MBA Interviews – a new trend

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image: Panther Portrait posted on flickr.com by mX5barry

On the job: Prepare for new, bizarre trend in interviews

by Anita Bruzzese

Just about everyone has figured out by now that when they go in for an interview, they are likely to be asked by the hiring manager to talk about their strengths and weaknesses. And most people also know they will be quizzed about how their skills would be a good fit for the job.

But how many will be prepared to answer the question “If you were a car, what type would you be?”

Welcome to the tough – and often bizarre – new world of job interviews.

“Because people are so much better prepared for interviews, they’re getting asked some off-the-wall questions that let interviewers see how they react when caught off guard,” says Lynne A. Sarikas, director of the MBA Center at Northeastern University in Boston.

While high-tech companies are credited with starting the new trend of creative interview questions, more companies are seizing the chance to try and rattle interviewees who often are armed with well-rehearsed answers. So now job candidates can expect to hear something along these lines:

  • If you could be any character in fiction, who would you be?
  • If Hollywood made a movie about your life, whom would you like to see play the lead role?
  • If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title should be?
  • If you could compare yourself to any animal, which would it be and why?
  • If you were a salad, what dressing would you be?

But if you claim you would be bleu cheese dressing rather than raspberry vinaigrette, are you really affecting your chances for getting a job?

”It’s not about getting the right answer; it’s about showing grace under pressure,” Sarikas says. ”They’re looking for how you react in that unguarded moment – just like if a customer would call with an unexpected question. They want to know whether you would be able to handle it, or fall apart.”

Still, it can be daunting for interviewees to enter such an environment, where they’re not sure if they’re going to be able to answer such a question without drawing a complete blank or saying something completely inane.

”You can’t possibly be prepared for all these types of questions,” Sarikas says. ”But practice, so that you get a feel for them. Don’t be afraid to take a deep breath before answering, but they are expecting some kind of response. You won’t be able to say you need to go collect data and then get back to them. They’re trying to see what your initial reaction is.” (Join the blog discussion about interview issues at www.anitabruzzese.com.)

In addition to the creative questioning, interviewees also should be prepared for thought-process questions such as ”How many cars would you expect to see parked in the parking lot of the local grocery store at 10 a.m. on a Monday morning in January?”

Such questions are used so the candidate has to talk about population assumptions in the area, the number of competitors, shopping trends for the month and day of the week. While not all job candidates will be asked such a question, it’s more common for hiring managers to look for ways to get an interviewee to demonstrate thought processes and recognize that appropriate data is required.

At the same time, managers may use behavioral interview questions: ”Describe a situation you feel you should have handled differently” or ”What is the most stressful situation you have handled and what was the outcome?”

Sarikas says that there are some ways that job candidates can prepare for the tough and unexpected questions:

  • Be very well prepared to answer common questions such as ”Why did you leave your last job?” so that you are more confident and at ease when the tough ones arrive.
  • Think about situations in your life that you can apply to many of the same questions, especially when it comes to behavioral issues.
  • Have several questions prepared in advance to ask an interviewer. Do not ask about salary or benefits, but rather about the organization’s culture or long-term goals for the job and/or department.
  • Create a bond with the interviewer. ”So, what you do like most about working for this company?” or ”Why did you start working for this employer and what has been your career path?” lets you hear a personal story that helps find common interests.

Read the original post here.

Author: Grayson Leverenz

Grayson Leverenz founded MBA in the USA® to help international students build networks, find jobs, and have fun in the USA. Hundreds of global professionals have benefited from Grayson’s intercultural workshops, and she has worked with people from Brazil, China, India, South Africa, South Korea, the UK, and the USA to build effective virtual teams and craft brilliant careers.

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