview advice in our FREE Interview Primers, which are available for 16 top-ranked business schools. For even more individualized interview prep, check out our one-of- a-kind Mock Interview Sessions!

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