What interviewers look for?

The persons who interview candidates collectively are form the interview panel. Normally, the panel consists of three interviewers. However, there could be more than three. The logic given for interviewers in selection at B-schools may more or less applicable for executive jobs in business and industry as well.

The duration of an interview varies between five minutes and 45 minutes. However, the duration of an interview has no bearing on the final outcome; what matters is the quality of interaction that you have with the panel. Most interview panels comprise professors who work full time in case of B-school interviews and top managers from industry for business interviews.. Sometimes, the panel; of interviewers could also include a psychologist. Of late, some top B-schools are also including an alumnus/industry person to their interview panel.

Interviewers chiefly look for students who are suitable to pursue a management course at their institute and whether the have the potential to go on to become effective managers in the future. Candidates who have clear, breadth and depth of knowledge, and the ability to look at things in a balanced manner are sought. Interviewers also look at the moral and ethical value system of the individual concerned, and how the candidates will be able to contribute to the to the industry and the society at large.

Types of Questions asked in an interview:

The job of an interview panel is to determine whether you are a suitable candidate for a particular B-school. In this regard, they may put any questions under the sun to you and you are expected to answer such a question. On being asked personal questions, you are expected to answer in a mature manner, and not say. “This is a personal matter and I cannot answer this question”. You are not expected to give flippant answers to seemingly innocuous questions. Every questions is asked with a sense of purpose. Make sure that you answer with sincerity so as not jeopardize your selection prospects.

The questions that you could be asked in an interview fall under the following categories:

* Questions related to your personal background
* Questions related to your personality (strengths/weaknesses)
* Subject / academic based questions
* Questions on career planning
* Questions on hobbies / extra curricular activities.
* Questions on job profile ad other organization-related matters (for those with work experience)

Two important questions that are asked in most interviews at top B-schools are:

(a) Why do you want to do an MBA?
(b) Tell us something about yourself.

The question at (b) is almost certain while recruiting business executives mostly in case of candidates with relevant experience.

Since such questions are more or less certainly, you should prepare for them well in advance, having a ready made answer to these kinds of questions will not help you as you could easily falter in the interview. What you would be better off doing is have broad reasons, which could form the basis for your responses in the interview. This would make your answer more natural rather than rote.

Most of the top B-schools ask a large number of questions on the subjects you have studied during your +2 and your graduation. These questions are essentially conceptual in nature. However, it is seen that students are unable to answers these questions successfully. By answering these questions correctly, you are sending out a message to the interview panel that you have taken the right amount of care to prepare thoroughly for the interview. Excuses such as “I studied this a long time ago,” will not be appreciated by the panel. You could be asked questions on career planning such as, where do you see yourself five years from now? You could also be asked questions on current affairs / general knowledge and the hobbies that you pursue. Answers to questions from these categories would be reflections of what you do in your leisure.