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When You Are an MBA and Don’t Speak Like an MBA...

It is saddening to see that highly qualified people sacrifice their entire career for want of one basic skill: The ability to convince another person in English!

However, the main question is whether you have the command of English to effectively handle these situations. If you don’t , strategies will remain as well-intentioned plans that are unlikely to ever come to fruition. The following table shows the strategies, and how most job interview candidates could ‘implement’ these strategies. Go through them as smart people learn from others’ mistakes.

After discussing with over hundred interviewers, we have identified the following fifteen strategies you can readily use when you respond to specific question.

Matthew Johnston, Senior Consultant

How Interviewers Want You to Respond?

How Most Candidates Respond?


What Should You Do?


Listen questions for the whole meaning.

  • Don't get the underlying meaning of the question as the candidates lack the much needed English skills.

  • Stare at the interviewer, ask to repeat the question, or jump ahead of the interviewer and start speaking.

70% Rejection

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Provide the most relevant information.

  • Don’t have the English skills to provide the most pertinent, useful information related to that question.

  • In anxiety, reveal unwarranted information that won't influence their decision about hiring you.

83% Rejection

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Rephrase the question or ask for clarification.

  • Don't have the ability to rephrase the question and ask for clarification.

  • Act as if he/she understood the question and hastily start answering in a wrong direction.

90% Rejection

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Answer carefully or avoid answering altogether.

  • Don't have the English skills to creatively divert twisted questions.

  • Don't have the ability to use humour or suggest another way for tough questions that are dangerous to answer.

93% Rejection

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Communicate more than one thing with your answers.

  • Don't have the English skills to succinctly sell his/her diverse abilities.

  • Don't have the ability to exploit the opportunities to provide positive details and build value.

43% Rejection

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Don't volunteer personal information.

  • Tempted to offer up too much personal information, that is considered unprofessional.

  • Tempted to reveal personal details of bosses and colleagues at the current workplace.

66% Rejection

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Be concise.

  • Due to limited vocabulary, poor command of idioms and phrases / phrasal verbs, candidate doesn't know how to keep answers short.

  • As interviewers have limited time, candidate loses opportunity to give away vital information that would otherwise support him.

97% Rejection

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Don’t use adjectives. Provide facts and figures.

  • Continually use flattering adjectives to support one's candidature.

  • Don't have the ability to convince the interviewer with facts and figures and answer follow-up questions.

86% Rejection

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Reassure your interviewer.

  • Fail to reassure the interviewer as the candidate uses unattractive language full of wrong grammar and usages.

  • Fail to provide tangible proof of the past achievements.

97% Rejection

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Use humour when appropriate.

  • Don't have the English skills to understand humour or talk in a humorous way.

  • Use cheap humour at wrong occasions and spoil the image and chance of selection.

46% Rejection

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Be honest-it's still the best policy.

  • Due to anxiety and wrong English, use superlatives and exaggerate one's abilities and get caught in follow-up questions.

  • To please the interviewer, become over honest and fall into traps.

76% Rejection

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Control your body language.

  • Demonstrate unwelcome body-language - funny facial expression, wrong hand movements, casual stance, and unwanted gestures.

  • Interviewers doubt the truthfulness of their answers as they fail to keep eye contact while answering the question.

92% Rejection

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Keep it professional.

  • Due to anxiety they tend to reveal many confidential personal information.

  • Even with a small hint, they reveal confidential matters of another company or client.

88% Rejection

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Smile, relax, and look happy.

  • Due to fear and anxiety, candidates look scared and paralysed. They seldom look relaxed or happy.

  • The look of certain candidates make the interviewers sad and frustrated. They try to get rid of the candidate in a honourable way.

86% Rejection

Click Here


Ask great questions yourself.

  • They don't have the ability to ask intelligent questions about the company, industry or what had transpired during the interview.

  • They frustrate the interviewers by asking a question about salary,  perks or vacations.

92% Rejection

Click Here

To prove how bright they are, most candidates don't actually listen to what is being asked. It's very easy to jump ahead in your mind and assume that you know what the rest of the question will be, particularly when you are nervous or anxious about how you will respond. Usually, you'll end up so busy preparing and rehearsing the answer in your mind that you won't really listen to the interviewer.

Besides this, be careful not to overlook those two-part questions. Often-times an interviewer will ask a question about a certain situation or behaviour and then tack on "Why?" at the end. It's this "Why?" that tends to get neglected in many candidates' answers. Make sure that you fully address the "Why?" so your answer is complete. If you aren't sure you've done that, ask the interviewer, "Did I answer your question?"

