Know your interviewer’s background

I had the opportunity to conduct a series of mock interviews with [mostly] new students at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business.  They were entering the MSIS (Master of Science in Information Systems) program and were on the whole an impressive bunch.

I can see why Kelley ranks so highly on career placement: they put students in front of prospective employers on Day 3.   Sure, they’re mock interviews, but it must focus one’s mind pretty quickly on the task at hand.  While at Babson, I considered my MBA program as essentially a 20 month job search.  I’m not sure that all of my classmates did the same.

To the point of the post: one consistent miss on the interviews was regarding my background. Only two of the students I talked to either asked me about my background or maneuvered the conversation in a way that surfaced it. Many of these folks had ERP or consulting experience. Wouldn’t it have been useful for them to have known that their interviewer worked for 12 years at SAP? Even a brief question — ” How did you end up working for Mead Johnson? — would have done the trick.

Note that one interviewee did Google my name… and pretty quickly figured out I wasn’t the Scottish footballer.

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