May 14, 2018 at 12:00am ET By Alyssa Walker

Did you just graduate or are you graduating with your MBA soon? Congratulations! You've probably already thought about it, but one thing you need to know for sure: how to sparkle and shine at your interview.

With some basic preparation and understanding of who you're meeting, why they're hiring, and why they want to interview you, you'll be ready to ace just about any question that comes your way. 

Let's take a closer look at six strategies you can use to prepare for the best interview of your life. 

1. Prepare

This may sound like it goes without saying, but you'd be surprised.

Yes, you need to prepare for your interview. We'll get into specifics in strategies #2-#6, but suffice it to say that before you get to those, you have more work.

For example, you should research the company a bit. Go online. Find out who does what, figure out any history that you can, understand their background, their products or services, and their desired audience.

Learn about their salary structure. You can use resources like glassdoor to get a sense of how much people earn--and what you can expect as a ballpark.

Your resume is key--it's part of what gets you an interview. Your resume should be tip-top. Need help? Ask an advisor or trusted mentor.

Lastly: be on time, maybe even a bit early. Dress to impress--but not to distract. 

2. Think about the questions ahead of time

Hard to do if you don't know who these people are, what they're all about, and why they want to interview you. Go back to number one if you can't d this one yet. 

These questions are hard to generalize, but you can bet that you'll hear at least some form of each of the following:

Describe a problem that you had at work--or at school--and how you solved it.

What are your interviewers looking for? How you handle a stressful situation. The best way to do this is to think of a story that shows you persevering in a stressful situation. See # 6. 

Why are you a good fit for our company?

You need to show the interviewers that you know the company inside-out--and that you have something to contribute to their overall goals. How will you drive this company forward?

Why should we choose you?

Tread carefully here, because you want to appear confident, but not arrogant. There are lots of other MBAs applying for this job. What is it about you that makes you a good fit? Come up with something interesting about yourself that makes you stand out--and simultaneously makes you blend in with the company's ethos. 

3. Establish trust

Really tough to do with someone you've just met. If you can't establish trust, exactly, establish authenticity. Be who you are--the professional version. Give your interviewer a great "gut feeling" about you. If they can't trust you yet, give the attitude that you are someone they can and want to trust. 

How? Act comfortable, be honest, and monitor your body language. Try to get a sense of work-related interests or hobbies that you enjoy. 

You have a short amount of time: make it good.

4. Understand what the interviewer wants

Also hard to do, because you've probably never met this person. The interviewer wants to know if you're a good bet for a hire. Project all those great qualities in #3--and mean them--and you'll give them the sense of an honest, diligent, creative team player. 

Let's break it down. They're looking for your interest, whether you're a good fit, whether you can lead, and your skill level. In other words: do you have what it takes to work wherever it is you've applied? 

5. Brush up on your MATH skills

No, not what you think. Yes, we hope that by this point your math skills are stellar, but we mean the MATH framework. First, Make assumptions, then Ask clarifying questions. Think aloud as you work through possible solutions. Most importantly, Have an opinion that you can state clearly and articulate rationally. Be ready for questions.

6. Prepare a few stories to tell

This whole interview is about you. You should have stories ready, ones that you can tell easily. They should be about difficult situations and how you dealt with them, challenges you've faced, successes you've experienced, how you dealt with a difficult boss, your biggest weakness and how you're working to overcome it, something you're proud of and why.

Remember: this is about interviewers determining whether you have what it takes for success at their company--and how you'll fit in.

GIve it your best shot.

Learn more about earning your MBA. 

 

Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.

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