Interview season starts even before the season for entrances comes to a halt. How to prepare for an MBA interview and how to crack the most crucial part of the admission process? It is definitely not a cake walk but can surely turn out to be more than just a series of questions and answers if one follows these simple principles. Having good communication skills definitely tops the chart, however, etiquettes including greetings, dress code, body language and non-verbal communication complement it. Interviewers not only judge you on what and how you speak but your mannerisms and attitude as well.
Management interviews, be it for admissions or jobs, always command strict professionalism and call for a completely formal, conservative business attire. For men, it includes a light coloured shirt, business suit, polished shoes, preferably black or brown, a belt and a tie. Candidates, especially freshers often ignore the importance of a tie, which plays a major role in completing the attire and makes you look professional. Hair must be trimmed well and a clean shaven look without any sort of accessories crowns the attire.
Dress code for women in interviews stands almost the same as that for men as far as the formal attire is concerned except for the fact that tie is not mandatory. Hair must be neatly tied and excessive makeup should be avoided. Women also have an option of opting for Indian formals which comprise of sarees or salwar suits. The choice of clothes must be appropriate keeping in mind that it is an interview we are preparing for and not a wedding or a festival. However, it is not advisable to go for an Indian wear as it might not sync well with the mind sets of few of the interviewers.
NON VERBAL COMMUNICATION
The interviewer, may or may not be an HR executive but is surely experienced enough to judge the candidate’s attitude and thought process via his/her gestures and facial expressions. These expressions speak volumes about your persona and the candidates often end up being selected or rejected solely on these parameters. The key points to keep in mind are as follows:
Do not fiddle with your pen or notepad while sitting. Such fidgety behaviour is not apt for any kind of an interview.
Do not play around with your hair, touch your face too often, and be concerned about your outfit, for instance, the position of your tie, once you are inside the room.
Sit with your legs at a suitable distance from one another or joined together, but definitely not crossed.
Sit up comfortably and straight; a posture that demonstrates your confidence level. Do not slouch or let your nervousness, if any, be reflected in your posture. The interviewer is looking for confident individuals and would be future managers!
Establish eye contact with the interviewer. Do not try to avoid their gaze and do not get distracted by anything else in the room. If more than one person is on the panel, initially look into the eyes of the person who asks the question and then look around at the other people in the panel and proceed with your response.
Manage your reactions well. Neither smile too much during the process nor don an expression of stress or wonder. Smile when required and answer the questions appropriately.
Behaviour in the waiting room might also be analysed by the people at the institute and recorded. Make sure you showcase a calm demeanour throughout the process.
Nod when you are being addressed by the interviewer and let them know that you are listening and comprehending whatever they say. It reflects your level of attention and conveys your interest in their speech.
GREETINGS IN THE BEGINNING AND END OF THE INTERVIEW
Taking an interview too casually and using inappropriate greetings can fetch unwanted negative points whereas commencing and finishing an interview with the correct words and gesture can augment your chances of cracking the interview. Do not enter the interview room unless called in and knock once before opening the door to let the interviewers know about the arrival of the next candidate. This gives them time to rearrange themselves if caught with the discussions about the previous candidate. Greet the panel with “Good morning/ afternoon Sir/ Ma’am”. It is not advisable to go ahead and shake hands with the panel unless they offer to do so first. Shaking hands is an informal approach to an interview.
One must not sit on the seat assigned for the interviewee unless asked to. However, one can seek their permission before doing the same.
At the end of the interview, you must not say “Thank you” and dash out of the room. If you feel that you did a pretty well job, polite words like “Thank you, sir/ma’am. I look forward to meeting you again in this Institute”, deem appropriate. No matter how much they might have grilled you on topics from all walks of life, smile and take your leave. Let them know that you have the capability of handling pressure and pain.
ETIQUETTES DURING CONVERSATION
Every person who reaches the interview stage has done a significant amount of preparation for not only their entrance exams but also for the interview, including brushing up the general knowledge, current affairs and practicing common interview questions. However, this does not give anyone the liberty to cut the interviewer while he/she asks or tries to explain his point of view on the topic. You might have completely different views and can say so politely as “Ma’am/Sir, I differ slightly on the topic. According to me…..”, yet, respect their opinions to the core. These are signs of an effective manager and are noticed well by the panel. Make sure you do not screw up on this aspect.
Interviews can be a breeze or turn out to be the worst storms you have ever had. It could be as pleasant and generic as we all want it to be or could take shape of something totally unexpected. Being prepared for the battle by unlearning the unpleasant and learning the pleasant etiquettes can help one win the battle.