Practise answering questions, rehearse your interview demeanour such that making eye contact, smiling calmly and addressing all members of the panel seems natural and not forced. Read the complete article below to know more.
Interview during the MBA admissions process is the “Code X” which is not the easiest to decipher. However, whatever may be the answer to this magical code letting your true personality shine is the most important aspect during the interview. The problem is that many students while preparing for the entrance exams don’t spend half as much time getting to know themselves; as they spend on learning about the external world. Then they get stumped in an interview with questions like: What excites you? Or what is your opinion about a certain issue? Being able to answer these questions with spontaneity and honesty is what can help you have an interview ready personality.
If you got a gift-wrapped present the first thing you would want to do is to tear open the wrapping to see for yourself what is inside it. But when it comes to your own personality, which is full of wonderful strengths and growth areas, most people are happy to let it go unexplored and just go with the flow. But during school and college if you take the time to get to know yourself and carefully polish the various assets that you have then during the interview process you will easily shine through with your unique strengths and sincere earnestness. The advantage of knowing oneself is that you can answer with depth when you are faced with questions like Why MBA? Why this specialization? What are your hobbies and how will they benefit you during the MBA? Tell us about yourself? As you can see there is no one correct answer to any of these questions and yet students fail to get the golden key because they answer these questions in clichés rather than genuinely through their own thought process. Before you go into that interview, take the time and effort to introspect about yourself and genuinely find your own answers to some of the questions above. Taking time to find your reality, other than the primary desire to earn a big salary, will help to set you apart from hundreds being interviewed. Thus when you are faced with these questions you can back your answers with solid examples from your personal life.
The stress-free interview
Learning a few simple stress management exercises can really help you to manage those butterflies. For instance, taking a few deep breaths before the interview can help you to focus or shaking your whole body from top to bottom in the privacy of the bathroom can help you release some nervous energy out of your system. During the interview, sometimes pausing for a few seconds can help you collect your thoughts. Rehearse your interview demeanousr such that making eye contact, smiling calmly and addressing all members of the panel seems natural and not forced. Before the interview, practice answering questions in front of the mirror, with your friends or even parents of your friends such that you don’t let nerves mar your true personality. The classic things your parents say about sleeping on time and not missing a meal before an interview such that you can reach the venue before time and collect your thoughts are still true.
The “CAP” for your interview
As they say, a diamond does not shine in the rough, it is important to polish it and make sure that its true shine gets reflected. In this case, you are the diamond that needs to shine during the interview such that the panel can see your potential. Therefore, it is important that before walking into the interview, you should be well-armed with the knowledge of what is expected of a person after an MBA. Some of the key personality traits of a manager, in my opinion, are confidence “C”, mental alertness “A” and poise & presence of mind “P”. The interview panel, very often, will attempt to assess whether you have these three “CAP” personality traits or not. During the interview, therefore, it becomes important that you display these traits peppered with your ability to handle stress and use of common sense. Many of these personality traits take a lifetime of practice to develop and I would encourage you to refine these skills as a regular habit.
The open-minded interview
One of the most common mistakes candidates make during an interview is that they don’t listen. Active listening is an art in life, which can help you succeed or fail miserably. Just as the interview panel is listening to your verbal and non-verbal language you need to do the same. Listen to the non-verbal nuances as well as what is being said. If an interviewer presents an alternate view, don’t get into an argument and try and prove yourself right.
It’s not really about being right or wrong
Life is very rarely about always being right. Express your opinion, present the facts that you know to be correct and be willing to concede the opposing view. You could use expressions like “with the knowledge I have this is what I think....” “I appreciate your opinion and maybe we can agree to disagree.” And or “At a later date I will read up more about what you have stated and review my opinion” Statements like these can help the interviewer understand that you are listening, you are open-minded and if need be willing to change your mind. In my opinion, life rarely is about always being right but it is always about listening to others and collaborating with them to reach an optimum solution.
After each interview, identify the questions and journal where you were able to present the best version of yourself and where you were unable to do the same. Learn from the experience and move on. An important lesson I have learned through experience is that eventually an interview is about personalities and people. Sometimes you can do all the right things and still not get selected and or get nervous despite everything. In life not taking failure to heart and being discouraged is an important lesson. So when you walk into the interview room, leave your past failure at the door, give your most charming smile to the panel, take a few deep breaths and let your insightful answers roll with confidence.