This concise MBA Interview Preparation video on handling awkward situations during interviews will help handle complex moments and minimize or eliminate the negative impact of such situations. Grasp the tips in this video well to deal with uncomfortable situations in a positive manner and thereby leave a positive impression on your interviewer.
How to Handle Awkward Moments in an MBA Interview
Even the most well-prepared MBA interviewee will encounter a few pitfalls in their interview. Such pitfalls often lead to moments of awkwardness between the interviewee and interviewer that most find candidates find quite tricky to navigate and can negatively impact the MBA interview as a whole, if not handled properly. Before sitting for your interview, you must take the time to understand exactly how to minimize the damage from these awkward moments; doing so will help you make sure that your interviewer will only remember the awkward moment as a small part of the interview rather than as its defining feature. In this article, we will cover the mistakes that most candidates commit and the types of awkward questions.
The Most Common Mistakes
One of the most serious fundamental mistakes that candidates commit in the MBA interview is trying to be too clever for their own good. Trying to trick the interviewer is a very poor idea; it will not work and will come across as very cheeky and disrespectful. Remember, the interviewer is smarter than you are; that is why he/she is conducting the MBA interview, and you are the one sitting for it. Related to the previous point, in the event that something goes wrong during the interview, you must also avoid getting defensive. When candidates get defensive, they tend to either retreat into their shells or get argumentative, and neither bodes well for their chances of selection. Another very common mistake that MBA interviews make is elongating the awkward moment. When a moment of awkwardness occurs, your goal must be to move past it as quickly as possible; lingering on the moment will make it more likely to stick out in your interviewer's memory. The most common and biggest mistake is allowing the awkward moment to affect the rest of the MBA interview. Of course, the source of most of these mistakes is nervousness, candidates often become flustered, early on in the MBA interview, and this prevents them from thinking clearly and adapting to the awkward situations. More than anything, it is crucial that you remain calm and clear-headed during your MBA interview.
Common Awkward Moments
The first type of awkward moment that we will discuss is when you are asked a factual question that you are not prepared for; for example, "What was the main reason behind the US subprime crash?" If you are caught off-guard by such a question, do not worry; there is a simple approach that you can employ. First of all, confess your lack of adequate knowledge; do not try to make a wild guess, as that will only make the situation worse. Once you have made your confession, do not linger on the question; proceed with your MBA interview and do not let the awkwardness affect the rest of the interview. Rest assured; it is okay if you did not know one fact; you will not be rejected on this basis.
Another situation that can produce an awkward moment is when your MBA interviewer asks a qualitative question that you are not prepared for, such as, "What are the five recommendations that you would make to the CEO of your organization?" Such questions are a bit off-beat and are not asked in MBA interviews, very often; thus, you might find that you are not prepared to answer it. If you find yourself in such a situation, do not panic and make sure to follow the proper approach. Your first step must be to politely seek permission from your interviewer, to formulate a response; do not worry, it is okay to ask for 20 seconds to think once or twice in an MBA interview. Use that time well and make sure to give an organized answer; you must also make sure to avoid thinking while talking, as ideally, you should have fully formulated your answer in the time that you asked for. Most importantly, once you have answered the question, do not dwell on it and move on with the interview. Remember, no one singular question can decide the outcome of your MBA interview; so, stay confident and do not let one misstep affect your overall performance.
Awkward MBA interview moments also often arise when the interviewer starts grilling the candidate or suggests that he/she disagrees with them on some point. If you find yourself in this situation, do not panic; it is actually a positive sign, the interviewer grilling you or challenging something that you said shows that they find you engaging and now want to test your stress management. Do not get defensive and be willing to answer the questions; take this opportunity to indicate that you wish to reflect your persona.
There are, of course, a few practical concerns that may result in an awkward interview moment. For instance, you may feel thirsty during the interview and badly need the glass of water that you see on the table; if so, politely seek permission to take a drink and have a few sips. However, in the event that you have to answer nature's call, it would be best to avoid it. Do not ask to pause the interview and use the facilities, unless it is an emergency; make sure to reach the venue 30 minutes before your MBA interview and visit the restroom, beforehand.
In order to avoid awkward moments, keep a close eye on your interviewer's reactions. If the interviewer seems bored, take that as a sign that you are telling stories and get down to providing him/her with clear and concise bullet points. If the interviewer gives you any feedback, accept it with the utmost humility. As mentioned above, never get defensive and do not question what the interviewer has said. The final awkward moment that we shall cover is when you realize that you have provided an incorrect answer. In this situation, politely correct your error at the end of the interview. You may feel that it would be better to not correct the error if the interviewer has not caught it; however, proactively correcting yourself is a very strong point to end the MBA interview on.
For a more complete understanding of MBA interview preparation, please read the other articles prepared by Experts' Global.