So you think you got through CAT? Think again. The bell’s ringing for round 2. Group discussions and personal interviews are the toughest to crack, with a success rate of roughly 1 out of 10 candidates.
The step after group discussions- personal interviews or PIs- can be very diverse. There’s no sure-shot recipe for success but here are some tips to give you a little boost:
1. Starting from the moment you enter the interview room, politely knock and take permission before stepping in, as well as before taking a seat.
2. The golden rule is to keep a cool head. As a potential student of their reputed b-school and a future manager you cannot afford to lose your temper, have a nervous breakdown, or any similar reactions. Keep your composure and that is half the work done.
3. Knowledge-wise, you must have a thorough understanding or awareness of the who’s who and what’s what of the business, economic, social and political worlds. You must also have a very thorough knowledge of everything on your curriculum vitae. For example, if you say reading is your hobby you might be asked about any management books you’ve read and your opinion on Peter Drucker. Or if you say you like football, you might be asked the rough dimensions of a field.
4. If you don’t know the answer to any question, tell the interviewer. Dilly-dallying with the answer or trying to make it up may earn you negative points.
5. Some interviews might be stress interviews. In case you’re unlucky enough to land up in one, just keep your cool and remember they’re deliberately trying to stress you out and don’t really mean it. Do not lose your temper. If they tear up your CV and ask you to leave, be crisp and polite and leave. If they laugh at you for not knowing something, let it go. Stress interviews can be really weird, but if you survive through one you’re almost sure to get through.
6. One oft forgotten tip- Temporarily drop any irritating habit you may have, like drumming the table with your fingers or twiddling your thumbs. Use your hands only to articulate or emphasize your points, but don’t let your hand gestures go wild.
7. Maintain eye contact with your interviewer. If there are multiple panellists, then look at the others occasionally even if you’re answering one of them.
8. If the interviewer cuts you midway, don’t be adamant in finishing your answer. Listen to the new question and proceed with answering it. If you feel you have missed an important point, politely ask if you may finish your answer.
9. Clothes-wise, business formals are not a must if the interview location is warm. Business casuals are adequate. Be comfortable in what you wear. Your confidence is sure to shine through.
10. And don’t forget to smile!
The author is currently pursuing her MBA from IIM-Kozhikode.