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How to Ace the INSEAD Video Interview

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Joined: 30 Nov 2009
Posts: 6649
Location: Chicago, IL
Schools: Brown University, Harvard Business School
How to Ace the INSEAD Video Interview  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Sep 2019, 07:56
As INSEAD’s September 2020 Round 1 deadline looms (September 18!), let’s take a look at one of the more stressful aspects of the application: the video interview. Here’s the prompt:

Shortly after completing your INSEAD MBA online application, you will receive an e-mail notification from Kira Talent with a unique link to complete 4 video interviews. Your link will be also available on your
dashboard within the application system. The video should be seen as a unique opportunity for you to share your passions, your motivations and who you truly are. The Admissions Committee is interested in
obtaining an authentic view of you as a person, to see how you think on your feet and how you convey your ideas.

For something like this, where you’re going in blind… the goal is to be “unstumpable.” What does that mean? It means you need to be prepared for ANY four questions, and not get stumped, cotton-mouthed, sweaty, etc. You need to avoid flubbing any of those 60-second clips. Easy enough right?!

Hardly. Being “unstumpable” is hard. Some folks are born with it. For the rest of us, it takes some work. And luckily, there is work we CAN do to chip away at this challenge.

Step 1. Practice… COLD. Get familiar with your equipment by recording yourself (it can be Quicktime, whatever video recording option you have, keep it simple). Then find a list of “interview questions” from somewhere, get dressed, get your room prepped the way it will be on the day you’re going to record, and pick a RANDOM question off that list. Give yourself 45 seconds to prepare an answer, and then record a response in 60 seconds. Guess what: There’s 9 out of 10 chance it’s going to suck. Great. Do it again. Pick another question, ideate for 45 seconds (not 46… 45), then record. Guess what? This one’s going to suck just as bad. Great. Do it again. A third time. Guess what? This one may also suck. No problem. You’ve just taken a CRITICAL first step. Breaking the seal. Popping the cork. Lighting the fuse. Congrats, and move on to Step 2.

Step 2. Now… sit back and relax for a second. Take a look at your videos, make some basic observations, but don’t get too critical just yet. Just focus on big stuff. Do you look confident? Do you seem likeable? Those may be the two biggest things to consider first. And then… how good is your answer? Just… observe for now. The fun stuff comes next. Did I say fun? I meant most definitely UNFUN stuff.

Step 3. Consider what these cats can possibly ask you. They’ve given you some clues in their additional advice on this prompt. First, the meat itself: “share your passions, your motivations and who you truly are.” But second, “how [well] you think on your feet and how [well] you convey your ideas.” So, passions, motivations, what you’re all about. Here are some tips. Think about telling a STORY from your past (can be any story) that captures PERFECTLY… who you are, in a nutshell. Now, we used the word “perfect” to imply just one response, but actually, there are many ways to slice this. One story can reveal something about what MOTIVATES you. Another story can reveal something about what’s unique about your PERSONALITY. Another story can reveal something about what you LOVE more than anything on Earth, and what that says about you. Lots of stories. Find a bunch, that all say different things, and practice 60-second versions of them. DO NOT write down scripts, you can absolutely OVER-REHEARSE these. Just riff, tell stories, be entertaining. The point is not to IMPRESS, and it’s not to be STRAIGHTFORWARD… it’s to COMPEL the reader’s interest. Either through persuasion or by being entertaining. There are no points for being dull. None.

Do this a bunch of times. Try to come up with twists on questions. “What citrus best captures who you are?” “Would you rather X… or Y”? “If you had one X to take to a desert island, what would it be and why?” You get the idea, there are millions of these out there, but you just need to get acquainted with this mode of thinking. With a good bank of stories, your bullets should mostly be LOADED such that the question doesn’t actually matter. The goal is to be comfortable enough with your go-to ANSWERS that the questions itself can quickly be spun to get you to the response you’re already poised to give. The folks who seem like NATURALS at this? The charismatic politician who can answer question without really answering it? That’s what they’re doing. They’re just so good, it seems like it’s impromptu. It isn’t. It’s a matter of comfort. And it’s a learnable skill.

Step 4. Practice with new questions, new types of questions, and get as comfortable as you can, to the point where the prospect of being thrown a question and having 45 seconds to prepare an answer doesn’t faze you one bit. Don’t show your practice videos to a bunch of people—too much feedback can confuse you or even hurt your confidence. Maybe pick one trusted guy and get some insights, but don’t go beyond that.

Have more questions? You can read through our team’s analysis of the rest of INSEAD’s application essays here, or feel free to reach out to us in the comments of this thread!
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How to Ace the INSEAD Video Interview   [#permalink] 11 Sep 2019, 07:56
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