Preparing for an online interview

Hope the article finds you in a safe place, far from the madding crowd. In this unprecedented situation, as an MBA aspirant, you need to keep yourself occupied and focus on your goal. As most of the PGDM offering institutes are planning to conduct their selection processes online, you need to start your preparation in that direction. Go through this article, especially if you’ve applied for and received/expecting calls from SIES and N. L. Dalmia PGDM programs.

Before we start, go through my article on the difference between MMS and PGDM program. Since I posted that article, a few institutes have made changes in their admission process and I’ve updated those changes.

The process

For an online interview, the institute will allot a definite slot to you. At the scheduled time, you’re supposed to be present online, in front of your computer/mobile device. The tech used for this could be webinar/meeting tool (zoom/webex) or calling/chat tool (WhatsApp/Skype). You will get instructions from the institute regarding the process and what to expect. You will also need to keep writing instruments and paper next to you, just in case they ask you to work on a problem.

The setup

Find a calm area in your home to set the whole thing up. Check basic things such as lighting, clear background, and sound clarity. Have a firm stand or a study table to keep your laptop/computer. If feasible, get a high speed internet plan from your service provider. If it’s not possible, at least find a spot where your phone’s network reception is good. Decide your attire well in advance as it’s a formal interview. Inform your family members and request them not to disturb you during the interview slot in any way.

The difference

What’s the difference between a normal interview and an online interview? Apart from the setting, there is hardly any difference. Globally, for various reasons, whether it’s a job interview or a college interview, people have been relying on an online interview due to location constraints. So, it definitely works. We just need to adapt to it and think as if it’s an in-person interview. The questions from the panel, your reaction, and counter-questions or the flow of the interview is going to be more or less the same. You just need to be relaxed and operate as if it’s a normal interview.

How to prepare for the interview?

PGDM interviews are generally less stressful and can be cracked by preparing well. The best place to start is your application form or CV. For every point mentioned by you, think of 4-5 questions that you could be asked. For example, if I’ve mentioned reading as my hobby, I could be asked (1) What’s the last thing that you read? (2) What’s your favorite book/author and why? (3) Which book had the most impact on you and why? (4) If you had to recommend a book to someone, which one would your recommend? (5) What did you learn from a particular book? and so on.

By doing this, you will be able to create a mental map of how you would handle such situations. You will be able to pre-empt the course of your interview and be in a better control of it. It’s not possible to predict all the questions, however, about 50-60% of it could definitely be predicted through this exercise. The rest of it will be randomness and things that you can never predict. For example, if you’re asked: “Which place in India gets the highest amount of rainfall?”

The panelists look for evidence of various competencies that are important for a manager. Based on Wood and Payne’s research, the following are the most critical ones: Communication, achievement/result orientation, customer focus, team work, leadership, planning and organizing, commercial/business awareness, flexibility/adaptability, developing others, problem solving, analytical thinking, building relationships.

You may or may not have demonstrated all of these. But that’s okay! Figure out the ones that you have and keep examples that you can share with the panel. Examples are easily registered and remembered. In the short window that’s available to you, you have to give your best. You must share all the relevant information and put your candidature out there in the best possible manner.

The only person whose behavior we can control is our own. All we can give another person is information.

William Glasser

The questions that you will be asked can be categorized as either behavioral/attitude based or content/knowledge based. Prepare for commonly asked questions from the area that you’ve graduated in. If you’re a working professional, prepare for questions related to your industry as well. And follow the news on a regular basis to take care of any current affairs related questions. You must have an unbiased opinion on any current issue and must be able to articulate that to the panel.

If possible, get a mock interview before you appear for the final one. If you’ve already had a face to face interview before this, you might not need one. But if this is your first interview of the season, get at least one mock interview. It will not only help you adapt to the mode of the interview but also help you understand the content that you need to work on. Nothing beats serious preparation. I’ve seen some really good candidates taking interviews lightly and messing up their chance. Don’t risk it!

I wish you all the best with your interview preparation. If there are any questions, please leave them in the comments section. I will be happy to help you out in whatever way I can. Share this with your friends and co-aspirants. Happy prepping! 🙂

6 thoughts on “Preparing for an online interview

  1. Kamlesh Bapu Badgujar

    I have never faced any interview. And now it’s time for it. The article was helpful but answering to those questions i need some tutorials or mock interview as mentioned in article. As an ims student, i wish if it could be possible to have some online tutorials on question which asked in interview and also some mock interview.


  2. Gauri Kulkarni

    Hi i have scored 86.44 percentile and want to specialise in mba in marketing and I am open take up mms or pgdm can I get into sies Nerul?


    1. PS

      SIES PGDM applications and process is over now. For MMS open category, 86.44 won’t be sufficient to get into SIES. You can try for PGDM programs in other institutes as getting a top 10 college for MMS is going to be difficult. All the best!


    1. PS

      Hi Maithily! You can take up anything that’s in line with your interest area. The courses can be taken on platforms such as Coursera or EdX or Udemy. IMS proschool also offers various certification programs and you can check those out.


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