01.  First and Foremost, Listen to the Whole Question!

Its important to listen carefully until the interviewer is through asking the question, then take an extra second or two to collect your thoughts before answering. You won't be judged harshly if you do this; in fact, you might earn a few brownie points if you provide a thoughtful answer to what was actually asked.

It's a great strategy to think to yourself every time you are asked a question, "What if this were the only question I get to answer?" Pretending that you have only this one question will help you give the most pertinent, useful information to convince the interviewer that you should get the job. When interviewers say, "Tell me about your-self:' what they really mean is "Tell me about your professional self." You might think it's nice to tell them where you were born or what your favourite hobby is, but save that for another time-that kind of information probably won't influence their decision about whether or not they should hire you.

02.  Provide the most relevant information.

Every time you answer a question, ask yourself, "Is the information I am telling the interviewer going to help him or her decide to pick me for this job?" Make sure the answer is yes.

Not every question you are asked must be answered immediately. Sometimes it's reasonable to wait to respond, particularly when this brief delay will clarify exactly what kind of information the inter-viewer is seeking.

03.  Rephrase the Question or Ask for Clarification.

Some questions are better left unanswered altogether, but handling this properly can be tricky. If you're faced with a tough question that you know is dangerous to answer, try to avoid answering by using humour or suggesting another topic to discuss before returning to the question.

04.  Answer Carefully or Avoid Answering Altogether.

For example if asked, "What are you worth?" you might remain silent for a moment and then respond, "My career path is important to me, and decisions influencing its direction are not based primarily on financial concerns. Therefore, perhaps I can address this question after we have discussed my qualifications further." lt's okay to duck one or two questions creatively, but don't do it more often than that or the interviewer might think that you are hiding something. Take these difficult questions very seriously and think carefully about how to respond.

As we explain in our InterviewMax products and programs, there are only dour primary interview questions. ‘Can you do the job?’, ‘Will you love the job?’, ‘Will you fit in the company?’,  and ‘How much you will cost us?’. In every response of yours, interviewer must find answer for these questions.

05.  Communicate More than One Thing with Your Answers.

Resist the temptation to offer up too much personal information. It's usually a mistake to talk a lot about yourself or your life outside of the professional realm, particularly in a first interview. Some information is considered off limits for interviewers to ask about (although they may ask these questions anyway), but don't volunteer personal information that interviewers know they can't legally ask for but love to have. Don't mention your kids or your parents or how you spend your Sundays. Avoid sharing any information that does not relate to why you are the strongest candidate for the job.

06.  Don’t Volunteer Personal Information.

Sir. Winston Churchill once hurriedly attended a meeting. Before he began, he apologised to the audience, ‘I am going to make a long speech, because I didn’t get the time to prepare a short speech.’

07.  Be Concise.

When you practice what you want to say ahead of time, you can prevent yourself from rambling on in the interview or even worse, seeming unprepared. For example, if asked, "What interests you most about this job?" you can respond by mentioning three key tasks of the job that you would enjoy.

Anyone can offer a self-description full of flattering adjectives, regardless of whether they're true or not. You can say, "I am competent, motivated, reliable, and enthusiastic," but so what? How can you prove it or measure it? Using adjectives to describe your work and yourself is offering only subjective data.

08.  Lose the Adjectives - Stick with Facts and Figures.

The best way to describe your skills and qualifications is to cite objective data. Describe who you are and what you have accomplished with concrete examples that use facts and figures. If you say, "I am great at raising money," it doesn't have the same "pop" or persuasive currency as if you say, "Last year I raised 1.2 million dollars in revenue selling our two top products." Adjectives weaken your case. Let your achievements and the corresponding results speak for you. The interviewer can then decide if you are "competent, motivated, reliable, and enthusiastic."

It is your job to reassure interviewers that the risk in hiring you is minimal. Describe one or two past achievements to show job skills and responsibilities you have mastered, using examples with facts, figures, and tangible proof. For instance, if asked, "Why do you think you have the potential for this job?" you might respond by mentioning your three strongest qualifications that correspond to the job duties and responsibilities.

09.  Reassure Your Interviewer.

Although humour can be risky in an interview and is challenging to apply appropriately, it is often the best tool for dealing with tough questions. For example, if the interviewer asks, "Would you like to sit in my chair one day?" you might respond, "Yes, if you find another chair that's more comfortable!" It is never a good idea, however, to use humour if you have not built up some rapport with your interviewer. Proceed with caution!

Sometimes a little humour can lighten the mood and put people at ease. If you're asked a question that lends itself to a humorous response, go ahead and try one. Humour can allow you to demonstrate that the specific question (and the underlying issue it addresses) is not a problem for you. By showing that you are not knocked off balance by the question, you can impress the interviewer more with a lighter answer than if you had tried to answer the question seriously.

