Do’s and Dont’s for Personal Interview
A personal interview is a face-to-face interaction between the interviewer (called the panel) and the interviewee (called the candidate) with the objective of assessing the interviewee’s skills and suitability for an MBA program in their institution.
Questions regarding candidate’s academic profile, work experience, general awareness, career, extracurricular activities and achievements. Questions may also be related to reasons for doing MBA, about your dream institute/college, your long-term goals, job vision etc.
There is no syllabus or notes on interview preparation. You just need to express yourself. Your power lies in your ability of expression: how you communicate, exchange, respond, dress, portray and how you answer questions. Be calm, cool and confident and you will definitely get good marks.
There are five major parameters of evaluation in selection PIs:
- Body Language & Communication Skills
- Subject Knowledge
- General Awareness
General tips regarding the Personal Interview:-
Remember to reach the venue early and arrive for the interview on time. Before the interview practice with a friend/relative and record your answers. You will be able to listen/see where you fumble and where you need to improve.
APPEARANCE – Appearance counts during interviews, not only how you dress, but also how you carry yourself. Even if your responses to questions are flawless, the wrong body language can convey wrong signal and how you’re perceived.
For Men –
Shirt – Wearing the right shirt in the right way goes a long way in achieving the right formal look. Checked shirts and satin shirts are not formal wear. Translucent shirts—a strict no-no. White shirts are the best option for many occasions. Mild patterns like stripes and soft colours are also acceptable. Tuck in the shirts properly. (The shirt should cover half the belt). Length of sleeve should reach the point where your arms end.
Blazers/Jackets: Men’s winter wear, a dark blazer with light trousers or khakis and plain shirt is the best formal look for winters. Add a tie for the complete look. Leather and cold weather jackets are a complete no-no. Plain V-neck sweaters are not a part of formal dressing. Front open sweaters are best to represent formal wear.
Ties: Striped shirt should be worn with a plain tie. The tip of the tie should just touch the top of the belt buckle. Never wear a striped or checkered tie with a similar shirt. Also, bright printed ties are a complete no-no.
Socks: Socks should match the colour of trousers and always be darker than trousers. Socks should cover the gap between the trouser and shoes while sitting.
Formal Shoes: Oxford Plains, Plain Loafers, Oxford Brogues, Suede Lace-ups, Plain Lace-ups, Buckled Loafers (shoes can be black, brown or tan shade). Shoes to be avoided—sports shoes, floaters, heavy buckled shoes, sneakers, crocs, etc.
Tips Regarding Attire
- A smart watch.
- If possible, wear a business suit to the interview.
- Belt and shoes should be of same colour.
- Avoid ties with elaborate patterns or too many colours.
- Black or darkest brown leather belt with a small or no buckle.
- A wedding ring and/or watch is generally the only jewellery that should be worn.
- Head to Toe: Hair should be well groomed and shoes should be polished.
- Avoid beard or facial hair or keep it neatly trimmed at all times.
- Personal hygiene; clean cut nails.
- Avoid strong perfumes but deodorants are a must.
For Women –
Western Wear: Single colours and proper fitting is the key. Clothes should neither be too tight nor too loose. Satin tops, frills, deep necks and too bright colours are not considered formal way of dressing. Knee length skirts are most apt for formal wear.
Indian formal wear: Sharp cuts whether in necklines, hair styling or kurta styling look elegant. Keep it simple and effective. Saris with Borders in neutral tones contrasting with deeper borders/subdued shades (while working pin up on the back shoulder so this keeps the sari in proper position to feel comfortable). Go for cottons in summer and silks, tassars, matka silk (printed or plain) in winters. Avoid transparent fabrics. Stick to pastel shades. Avoid flashy colours like yellow, or bright blue (especially in satin/ georgette).
Jewellery: Minimal and simply/classy jewellery. Jewellery that jangles (chandelier earrings, stacks of bangles) is distracting. Opt for stud earrings.
Handbag: Multi-coloured bags are not formal, stick to single colours (black, brown, navy blue and white are considered formal). Slouchy handbags look sloppy. Choose structured styles that project an organized image, and black or brown leather office bags or purses.
Footwear: Closed-toe shoes, pumps and mid-heel sandals. Strappy sandals, sandals with sequels and multi-coloured footwear should be avoided. Firm-fitted sandals to avoid the noise.
Make-up and accessories: Subtle make-up in basic neutral shades. Tone down the use of makeup, hair spray, perfume. Do not wear too many bangles or jewellery like anklets, etc.
Tips Regarding Attire
- A suit or dress is preferable.
- Skirts should meet at the top of the knee or longer.
- The amount of jewellery should be minimized. The jewellery should not make noise.
