Book Review: How to Interview Like a Top MBA

Over the summer, why not make a little investment in yourself? In addition to the part-time job, internship, or even the vacation that you take this summer, consider building up your interviewing skills. You can learn some new interviewing tips by visiting your career center or investigating online, as well as through something as simple as reading a book.

For the last several years, one of the best resources I have used in terms of educating students on the topic of interviewing is the book: How to Interview Like a Top MBA: Job-Winning Strategies From Headhunters, Fortune 100 Recruiters, and Career Counselors, by Shel Leanne. If you aren’t an MBA, that is OK- don’t let the title fool you.

How I have used it

I have used this book to educate myself, to create resource sheets and mock interview feedback forms, and to create and deliver presentations on the topic of interviewing. The book itself is one that anyone can use to help improve their interviewing skills. I have referred a large number of the students that I work with to this book, and all of them have found it helpful.

One of the reasons that I think that this book is a great resource is because it addresses many of the issues that students commonly have when it comes to interviewing. It is organized into different sections, so you don’t have to read the book in order. The advice comes from a collection of recruiters, headhunters, and career counselors. While it has a catchy title that speaks to “MBA’s”, the information is transferable to any industry.

What it covers

This book covers many of the issues that most interviewing resources do such as: top interviewing mistakes, how to do your homework when researching employers, how to make a good first impression, and more.There are sections that cover concrete examples of how to address issues like low GPA, gaps in employment, and tying transferable skills to your job search. Also, there are exercises to help you categorize your strengths.

I found this book helpful, because I believe that most students know they need to do their “homework” on a certain industry or employer, but they may not always understand how to proceed. By reading through the section on researching, some clear areas are identified in relation to what you should know about an organization or industry for an interview.

My favorite part of the book is the last section where ”100 tough interview questions” are outlined.  The strength of this section is the fact that it shows the interviewee how to address a tough interview question by illustrating four keys:

What they are looking for: Why is the employer asking this question?  How can you “read between the lines” and get to the heart of what the employer is looking for.

Sample Answer: Provides an example of a suitable answer. I would suggest using this example to help you put together an answer in your own words that highlights your own strengths.

Analysis of Answer: Not only analyzes answer, but also provides the “why” for how this was a positive answer.

What to Avoid: Teaches the reader how to avoid answers that can potentially hurt them. Remember, that great interviewers find a way to connect their experience to the skills, and abilities that their audience necessitates.

How to find it

I have seen this book in many collections, including many Career Center libraries. I know that my school provides it in hard copy and an electronic version at our campus library.

It’s also a cheap investment. As of this writing, you can find it on Amazon for roughly $10, or used for less than $5.

ISBN-13: ( 978-0-07-141827-0 )

ISBN-10: ( 0-07-141827-X )

Have you read or used any books that might be just as good? Please let me know, by commenting on this piece.


Joe has five years of experience working in the career development field. He is currently a career counselor at the San Jose State University Career Center. He enjoys assisting students throughout all phases of the career development process so that they can discover and achieve their career goals. His areas of specialization include: experiential education, resume development, interview preparation, job search strategy, and assessment inventories. In his role, he also serves as the community manager for the Career Center’s social media outlets. Joe holds a Bachelor’s degree in Child and Adolescent Development and a Master’s degree in Counselor Education both from San Jose State University.When he is not working, Joe is passionate about fitness, soccer, football, fantasy sports, reading, writing, and nutrition. Connect with Joe on Twitter or follow samplings of his work via the SJSU Career Center Blog and Facebook fan page.

Related posts:

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  3. Oops, That Interview Did NOT Go Well

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