A personal interview can be an interesting experience, even if you know what to expect. With tensions rising up, a highly competitive ambient and confusing opinions about this crucial interview process, you might need all the knowledge you find to get and crack this part of the MBA selection process. I can help you here to get a clear understanding of how B-schools accepting CAT scores conduct interviews so that you are fully prepared to face the interviewers.

A personal interview (PI) is one of the major components of the selection process in a B-school, and is usually kept for the last. The focus of the interview is quite broad, starting right from your views on life to very specific questions related to life. While some questions may appear based on trivia, you shouldn’t underestimate their importance. On the contrary, Personal Interview is a way to gauge you both as a person and future professional in all dimensions of life.

Important aspects to follow in a Personal Interview (PI)

Here are some useful pointers below for preparing yourself for the day of Personal Interview:

  • Be just the way you are during the interview instead of putting on a mask and trying to be someone you are not. Interviewers are highly experienced professionals and will be able to see right through you. This can result against you even if you have scored high in the CAT.
  • It always pays to prepare for an interview. This will help you feel more relaxed and give you the ability to muster up confidence.
  • Always answer questions, honestly and promptly.
  • Think about your greatest strength and remember some glimpse of the experience or have an example that would highlight this strength.
  • Be prepared for unrestricted questions that would give you an opportunity to lead the interview. A good example of an unrestricted question is “Tell me something about yourself.” Preparation and practice will help you to be clear about what and how you want to convey the message during the interview.

Here are some golden tips to follow while working on your body language for the PI round:

Tip 1: Physical Appearance

Dress Well – It is very important that you dress in neat and ironed clothes.

Dress Formally – You must wear formal clothes and shoes. A light-colored shirt with contrasting trousers or skirt (for women).

Tip 2: Walk

When you enter the PI room and walk up to your seat, you must walk smartly and confidently, i.e. neither hurriedly nor sluggishly

Tip 3: Smile

It is essential to keep a subtle smile on your smile when you are talking or listening to your panelists. Frowning and laughing is a strict NO

Tip 4: Hands

It is very good to use hand gestures when you are explaining yourself but too much use of it should be avoided. It can look commanding.

Tip 5: Fingers

Do not play with your fingers or any ornaments in it like rings etc. while you are talking to your panelists.

Tip 6: Arms

Never sit with your arms crossed in front of the interview panel. It can show hostility to what they are saying. Keep your arms resting on your lap.

Tip 7: Eyes

Always maintain eye contact when a particular panelist is asking you a question or when you are replying to them

Tip 8: Head

Nodding the head is ok, but you should avoid the ‘Indian Nod.’ The Indian nod is wobbling of head expressing yes, no, fine, not fine, I understood, etc. which is ambiguous

Tip 9: Facial Expression

Keep a precise and calm expression on your face. Do not look dis-interested when a panelist is talking to you.

Thus, when you walk in to that room to sit for the most critical 20 minutes of your life make sure your first step of communication, i.e. your BODY LANGUAGE.

Etiquette for Personal Interview

Understanding core components of etiquette help you hone better:

Preparation:

The most common complaint among interviewers is lack of preparation for the PI. It shows that you are unorganized and do not have forethought. Preparation also allows you to learn more about the school and help you come up with an answer for why you want to join this school and program.

Refrain from Typical Answers:

Mostly, when students are asked to tell an interviewer more about themselves, they begin talking about things that are already mentioned in the application form. This is not productive and wastes both your time and the interviewer’s. Just think about it and remember, why would the interviewer be interested in hearing things he or she already knows? Use this chance to show what sets you different from other prospective candidates.

Stick to the Point:

Don’t keep rambling to fill in the silence. Not only does it make you look foolish, but you will also be instantly judged as someone who is very unsure of himself. Many times interviewers don’t interrupt candidates to make them feel as though they haven’t said enough. This is just a strategy to see how well the candidate handles himself.  If you think that a pause is becoming too long and awkward, you could just ask something like, “Would you like to know something specific or something more about me?”

Possible Questions that can be asked in PI

Q1. Why have you chosen this particular institute?

Q2. Why MBA?

Q3. What do you think is your biggest failure?

Q4. What was the last book you read?

Q5. Who is your role model?

And, at the end they can ask you,

Q6. Do you have any question?

Note: Do not hesitate to ask any query or ask about any doubt. It will reflect your enthusiasm.

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