10.  Use Humour When Appropriate.

Although it's very important to be honest in an interview, you should avoid being overly honest-that is, never divulge sensitive or negative information or speak badly of anyone, especially a former supervisor. For instance, do not tell your interviewer that your last boss was terrible or that your coworkers were lazy and expected you to do their work. Do not feel that you must, for honesty's sake, rant on about their shortcomings! By criticizing and dwelling on others' negative traits, you will end up making yourself look bad. If your boss or coworkers were less than stellar, briefly acknowledge that you didn't always see eye-to-eye and then state what you learned from the experience.

If you think fudging the truth (either by distortion or omission) is no big deal, think again. It's never a good strategy to lie during an inter-view. The most common lies people tell involve the nature and extent of their education, credentials, or experience, which can be easily checked (and usually are) by a thorough employer. Furthermore, if candidates are hired based on a lie, it will quickly become apparent that they don't possess the background or skills they had claimed.

11.  Be Honest - It is Still the Best Policy.

The only effective way to combat this unconscious behaviour is to prepare for questions that make you uncomfortable and practice your responses ahead of time with a friend. Ask him or her to pay close attention to any body language that might reveal your true feelings. You can also practice by looking in a mirror. Practice your responses until you've mastered any bad habits; the more you do this, the better you will become at controlling your nonverbal language.

Unfortunately, it's easy to betray your anxiety with nonverbal language, which often happens as an immediate and unconscious response. When faced with a difficult or embarrassing question, some people respond by coughing, blushing, looking down at the floor, playing with their hair, wringing their hands, tapping their foot, and so on. Interviewers easily pick up on these signs-even subtler and less visible ones such as tensing your facial muscles or drooping your shoulders slightly. These unintentional gestures often raise a red flag for interviewers and prompt them to dig deeper.

12.  Control Your Body Language.

Some interviewers have a gift for putting the candidate at ease right away because of their informal and laid-back style. Tread carefully here-these interviewers may make you feel so relaxed that you confess or share things that are better left out of the interview. No matter how nice that interviewer seems (and might, in fact, be), you are not his or her buddy. Keep your guard up and remain professional. Don't cross the line by thinking that you can tell your interviewer your deepest secrets.

13.  Keep It Professional.

Few things are more powerful than smiling confidently when sitting face to face with someone who could determine your future. During your interview, make eye contact regularly with your interviewer, and let him or her know that you are relaxed and prepared. You may be scared or even paralysed inside by a tough question, but what matters is how you look on the outside.

14.  Smile, Relax and Look Happy.

You can master this technique with practice, just as you can fix any body language problems. Look at your smile in the mirror. Avoid a fake expression and be sincere. When you convey the message that there is no question you would rather answer, the interviewer will be impressed.

Many savvy interviewers will tell you that as much ad 50 percent of their decision to hire someone is based on the questions that the candidate asks them. Candidates who take the time to come up with good, penetrating questions demonstrate their interest in the job, their creativity, and their ability to think on their feet.

15.  Ask Great Questions Yourself.

Bring a fallback list of ten or so questions for the interviewer, but make sure not to ask any that address information that's already been covered during the interview. Pay attention during the entire interview and ask questions as you go along. You can ask interviewers to elaborate on the job tasks and duties early on so that you can select relevant questions and avoid wasting their time with extraneous inquiries. Ask well thought-out questions that show that you know the company or industry; let them see your enthusiasm and interest in the job. If your interviewer does not ask you essential questions, take the lead and ask what information you can provide to help him or her make a decision.

when you reach the end of the interview and it's your chance to ask questions, don't ask about benefits and salary if you haven't thought of anything else to ask! Instead, reassert your interest in the job and the company.

How English Deficiency Ruins Your Chances of Interview Success?

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Listening Questions to Understand the Whole Meaning.
Provide the most relevant information.

Rephrase the question or ask for clarification.

Answer carefully or avoid answering altogether.

Communicate more than one thing with your answers.

Don't volunteer personal information.

Be concise.

Lose the adjectives-stick with facts and figures.

Reassure your interviewer.

Use humour when appropriate.

Be honest-it's still the best policy.

Control your body language.

Keep it professional.

Smile, relax, and look happy.

Ask great questions yourself.

Interview Answering Strategies:

If you are an MBA and don’t speak - or carry yourself - like an MBA, no interviewer will value your MBA. Similarly, if you are an engineer, you must communicate in an English level compatible with your qualifications, position you are looking for and your salary expectations etc.

Remember: Job interviews are nothing but a test of your communication skills - from beginning to end!

How English Deficiency Ruins Your Chances of Interview Success?



Communicate Your Ideas.