- Make-up should be light, natural shades should be used, do not overdo makeup.
- Do not wear strong perfume or powder.
BODY LANGUAGE – Put on your confidence even before the interview commences. In the waiting area, have good posture while standing and sitting. Keep your back straight and your chin parallel to the ground. While you may not have met your interviewer at this point, it’s still possible that the receptionist or any CCTV might be observing you.
Entry – First one should ask permission for entering the room. Then one should greet the interviewer. Once they offer you a seat, then only you should sit. This shows that one has respect for them. Don’t create clapping sound from foot.
Posture – Sit with back straight. Don’t bend. Show confidence & smile on your face. Have a look at all the people who are supposed to conduct interview. Your sitting should not be offensive. Chair space should be covered properly. Back must be straight but not tense. Shoulder must not represent Eiffel tower they must be parallel. Hands relaxed but not tight. Legs 90* at knees. Sit properly with confidence and sit straight without doing too many movements.
Body Movements – Suppress Restless Habits, Speaking of fidgeting, if you’re a nail-biter, knuckle cracker, hair twirler, or leg tapper, don’t allow these habits to make an appearance during the interview. All will appear unprofessional and convey nerves.
Use Your Hands: Stopping the natural gestures may lead to an awkward appearance. Just make sure your motions don’t become so enthusiastic that they distract from your words.
Eye Contact: It’s important to make eye contact during your interview, but don’t mistake that for a directive to make constant eye contact. That is disconcerting and aggressive. At the same time, avoiding eye contact entirely comes across as untrustworthy and distant — it could make it seem like your answers are dishonest. Balance it out: Aim to make eye contact as you listen and respond to questions, but allow it to break occasionally, and let your eyes wander.
Exit – Remember to say thank you and smile.
COMMUNICATION SKILLS – In addition to the responses you give, your ability to communicate will be evaluated.
- What are your verbal and nonverbal communication skills like?
- How well do you explain your answers?
- How articulate are you?
- Do you listen carefully to what the interviewers are saying, or do you interrupt and try to dominate the conversation?
- Do you look your interviewers in the eye when you speak to them?
- What does your body language say about you?
- When interviewers ask their questions, they do so not only to gain information from you, but to see how exactly you communicate through verbal tone and nonverbal expression.
- Don’t argue with interviewer.
- Be polite & answer properly.
- Your voice should be clear & loud.
- If you can’t hear interviewer’s voice, say “Pardon or sorry” & request him to talk loudly.
- Don’t show “hurry, worry, curry” nature.
- Have presence of mind. You can take a few seconds before answering a question.
- While giving Opinion, be firm about your opinion.
- Interviewer will try to change your mind & test you.
- Interviewer will check all these things.
- Talk tech to techies only.
- Keep your philosophy to yourself
GENERAL AWARENESS – Be abreast of the current events, national and international affairs, burning social and economic topics, scientific and environmental issues, and newspapers’ controversial topics. To update yourself read daily newspapers, good magazines, national and international journals and also watch news and informative programmes on the television.
SUBJECT KNOWLEDGE – The greater your knowledge of the subject, the more enthusiastic and confident you will be during the interview. The panel will judge and evaluate you on your academic knowledge. They might ask you, your favourite subject from your graduation subjects and then ask you questions out of the particular subject. Don’t worry the question might be simple but out of the subject. Thorough subject knowledge must be required to excel in these type of questions.
JOB VISION – Developing and articulating a career vision is an essential element of your interview. It’s about conveying a clear picture of where you have come from, where you are going, and why an MBA is critical for getting there. B-schools want students who will get the utmost value from their program by achieving great things in the future.
First, big plans signal big things. Your ability to articulate a logical and inspiring career vision underscores your commitment to the journey, even if the destination changes along the way. The experienced panel are fully aware that your plans may change. After all, an MBA should be a transformative experience; it will open your mind to new possibilities and opportunities.
Have concrete goals in terms of your career. Revise the basic concepts of your graduation stream. Revisit the details of key projects & papers undertaken by you during your graduation and/or job. Do support your answers with examples, wherever possible.
Try planning your answers to a few questions that you know will definitely come, such as:
- Why are you interested in this course/job/field?
- What are your strengths?
- What are your weaknesses?
- Why do you think you should be selected for this role/course?
- What is your job vision?
- What are your reasons for doing MBA?
- What is your dream institute/college?
- What are your long-term goals?
- How would this course help you achieve?
Ms. Parul Raj
Asst. Professor (JIMS Rohini)
3, Institutional Area, Sector-5, Rohini
(Near Rithala Metro Station), Delhi-110085.
Tel.: 011-45184000, 45184001, 45184002 Fax. No: 45184032