Interviews are another piece of the application puzzle and another opportunity to show how great of an addition to a business school’s class I will be. At first glance, I thought that since interviewing relies on many of the same themes, thoughts and stories I used to write essays and fill out applications, it wouldn’t require too much additional preparation. But, the format of interviewing requires a different state of mind – one that I hadn’t paid much attention to until I started practicing interviews with someone else.
When I first did a mock interview with a friend, we both noticed that my answers were a bit stiff and formal, like a canned response. The content of my answers was fine, but it didn’t allow my personality to shine through. After a few more questions, I finally realized that I had been speaking like I was writing essays. In fact, my friend observed that an interviewer “shouldn’t be able to hear the commas” while I spoke. Not good. Especially with an interview coming up before the end of the year.
In essay writing, it’s fine, and probably preferable, to include structured sentences and paragraphs to convey a complete picture. But, an interview is an informal conversation, a set of brief back and forth questions and answers designed not only to convey my story but also a sense of how I think on my feet and respond emotionally to different situations. As much as essays can give a sense of a person, speaking with someone can connect people in a way that reading written words can’t – assuming I don’t speak like I write.
My essay-writing mindset positioned me to receive an interview, but it won’t help me receive an offer of admission. In the end, I just needed to stop heavily filtering what gets sent from my brain to my mouth, like I do in everyday life.