In this blog post, we’ll take a look at alumni interviews and tips on how to crush them. The key thing to note from the get-go is that alumni interviews are very different from an official interview done by deans or school officials. An alumni interview is between you and a graduate from the school. They are less formal and are often just conversations at a location picked by the graduate. This interview weighs little on your admission but it serves as an opportunity for them to put down a few notes on you and for you to ask questions about the school. Here are five tips to help you do well on your alumni interview.

Tip 1 – Always Do an Interview (With a Few Exceptions)

It is recommended that you always ask for an interview and that, if you have a choice, do an official interview if you are outgoing and normally get along with people. Nevertheless, you may get an alumni interview that may last from about 15 minutes to an hour. The couple of exceptions from doing an interview is if you have social anxiety and just aren’t comfortable in social situations or if you speak English as a foreign language. These types of interviews are not mandatory by any means, so if you find yourself having these exceptions then just don’t do an alumni interview.

Tip 2 – Dress Right

Dressing for an alumni interview is not the same as if you were going to dress for an official interview. In fact, overdressing for an alumni interview can be awkward especially if the interviewer chooses somewhere casual, like a coffee shop, and you come in dressed with a full suit. What you can do is look up your interviewer beforehand on Google and see what they do during the day. They will most likely be wearing what they usually wear to work so you can gauge you attire based on that. The safest bet is to just dress business casual so you are dressed nicely but not overly dressed to where it is unnecessary.

Tip 3 – Connect

The main goal in these interviews is to have the person interviewing you like you. The interviewer in an alumni interview is not from the admissions office and doesn’t know your scores or grades. Act natural and be yourself. Don’ come off as robotic with your answers or sound nervous, chill out. Try to leave an impression that you are confident and have genuine interest in the school.

Tip 4- Come With Questions

Here is a quick interview hack: letting the other person talk during the interview serves as a way of connecting. Psychologically, people like people who listen to them. Be interested, have questions to give them time to speak and be ready to listen.

Tip 5 – Have Something Interesting to Talk About

When preparing for any interview, make sure you have answers to common questions such as:

– Tell me about yourself.

– What do you think is your greatest strength/weakness?

– Tell me about a time you confronted a challenge.

– Have you ever had a failure?

– What are you interested in?

– What do you think makes you stand out the most as a candidate?

Also, have something to talk about in a conversational way. Bring up a TED Talk, NPR show you listened to, articles you’ve read. Anything to make you sound like an intellectual so you can hold your own and demonstrate you can hang with a person in the academic community.