PI: Overview, Questions, Preparation

Personal Interview (PI) 2021 ( PI )

Abhishek Dhawan

Abhishek DhawanSenior Executive – Editorial

Updated on Feb 8, 2022 10:16 IST

Higher education institutes in India conduct Personal Interview rounds as a part of the counselling and selection process for major professional courses. Several degree courses including MBA, have selection rounds that include Group Discussion, Personal Interview and WAT/situation test/ psychometric test. Qualifying Personal Interview (PI) round is a prerequisite to secure admission in reputed colleges offering professional courses under Management, Design, etc. Personal Interview is conducted by the admission panel after shortlisting candidates based on entrance exam scores and Group Discussion (GD) round. The interview panel might consist of more than one member evaluating communication skills, confidence, body language, critical thinking skills, and more.

Personal Interview counts as the foremost tool to evaluate more than just theoretical knowledge. It helps analyse the approach of the candidate towards stressful situations via his/her verbal responses and non-verbal responses. Thus, preparing for a personal interview is equally important.

Also Read: MBA Preparation 2021: Tips to Prepare for MBA Entrance Exams

Personal Interview Format

The interview process for Design admission or MBA admission is generally conducted by institutes ditching any centralised process. Some colleges also include PI and GD rounds as part of the counselling. An institute conducting PI appoints three to four expert members to ask questions from the shortlisted candidates. Questions in a PI round are both generalised as well as personalised. The duration of the round can lie anywhere between 15 minutes to 40 minutes depending on the conversation.

Generally, PI is conducted physically at a predefined centre; however, PI has also been conducted virtually owing to the situations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Also Read: Tips to Crack Virtual GD/PI

Personal Interview Preparation Tips

Personal Interview is one of the most important components of the admission criteria at top institutes including IIM, NIFT. Some IIMs including IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Calcutta, IIM Lucknow, and IIM Bangalore provide more weightage to the performance of a candidate in a Personal Interview than the CAT exam. Admission based on NIFT Entrance ExamNID Entrance Exam and CEED also has PI round included in the selection process. Here are some simple yet effective tips to crack the Personal Interview round for college admissions.

Also Read: Personal Interview: 5 Situations That May Stump You

Do the Research

One must go through extensive research of the institute. The panel might ask questions on why the candidate is willing for admission to a particular institute. Check the rewards and recognition along with the collaborations with global institutes. In addition, check the average and highest placements offered to the students of the institute beforehand.

Work on Self Confidence/ Non-Verbal Communication Skills

Listening to the questions carefully and answering the same confidently can make a big difference. You must have eye contact with the interviewer at all times. Shaking legs, playing with the pen are few signs of nervousness that must be avoided.

While communicating, the interview panel shall be evaluating both verbal and non-verbal communication skills. Non-verbal communication can be evaluated using body language, and expressions.

Worried about How to Prepare for GD/PI for admission to Higher Education courses? Check GDPI Preparation Guide

Be Clear with Objectives

One must be clear with the objectives to appear for the interview. With the “Why ABC course?” or “Why ABC institute?”, the interview panel analyses your future goals and objectives. Preparing these questions and analysing your end goal you could achieve with an MBA degree from ABC institute can help during the interview.

The interview panel evaluates your determination towards your goal. For instance, you tell the interview panel that you are pursuing an MBA program only for a PG degree and not to grow on professional and personal aspects, chances are the candidature would be rejected.

Inculcate Skills Focusing Your Goal

Attaining on-the-job skills that could help you become an efficient professional is one way to impress the interview panel. You should have several certifications that could enhance the soft skills along with the measurable abilities. Having multiple skills help provide you with context to talk more during the Personal Interview round.

Dress Professionally

Although, some institutes do not have a dress code for the Personal Interview round. However, candidates must always dress professionally during the personal interview. Dressing professionally will not only boost self-confidence but have a strong impact on the interviewer as well.

Also Read: How Your Outfit Might Affect Your GD/PI Score

Personal Interview Questions

Here are few most common questions asked in a personal interview round:

  1. Tell me something about yourself?
  2. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  3. Why ABC course?
  4. Why and which specialisation would you prefer?
  5. Tell us about your interests and hobbies?
  6. Tell us your institute preference if you receive calls from other institutes?
  7. What is the most important decision you have made in life?
  8. Tell me about your home-state/hometown?
  9. What if you are not selected in the PI round?
  10. Where do you see yourself 5/10/15 years from now?

Also Read: Top 32 Questions to Prepare for Personal Interview

Besides the above-mentioned questions, a Personal Interview round shall also have personalised questions based on your studies at bachelor’s level, work experience, social-economic causes, etc.

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FAQs on PI Preparation

Q: How to deal with the fear of facing a personal interview?

A: Dealing with fear is more of a psychological challenge. Candidates must accept the fact that the interviewer is a human who is doing the job of knowing the candidate better. An interviewer will typically indulge in a conversation. Candidates mustn’t fear rejection as there will be other opportunities in the future as well.

Q: What weaknesses should I mention in case the panellists ask for the same?

A: Interview panellists hear hundreds of responses where the candidate tries to outplay the panel by showcasing their strengths as weaknesses. Therefore, one must be honest and answer the question honestly. Additionally, the candidate should lay an emphasis on how you can improve on this part.

Q: How to introduce myself in a personal interview?

A: One must start with some basic details such as name, occupation, and family background. Candidates must also add their objective as well as how their education can help achieve their goal in life. Additionally, candidates must state their strengths and qualities. Candidates must also mention their achievements that have helped them in their career, or academics.

Q: How do I answer the ‘Why MBA’ question in an MBA selection interview?

A: Candidates must not focus on spreading their charm by playing across words. The answer required by the interview panellist is about what the candidate wishes to achieve from the MBA degree. Candidates must answer the question with honesty and authenticity by explaining how the program aligns with their interests and goals. Additionally, candidates must answer why an MBA degree makes the most sense in achieving the goals.

Q: Does the personal interview round for MBA and design courses differ across the pattern and type of questions?

A: No. Any personal interview revolves around the basic questions that help build the conversation. Be it a job interview or an interview for college admission (irrespective of the course), the type of questions in the interview will be aligned to know how the candidate is the best fit. Thus, researching about the programme is a must.

Q: What should a person wear in a personal interview?

A: The outfit for an interview should be formal. Dress formally in the attire you feel confident in. Formal clothes help enhance body language. Dark-coloured clothes without any pattern or prints is a good example to dress suitably for an interview.

Q: How do I explain the year gap for an interview?

A: Candidates must avoid cooking up the stories when in a difficult situation during an interview. The safest way to go is, to be honest. Interviewers are typically smart enough to catch a lie; therefore tell the interviewer why you took a gap. Additionally, tell them how you didn’t waste the time during the gap year.

Q: What are some of the common questions asked in a personal interview?

A: Some of the major questions asked in every interview for college admission will include, why do you want to attend this institute, why do you want to study this discipline, how would your friends describe you, what are your strengths and weaknesses, what do you like to do in your spare time, etc.

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