I’ve done a half dozen college interviews with local alumni or admissions reps and on the whole they’ve gone really well. In-person interactions definitely work to my advantage. At first, the interview follows the normal contours. "What is your favorite class?" "What do you do in your free time?" "What do you do at school?" But soon enough we trek off the beaten path as I try to explain who I am and what I do in 45 minutes.
My approach for these interviews has always been to be casual and avoid "talking points" or anything else that reaks of superficiality. The upside to this is I establish an authentic, genuine bond with the interviewer. The downside is that when I don’t stick to a script, what I say reflects what’s on my mind – which is pretty much everything under the sun analyzed in multiple ways with ten different parenthetical asides and then a few counterarguments and a few more anecdotes.
Consequently, in virtually all of my interviews, I’ve just instinctually talked a mile a minute about what I’m thinking about: entrepreneurship, religion, emotional intelligence, Americanism, books, morality, etc etc. It probably has made no coherent sense!
The story of my life, at the moment, is the world of ideas with impact – finding them, creating them, analyzing them, challenging them, discussing them. I can think of no more honest – or messy – way to present this story than talking about the ideas themselves. Besides, this is far more interesting than mundane topics like "favorite class at school"!