Inspire Action! Build A Career!


Communicate Your Ideas.

Inspire Action! Build A Career!


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For example, you might say, "My boss and I often had differences of opinion, but our interactions taught me how to stand up for my point of view in a calm, persuasive manner."  By focusing on the positive outcome of an unpleasant situation, you will demonstrate that you can handle challenging coworkers and circumstances.

Matthew Johnston

Snehal Joshi

Sandy Ray

Lucy Cheng

Angela Walsh

Simi Arthur

This Week

This Fortnight

This Month

Learn to look at your interviewer as a prospective customer.

By responding positively and confidently you can bag the job.

If it is passion and deep interest in the job, you get the job.

It is all about products, marketing, sales & conditions.

They want to assess how creatively you approach a problem.

Who wants to hire an un-ambitious rot-learner, interested only in salary?

Erica Sebastian

How do you create plans and execute those plans reveals your personality.


Most candidates fail here because they don’t have the ability to understand the interviewer’s questions. Do you possess the level of English that is required to sit in an interview face to face with an experienced professional and answer their questions? If not, acquire it first.


Many interviewers are a frustrated lot. Reason? Most candidates do not know how to present the relevant information. They don’t have the ability to respond in short and crisp sentences. They can’t answer to the point. In the end, it is for the interviewer to decipher information by picking the pieces from here and there and clarify them from the candidate!

It is crucial to acquire the English skills that match with your educational qualifications and the job/position you are applying for. Providing the most relevant information is a basic skill every employer will expect  in you.

If a question is very general or vague, you can say, "Could you please be more specific?" or "I'd be happy to answer that, but first may I ask you ………………………?" Some interviewers will purposefully be vague in their wording to see how you will respond.

If a question is very general or vague, you can say, "Could you please be more specific?" or "I'd be happy to answer that, but first may I ask you _?" Some interviewers will purposefully be vague in their wording to see how you will respond. If that happens, you can either rephrase the question to make sure you fully understand it or you can ask a follow-up question for clarification. It is better to take a slight detour than to head in the wrong direction by hastily answering a question that wasn't asked.

I am sorry to say that most candidates fail to ask for this crucial clarifications. They search for the right words. In the end, they keep silence, or start talking about something that they are not sure of. And the damage is done. As we say, every job interview is a test on the candidate’s communication abilities. It is imperative to develop English skills that match with your educational qualifications.

Think about your favourite movie. What was its duration? Say 130 minutes. If the same story was said in 40 minutes, the movie would not have been that interesting. There is a pace for every story. Similarly there is a pace for every answer.

‘Ducking questions creatively’ is a success secret in any job interview. However, this success tool is reserved only for those people who have developed excellent English skills. Once again, Do your English skills match with your educational qualification and the positions that you target for employment?

Use your answers to provide the most information that you can, yet do so succinctly. In some of your answers, it might be wise to talk not only about your job skills but also highlight positive personal characteristics or achievements. You can discuss your education, past experience, transferable skills, and interpersonal traits in combination-this kind of summary quickly helps the interviewer get to know you better.

‘Providing most information succinctly’, and ‘discussing things in combination’ are reserved to those people with a decent level of English language skills. It is crucial to develop your English skills to a level that match with your educational qualifications.  

Some candidates think, they can become closer to their interviewers by revealing a lot of personal information about themselves. Most interviewers treat this as a negative point.

Surveys reveal, many candidates, who reveal unwanted (sometimes, prohibited) personal information to divert attention from their other deficiencies, including the lack of English skills.

Keep your answers short- they should range from about thirty seconds to two minutes (for more technical questions). If you go on for longer than that, you risk losing the interest of your interviewer. Most interviewers will let you know what they are interested in by the follow-up questions they ask. when you've said something that catches their attention, they will probe for more information.

Keeping your answers short is a skill that is to be built with conscious efforts.  Developing crucial English skills is the first and most important step in that direction.

Develop the crucial English skills to articulately provide objective data. With your English skills you will be able to communicate your achievements and corresponding results in a much more convincing way.

While communicating this you should have an assuring voice, your body language should be convincing. You can’t do it with grammar mistakes, or in bland sentence, that most people try to do. They don’t succeed.

Lack of communication skills keep them unemployed or under employed.

However, I am sorry to say that most candidates don’t have the English skills to respond to a question in a humorous way. Their English skills restrict them to sit with a stiff face.  And, the same person spends thousands to buy attractive clothes, despite the fact that the face reflects the entire personality.

The most effective method is to use Espoir InterviewMax Interview Simulators.

Your English skills play a major role in this. With doubts about your language skills and your ability to communicate effectively, you will not be able to smile, relax or look happy.

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