MBA studies are no joke! There will be days when you will have to give multiple exams on a single day and let's not even talk about the midnight surprise quizzes or hours-long lectures for which you will have to prepare beforehand. In a way, b-schools help you to get ready for the corporate jungle. Hence, stress interviews are an important part of the selection process in MBA colleges. This helps the evaluators identify your ability to handle stress and thrive during stressful situations (of both b-school and the world). In this article, you will learn what stress interviews are, types of stress interviews, how to perform well in such situations and a question list for you to prepare and practice.
What are Stress Interviews?
Stress interviews are designed to deliberately put the candidate (interviewee) into an awkward situation. It is done to test how a candidate performs under stress. They also additionally test your ability to -
- Think on your feet
- Respond well in difficult situations
- Stay calm in a stressful environment
Sometimes these interviews can feel difficult and emotion-provoking. This is done to assess your physical and psychological responses to stressful stimuli.
Type of Stress Interviews
- Dismissive interviews: In such interviews, the interviewer may act uninterested, distracted, bored and purposefully avoid eye contact. They will try to show that by using their body language and signals. For example, they might yawn, keep looking at their watch, etc.
- Aggressive interviews: In such an interview, you will be asked questions that may prompt an emotional response. You may be asked things like, “Do you have anything to say about my interview technique?”.
- Intimidating interviews: In this, the interviewer may act in a very inappropriate way or a hostile manner, ask questions in a demeaning manner and may ask you to repeat yourself continuously. They might even whisper with each other or answer their phone mid-interview. They want to intimidate you, to see if you ‘break’. Or just see how you fare in such a situation.
- Interview With Random Questions: These are seemingly random questions, asked to the candidate's ability to think quickly and problem-solving skills. Questions such as “If you were to be a biscuit what biscuit would you like to be and why?” or “If you had 1Cr what would you do with it would you do with it?”
- Difficult hypotheticals: You will be asked a hypothetical awkward situation-based question. This is done to assess your capability to handle yourself in a particular situation. For example, if you see a person cheating in an entrance exam will you complain to the authorities?
- Your interviewer is trying to provoke and get a reaction out of you. Don’t respond to aggressive behaviour in an aggressive manner. So stay calm, be aware of your body language because that matters too.
- When conversing with your interviewer, try to keep eye contact at all times. It shows that you are confident. Try to have a poker face, don’t roll your eyes (that will make the interviewer think you are mocking them), or start looking up or down while answering questions (the panellists will think that stress has hit you).
- A good upright posture with hands on your thighs can make you look confident.
- Probe by asking questions around their question. This will help you buy time and form a more accurate answer to their question.
- Sometimes “I don’t know” is also a right answer. At the end, we are all human beings. It is completely fine if you do not know the answer to the question your interviewer is asking you. Just confidently own up to it. It takes a lot of courage to admit that you “don’t know” the answer. Something your interviewers will also respect.
- Don’t take it personally. Stress interviews are not meant to belittle or attack you personally. During such interviews, if you are feeling cornered by harsh questioning or behaviour, remind yourself that it’s nothing but an assessment tactic and don’t take it in your heart.
- What makes you think you’re qualified for this b-school?
- Do you think your interview is going well?
- You lost me halfway through. Could you start again and get to the point this time?
- Why are you mumbling so much? Can you be a little louder?
- What would you change about the design of street lights?
- I don’t think you are a good fit for this college, is there anything you would like to say to change my time?
- Say you are the leader of a study group and you have to submit an assignment in another hour. It is a group project where you all are marked together. Your team members have not done the project properly, one of them has not even finished his work. What will you do?
- This is a marker, sell it to me.
- You are sitting on a chair, tell me about it (other than sitting).
- Which colleges are you applying for? Which colleges are you applying for? Why XY college?