Tips for Answering Questions Effectively
- Keep your answers short, but informative. Be prepared to offer a 4 to 6 line answer to every question. This is enough to share a few thoughts and to stimulate further discussion if the interviewer desires. Try to avoid simple 'yes' and 'no' answers or responding in monosyllables. Show interest in the questions and sincere thought in your responses.
- Avoid sounding self-centered. Cite your achievements, but demonstrate an appropriate level of humility. When discussing professional accomplishments, acknowledge the help and support of your teammates, mentors, teachers and role models.
- Don't reveal insecurities. Accentuate the positive and don't dwell on the weaknesses in your background or application. Don't give any indication that you aren't willing and able to meet the rigors of business school. Your job on the interview is to convince them you are the right candidate: they won't believe it if you don't sound sure of yourself.
- Watch your tone. You'll certainly be asked a few stressor questions that are designed to test your ability to handle conflict. Don't get defensive. Your tone can be revealed in both the words you choose and your voice. Practice responding to difficult questions with a friend before the big day. It will help.
- Listen carefully to the interviewer, no matter how nervous you are. Although you'll be stressed during the interview, this isn't acceptable that you ask the panel to repeat their question every now and then. It simply confirms that you weren't listening, which is the kiss of death for a business school applicant.
Interview DOs and DON'Ts
- √ Dress appropriately for the institute; err on the side of being conservative to show you take the interview seriously. Your personal grooming and cleanliness should be impeccable.
- √ Know the exact time and location of your interview; know how long it takes to get there, park, find a rest room to freshen up, etc.
- √ Arrive early; 10 minutes prior to the interview start time.
- √ Treat other people you encounter with courtesy and respect. Their opinions of you might be solicited during admission decisions.
- √ Offer a firm handshake, make eye contact, and have a friendly expression when you are greeted by your interviewer.
- √ Listen to be sure you understand your interviewer's name and the correct pronunciation.
- √ Even when your interviewer gives you a first and last name, address your interviewer by title Sir or Madam, until invited to do otherwise.
- √ Maintain good eye contact during the interview.
- √ Sit still in your seat; avoid fidgeting and slouching.
- √ Respond to questions and back up your statements about yourself with specific examples whenever possible.
- √ Ask for clarification if you don't understand a question.
- √ Be thorough in your responses, while being concise in your wording.
- √ Be honest and be yourself - your best professional self. Dishonesty gets discovered and is grounds for withdrawing admission offers and for rejection. You want a good match between yourself and your future college. If you get admitted by acting like someone other than yourself, you and your institute will both be unhappy.
- √ Treat the interview seriously and as though you are truly interested in the institute and the opportunity presented.
- √ Exhibit a positive attitude. The interviewer is evaluating you as a potential corporate employee or future manager.
- √ Have intelligent questions prepared to ask the interviewer. Having done your research about the institute in advance, ask questions which you did not find answered in your research.
- √ Evaluate the interviewer and the institute s/he represents. An interview is a two-way street. Conduct yourself cordially and respectfully, while thinking critically about the way you are treated and the values and priorities of the institute.
- √ Do expect to be treated appropriately. If you believe you were treated inappropriately or asked questions that were inappropriate or made you uncomfortable, discuss this the panel if you are given time to clear your mind by asking them questions else reach the admission co-coordinator of the institute or the director.
- √ Make sure you understand the institute's next step in the admission process; know when and from whom you should expect to hear next. Know what action you are expected to take next, if any.
- √ When the interviewer concludes the interview, offer a firm handshake and make eye contact. Depart gracefully.
- √ After the interview, make notes right away so you don't forget critical details.
- × Don't make excuses. Take responsibility for your decisions and your actions.
- × Don't make negative comments about previous professors or institute (or others).
- × Don't falsify application materials or answers to interview questions.
- × Don't treat the interview casually, as if you are just shopping around or doing the interview for practice. This is an insult to the interviewer and to the institute.
- × Don't give the impression that you are only interested in the institute because of its geographic location.
- × Don't give the impression you are only interested in salary you will get after the completion of the course.
- × Don't act as though you would take admission in any institute or are desperate for admission.
