Being a Career Advisor sometimes feels like re-living the recruiting season again. Here are a few tips that I benefited from last year.
Be focused, yet have the big picture in mind. "I" should be the focus of your recruiting, instead of statistics or odds. All too often, I get asked questions like "What is the percentage of people that pass the first round interview?" or "How many offers are allocated to Chicago Booth?" In reality, most companies gave out offers truly based on the merit of interviewees, instead of simply meeting a quota. I tried to focus on how I could perform my best and continued trying to improve in every interview. In contrast, a more stressful (and less efficient) way to approach interviews is to spend too much time worrying about which slate you are on, and how you will compete against your peers. Being collegial with your classmates better represents the Booth spirit, and helps make the school more successful, and ultimately will help you in your career down the road.
Be confident but not arrogant. This sounds like a cliché but it's often easier said than done. Start with the right mindset. Be confident in your ability and all the hard work you've done to prepare for the interviews. At the same time, don't fall into the trap of underestimating the challenge. Be aware of the first impression you leave and calibrate accordingly. If you come across as quiet or self-doubting, try to give a firm handshake and use a more assertive tone to help exude confidence. Alternatively, if you appear intense or even intimidating, smiling more can never hurt.
Be detail-oriented, not obsessive. On campus interviews can be hectic. You may have two or three interviews on campus, but then have to travel downtown or to other cities for final rounds. I found it helpful to create a checklist of small details to review like bringing copies of my resume, my wallet, put my cell-phone on silent, etc. Getting these details down on paper can help to take the stress off of your mind. After each interview, try your best to forget your "blunders" (they may not even be real "blunders"). Focus on giving yourself constructive feedback, instead of obsessing over one or two small mistakes you've made. Your performance is assessed holistically. Although you can never be too careful, one or two poor responses will rarely break the deal.
Always remember we've got your back! No matter if it's your favorite second years or Career Coaches, we are here to help you survive and thrive in this process. In addition to providing mocks to practice those behavioral and technical questions, we can also serve as a good sounding board and will help calm your nerves. I still remember those relaxing lunches I had with second years really helped in keeping me sane last year, so don't hesitate to reach out and utilize our help in this stressful process. Best of luck!