Non-traditional Interviewing

Hopefully by now you are getting calls from your target schools to interview, but perhaps you are unavailable to go in person.  Check out these rules for undertaking non-traditional interviews and get the offer.

So what is a non-traditional interview anyway?  Basically, any interview that is not conducted by an admissions committee representative, or is conducted in some way other than on campus and in-person could be considered non-traditional.  Most commonly, it’s an interview conducted by an alum of your school in a mutually convenient location.  Increasingly, it’s a skype or phone interview with someone on the admissions committee.  Sometimes, it’s an interview with someone outside the adcom or alumni world, such as a staff or faculty member. 

No matter which version of the non-traditional interview you might be offered, know that it’s just as important as sitting down with the director of admissions, because it’s likely the only chance you will get to connect live with your school. Although not ideal, interviewing outside the norm can be effective in making an impression. 

The most important thing to do is to take the interview seriously.

If you approach a non-traditional interview with the same preparation and respect you would if interviewing on campus, you will come with the right mindset and set yourself up for success. 

Once you have the right attitude about the interview, you must remember to also present yourself in the same way you would if you were invited to meet with adcom members at the school.  If you would have worn a suit to that interview, wear one to this interview.  Even if interviewing on Skype, it is important to dress the same as you would if interviewing in the traditional way.  Anything less could make a negative impression, and since the “clothes make the man,” (or woman), your physical appearance will go a long way in communicating you are ready for b-school.

Speaking of Skype, make sure you take precautions to ensure your presentation is as professional as possible. 

Try to do the Skype interview in a neutral, quiet and well-lighted location.  Never set up with a window in the background, because the contrast will destroy the look.  Obviously don’t have barking dogs or music in the background, etc., and set the computer or camera on a riser, so the camera is not looking up your nose.  If you can pull it off, setup where you can be standing.  Standing up will make you more energized and is an edge you can have over having to do a traditional, sit-down interview.

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