- × Don't be unprepared for typical interview questions. You may not be asked all of them in every interview, but being unprepared looks foolish.
- × Admission in a good institute can be hard work and involve frustrations; don't exhibit frustrations or a negative attitude in an interview.
- × Don't go to extremes with your posture; don't slouch, and don't sit rigidly on the edge of your chair.
- × Don't assume that a female interviewer is "Mrs." or "Miss." Address her as "Madam" unless told otherwise.
- × Don't chew gum or smell like smoke.
- × Don't allow your cell phone to sound during the interview. (If it does, apologize quickly and ignore it.) Don't take a cell phone call. Don't look at a text message.
- × Don't take your parents, your pet (an assistance animal is not a pet in this circumstance), spouse, fiancé, friends or enemies to an interview. If you are not grown up and independent enough to attend an interview alone, you're insufficiently grown up and independent for a job.
Body language do's and don'ts for interviews
- × Rub the back of your head or neck. Even if you really do just have a cramp in your neck, these gestures make you look disinterested.
- × Rub or touch your nose. This suggests that you're not being completely honest, and it's gross.
- × Sit with your armed folded across your chest. You'll appear unfriendly and disengaged.
- × Cross your legs and idly shake one over the other. It's distracting and shows how uncomfortable you are.
- × Lean your body towards the door. You'll appear ready to make a mad dash for the door.
- × Slouch back in your seat. This will make you appear disinterested and unprepared.
- × Stare back blankly. This is a look people naturally adapt when they are trying to distance themselves.
- √ Sit up straight, and lean slightly forward in your chair. In addition to projecting interest and engagement in the interaction, aligning your body's position to that of the interviewer's shows admiration and agreement.
- √ Show your enthusiasm by keeping an interested expression. Nod and make positive gestures in moderation to avoid looking like someone simply not interested.
- √ Establish a comfortable amount of personal space between you and the interviewer. Invading personal space (anything more than 20 inches) could make the interviewer feel uncomfortable and take the focus away from your conversation.
- √ Limit your application of colognes and perfumes. Invading aromas can arouse allergies.
- √ If you have more than one person interviewing you at once, make sure you briefly address both people with your gaze and return your attention to the person who has asked you a question.
- √ Interruptions can happen. If they do, refrain from staring at your interviewer while they address their immediate business and motion your willingness to leave if they need privacy.
- √ Stand up and smile even if you are on a phone interview. Standing increases your level of alertness and allows you to become more engaged in the conversation.
- √ After a few well-thought-out questions and answers with your interviewer, it's almost over, but don't lose your cool just yet. Make sure your goodbye handshake is just as confident now as it was going in. Keep that going while you walk through the office building, into the elevator and onto the street. Once safely in your car, a cab or some other measurable safe distance from the scene of your interview, it's safe to let go.
Questions You Should Ask the Interviewer
Successful candidates always ask questions at their interviews. In fact, the questions you ask reveal more about your suitability for business school than anything else. Here's what your questions tell us:
- How seriously the committee is thinking about the modernization of the business school and how well they understand the student's expectations?
- What is important for the institute - its own expectations or students' satisfaction?
- Apply the general information you gather about the school's particular reality
- Frame questions using your common sense and intellectual curiosity
- Ask for feedback regarding your energy level and communication skills
- Show the panel how well prepared you are (and will be in the future) for a becoming a manager
- Your observation power should also play a role in framing relevant questions like - What is the importance of huddle room in the institute? Or "Could the students approach the professors after the college time for any further clarification regarding any subject?" Etc.
General Rules for Asking Questions
- Only ask about topics you genuinely care about. You want to appear sincere and interested, not desperate for something to say.
- Research the topic thoroughly before mentioning it so that you can engage in a subsequent discussion. Prepare for your interview just as you would for an exam.
- Make sure the answer isn't obvious or has already been answered.
- Ask the appropriate person. Faculty members can offer a better perspective on certain issues than business students and vice versa.
- Watch your tone of voice and your body language. Many nervous applicants are unintentionally rude when they ask questions, which automatically puts off the interviewer. Be gracious and diplomatic in how you phrase your questions and reply to responses.