From the Assistant Dean for Admissions: Interview Tips for a Virtual World
Bruce DelMonico offers advice on how to prepare for the fully virtual interview process this year.
With our Round 1 application deadline a little more than a month behind us and admissions interviews now getting into full swing, I wanted to touch briefly on a few aspects of the Yale SOM interview process—some unique to this year, some consistent from past years.
The main difference this year is that we are conducting all of our admissions interviews online for the foreseeable future. Although we are going to miss seeing Evans Hall buzzing with prospective students, current circumstances simply do not allow for in-person interviews, and the truth is that we conduct many interviews virtually every year anyway. In a typical year many applicants cannot get to New Haven for their interviews or meet with our admissions team as we travel the globe for “hub” interviews, so we are already used to getting to know you in an online format.
In the past some candidates have questioned whether there is an advantage to coming to campus and interviewing in person. What’s important to know is that the Yale SOM interview is the same, whether it’s conducted online or in person. Our interview structure is just that: structured. Each interview is scheduled for 30 minutes, and each candidate is asked the same set of questions. This is just one aspect of the process that we’ve implemented to help minimize bias in our application.
As a result of this fully virtual format, we anticipate that even more of you will have the chance to connect with our second-year students. Students have generally conducted the majority of our interviews, but this year, because we are not constrained by specific on-campus interview days, our student interviewers are able to conduct interviews on a more fluid schedule, which opens up more opportunities for you to connect with them. We hope this change translates to your having the chance to better familiarize yourself with Yale SOM during the interview process.
Below are a few tips to make your virtual interview as smooth as possible:
- “Arrive” early: Just as you might arrive early for an in-person interview, we encourage you to log in to the platform a few minutes early to test your technology. There is nothing worse than traffic on the road as you’re rushing to an important event; similarly, there are fewer things more frustrating than scrambling to configure your online connection when you need it most. Take this time to adjust your camera angle, check that your microphone is working properly, and ensure that the space you’re in is free of distractions and your background is as you would like it. Don’t be afraid to use a virtual background—there is a good chance your student interviewer will be using one! The admissions office uses Zoom for most interviews, but if it isn’t available in your region, contact us, and we will work with you to figure out another option.
- Treat this interaction the same as you would an in-person interview: Despite the format, all the norms of an admissions interview still apply. Be sure to do the same prep work you would otherwise do for an interview. While you may not know the questions the interviewer will ask, prepare yourself by reviewing your application and résumé in advance and thinking of examples that support your professional achievements (and challenges!). A reminder: your interviewer will only have your résumé in front of them and will not have seen any other part of your application. Also, despite the virtual format, be sure to dress for the occasion. Coming to the interview in your typical interview attire will help you get into the right mindset—especially if, like me, you’ve become accustomed to more casual sartorial choices in this remote world. Finally, be sure to have some good questions prepared for your interviewer. Remember that this conversation is a chance not only for the interviewer to get to know you, but also for you to get to know Yale SOM.
- Check the time! This is just a quick reminder that all of our interviews are scheduled in the U.S. Eastern Time. This means Eastern Daylight Time until November 1 and then Eastern Standard Time from November 1 through March 13. Be sure to double-check the time and date and that you are scheduling at a convenient time for you given where you are in the world.
- Relax: Perhaps because it’s the last part of the process before applicants receive an admissions decision, there is a tendency for them to put an undue amount of weight on the interview. Don’t! The interview is just one data point that we consider in making an admissions decision; it does not have any more weight than any other element. Especially given the more impersonal-seeming nature of the online format, you may be concerned that you won’t be able to present your best candidacy in the interview. Don’t worry—we’re used to the online format, and while we would always tell you that the interview format does not matter, this year there should be no doubt of that fact, since everyone will be interviewing virtually.
For those of you interviewing this round, we look forward to getting to know you better in the coming weeks. For those of you planning to apply in future rounds, hopefully this advice is helpful as you prepare your application. Best of luck!
Assistant Dean for Admissions
Yale School of Management
165 Whitney Avenue
New Haven, CT 06520-8200
203.432.5635, Admissions Office
203.432.6380, Visitor Center