An important part of preparing for placements is being able to answer personal questions about yourself and your beliefs. In fact, this could be said to be the most critical part of your preparations, as all interviews, be it a B-school Admission or a job interview be in Finance, Consulting, Marketing or any other field, always begin with a round of personal questions.
Such questions can be used by you, if well prepared, to draw the interview into areas of your strengths, shaping your answers such as to showcase your best achievements. A well thought out ‘story’ gives you the confidence to answer these questions, and set a great platform for you to then show off your capabilities for the roles offered.
Some important Dos and Don’ts that should be followed are:
- Always have a ‘story’ in mind. Especially when answering general questions like “introduce yourself” or “walk me through your resume”. By ‘story’ here we mean that your points should be interlinked in some way, either progressively leading to something or highlighting different scenarios where you showcased a particular set of traits.
- When talking about goals and future plans, always make sure you sound plausible. Also, your destination (say where you see yourself in five years) should be backed up by a) skills/traits that you already have b) Skills that you will acquire plausibly over the time period).
- Please be HONEST in your portrayal of strengths and weaknesses. Especially in weaknesses, there is a tendency to hide behind overstating you strengths like, “I tend to work too hard” or “I am a perfectionist”. Recruiters have also been in the same boat as you before, and can usually spot such made up ‘weaknesses’. In a question like this, they are assessing your ability to answer a question with no positive answer. It is usually a good idea to talk about a true weakness, along with steps that you have taken to recognize and overcome it.
- When citing instances, do not restrict yours stories to work or academics. It is highly encouraged to provide as diverse a set as possible, showcasing your learning from various sources, family, friends, extracurricular activities and sports.
- DO NOT make up stories, just to fill spaces. The interviewers are very experienced and they will get to know. Making up stories may put you in a difficult situation if they ask follow up questions later! So be honest.
To help you with your interview preparations, we have prepared a list of commonly asked questions in an interview along with how to approach those questions. Obviously each one of you will have different answers but we have framed certain sample answers for your reference.