The most common methods used by companies when shortlisting candidates for summer internship interviews? GDs and/ or PIs. Do you know the science of cracking these interviews and discussions with ease? In this article, we tell you the strategies behind cracking GDs and PIs to bag that dream internship.
Group Discussions And How To Prepare For Them
As you saw in the video, here are some general tips for effective participation in a GD:
- Understand - Understand the topic before attempting to contribute.
- Speak - Try and get a chance to speak. If you can't get a chance to speak make your chance.
- Initiate - Take the initiative to begin the discussion, if possible.
- Structure - Structure arguments logically - justify your stand.
- Summaries- Summaries the discussion effectively
- Involve- Take active part throughout the GD.
- Assert- Be assertive.
- Articulate- Work continuously towards articulating your ideas into meaningful sentences to make the best impact. Be clear in your speech.
- Emphasize.-Use non-verbal communication to emphasize points.
- Listen- Be an attentive listener.
- Quality, not quantity matters- it's not 'how much' you say, but 'what' you say that's important.
So what are the different formats of GDs and how can you ace them? The video below explains these…
Please note that this video talks in-depth about marketing GDs. But the points touched upon are relevant to finance, HR, operations or any MBA stream as well. We compiled the key takeaways to assist you.
- Group Discussions are usually the 1st round of elimination.
- There are 3 types of GDs.
- The USUAL GD has 5-9 people in the group, observed by the moderator.
- The CHAIRMAN GD is a longer version of the usual GD, with only 5-7 members.
- The CASE GD has smaller group sizes that may only have 3 people.
- The USUAL GD for any stream, marketing, finance, HR, Operations, or consulting, revolves around complex topics in terms of depth or diversity.
- Topics for the USUAL GD may be concept specific or strategy specific.
- Crack this GD by speaking about your specialization (marketing, finance, HR, Operations, or consulting) and allied fields.
- Do not lose focus during these discussions by deviating to points that are not directly related to your specialization or the question you are discussing.
- Avoid jargon, if the larger group is not savvy with it.
- One person is assigned the role of a chairman, who acts as moderator, during the CHAIRMAN GD.
- As chairman, you must direct the flow of discussion, ensure everyone gets a chance to contribute, control time slots and sometimes, if asked, give a topic too!
- As chairman, you must not actively participate in the discussion. Instead you must only direct the discussion when required.
- To crack the CHAIRMAN GD, keep abreast of trending topics, which are simple, without jargon and do not require a lot of preparation.
- As an active chairman, you are expected to drive the meaningful conversation.
- As chairman, you get points for the expanse of perspective and intensity of the discussion.
- As chairman intercept when one topic is stretched out of proportion by a group member.
- Remember that you have a time limit and must cover as many areas as you can.
- Be tactful.
- You will be asked a specific issue with more details in the CASE GD.
- You may get a short brief of 2-3 lines, and will get more information when you ask.
- You may get a page long case and 5 minutes to read it through. Make notes during this time so that you can participate in the discussion.
- Understand the problem, your assessment of it, and your group members' position on the problem, before presenting any discussion.
- Ensure that you are viewing the problem from different perspectives as well.
- Ask for more information only when the topic comes up during the discussion.
- Arrive at a consensus within the group before presenting a problem.
- Your confidence, personality, enthusiasm and creativity all matter during interviews.
You may think that GDs are a part of the elimination round. But they also have another purpose. GDs are used to assess certain group skills that cannot be evaluated in interviews. It's important to assess your current strengths in all these areas and accordingly put efforts to strengthen your weaknesses. The skills that are usually assessed in a group discussion are :
- Communication Skills
- Interpersonal Skills
- Leadership Skills
- Motivational Skills
- Team Building Skills
- Clarity over Ambiguity
- Divergent Thinking
- Listening skills
- Presentation Skills
- Analytical / Logical skills
The next step after a GD is usually a Personal Interview. This is the final frontier. Some companies may skip the GD round altogether and directly call you for an interview. This means you need to know all about how interviews are conducted. Find out what this entails.
Personal Interviews And How To Prepare For Them
Prof. Seema Khanvilkar, Professor Of Business Communication at MISB Bocconi, explains some basics of the PI. The personal interview is the last door that you have to open to get your dream job. Despite months of preparation, no one can predict the pattern and structure of a personal interview. There are a few commonly asked questions in the personal interviews.
It's not expected of you to know the answer to every question that you face in a personal interview, but you can prepare some of the commonly asked questions in an interview. You are not expected to know everything. The personal interview is conducted to assess your interpersonal & communication skills and to know your dedication and focus. You can check out Module 2 of this course to find out about some common interview questions and how should you answer them.
The video below explains different types of Personal Interviews and how you can come out on top after each. Note that this video talks at length about marketing interviews. But it has some generic, salient points for any PI as well.
We've compiled some key takeaways to assist you.
- The 1-on-1 interview is the most common type of interview.
- The company wants to know you as a person, your attention to detail, and your interests, as well as in-depth about projects and activities you mentioned on your CV.
- To crack this interview, ensure that all the points on your resume can be discussed in length by you.
- Companies may turn your project into an actual marketing/ finance/ consulting/ HR/ operations problem and ask you to solve it.
- Know all concepts, theories and frameworks of your chosen specialization.
- Do not use mugged up definitions. Instead show your comprehension of theories and concepts by utilising real examples.
- Even when not asked, you can give at least one example of an application of a concept, framework or theory.
- The CASE interview involves you solving a specific question or case.
- You may get a one-line brief or a very specific problem.
- Don't assume anything, instead ask the interviewer questions about the case.
- If any specific information is missing, ask instead of assuming.
- Present answers logically, with backing from frameworks, concepts and theories.
- Do not force-fit any concepts with the case.
- Think your solution and step by step elucidation aloud, so the interviewer knows where you are coming from.
- Companies that do heart touching ads, and creative work usually set up a CREATIVE INTERVIEW.
- You may get some creative task that shows your passion, knowledge and learning.
- Having a working, practical knowledge of the various aspects of your chosen industry is a must.
- Focus on being as exhaustive as you can within the time limit.
- Aesthetics is not important. Neatness and clarity is.
- Follow each step and each logical process to completion.
- This may be a group task. Encourage group participation here.
- Divide the tasks if needed. This exercise helps the interviewer see that you can get work done from others on your team.
- No matter what stream you are from, curiosity and focus are the keys to cracking the personal interview.
Let's have a special look at case interviews and how you can crack them.
Now that you know how to crack GDs and PIs, we hope you get through every interview out there and crack your dream internship! Best of luck.