I quibbled a good bit about what to call this blog. I ended up with the rather boring and conspicuous "Harvard Interviewer" title simply because I wanted people to be able to find it. I do have some considerable internal resistance to using the (very branded) name of my alma matter to attract readers, but in this case I hope I will be forgiven because I am indeed a Harvard Interviewer, and I hope that prospective candidates will read my blog and hopefully use my advice to make their interviews better.
Things tend to look very different from "the other side of the table." Personal quirks, insecurities, and uncertainties that may seem endearving socially detract from the interview. At worst, they can cost you a positive recommendation. I remember, years ago, sitting across the table at a Barnes & Noble from my Harvard interviewer, a attorney who quizzed me about the finer points of 19th century British law. It had come up in the conversation naturally, and it just so happened that I knew the right answer. When I got my acceptance, I assumed that it was this tidbit of knowledge that had somehow won him over.
I realize now, years later, having sat across that same table for a number of students, that it was highly unlikely. A good interview is not, as some high school students may believe, knowing the right answer to an obscure question. A good interview is being able to create a story about who you are, about your life - and to tell it well. To tell it in a convincing, confident way, to get the interviewer interested and excited about who you are, and to convince him that you would fit in well at Harvard.
In this blog, I hope to help you do just that. Questions and comments are always welcome.