Interview Practice Sessions in the ESSEC Global MBA

By Terrence Huang Yu, ESSEC Global MBA Strategy & Management major 2019-2020

Interviews are one of the most important aspects of the job search. The key to success in interviews is mainly about how to present yourself and your strengths, knowing the company well, and demonstrating how you can bring value to the role.

As part of the Global MBA at ESSEC, there is significant training and coaching on the career aspect offered by the school. One of them is a training on interview skills. There are several rounds of interview trainings, where we practice the general interview, the fit interview, the case interview, and salary negotiation.

Marie-Laure Dahan, our Career Services Consultant, manages the Career Services activities and initiatives for Global MBA participants, and also gives several workshops on various topics. During her seminar on interview skills, she went through the skills and tips for various forms of interviews including online interviews, group interviews, assessment centers and so on.

To prepare for an interview, there are several steps:

  • Know yourself and your values
  • Research the company
  • Practice the interview with your peers and professionals
  • Prepare your attire and know what to bring on that day

After the interview, it is always good to send a follow-up note thanking the interviewers for their time.

In terms of fit questions, one of the best strategies to answer them is the STAR approach, meaning situation, task, action and result.

  • Situation: Describe the situation you were in or the task you needed to accomplish
  • Task: Describe the challenges and expectations.
  • Action: Elaborate on the specific action you took.
  • You then conclude with Results.

Many candidates often forget to mention the results. However, the results are very important. The interviewer wants to see what you've achieved, in order to assess the value you can bring to the company. A solid record of past achievements is a huge competitive advantage.

Besides the interview skills training sessions, there are also mock interview sessions with recruiters from the industry. After the session, the recruiter gives us feedback on our performance with regard to five criteria:

  • Business attire/Grooming
  • Posture/Body Language/Eye Contact/Smile
  • Enthusiasm/Energy
  • Clarity/Conciseness/Structure
  • Concrete/Specific Arguments & Facts

The interviewer will also give feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of the interviewee. These comments are very valuable for my future interviews. I enjoy such activities and my career plan has become clearer after all these exercises.

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