How to Tackle the Kira Talent Interview Questions 2023
Kira Talent is a virtual interview platform used by several top universities in their admissions process in lieu of, or as a precursor to, the traditional face-to-face MBA interview. Top business schools like INSEAD, LBS, Oxford, Berkeley Haas, Kellogg, and Yale ask applicants to complete the Kira Talent interview.
The Kira Talent interview is an invite-only, timed interview that applicants complete at home. It may be followed by an in-person or online interview with an interviewer at the school.
Kira Talent attempts to reproduce a formal MBA interview by asking you a video or text based question, giving you a short time to consider your response, and then recording your answer using the webcam and microphone of your computer or using a text box. Some schools use fixed questions, making it possible to prepare in advance. Other schools randomly select from a bank of questions, like Oxford's Said Business School, which also asks applicants to submit a short written essay.
The Kira Talent interview is meant to give the Admissions Committee a “holistic view” of the applicant’s fit with the program. It’s also a good way for them to filter out applicants who are poor communicators or who cannot structure their answers spontaneously.
So when you prepare your Kira Talent answers, avoid the temptation to learn them by rote and repeat verbatim. It’ll be obvious, and will hurt your chances of acceptance.
When giving the Kira Talent interview, you will be asked two broad categories of questions: motivational questions and behavioral questions.
Motivational questions are all about the 'why's and 'how's of your application. This includes your goals, your reasons for pursuing the MBA program, and your previous experiences. The AdCom wants to understand if your motivations are clear and consistent. These questions are pretty straightforward; you’ll probably already have the material for these ready for your written application essays.
Here are some examples of the motivational questions you’ll be asked in the Kira Talent interview:
Why an MBA now?
What are your short-term and long-term career goals?
How will you contribute to the class and the school’s community?
How will an MBA will help you reach your goals?
Why are you pursuing an MBA at this school?
What do you expect to gain from this MBA program?
Give us 3 reasons why you applied for this MBA program.
Give us 3 reasons why we should offer you a place in this MBA program.
If you’re admitted to our program, what do you think your biggest challenge will be in the first year?
What distinguishes you from other applicants?
An effective strategy to tackle these is by reviewing your application material and school research (including clubs, electives, extracurriculars) thoroughly, listing key points from your conversations with school alumni, students, and staff, and being clear on your fit with the school’s values and culture. Remember to write down relevant names and figures in your notes, these might help you under pressure!
Behavioral questions are a bit trickier. They assess your ability to handle challenging situations based on your past experiences. Behavioral interview questions are often centered around classic workplace situations that test your leadership, teamwork, communication, adaptability, responsibility, crisis management, collaboration, commitment to diversity, time management, and professional and personal values.
Here are some examples of the behavioral questions you’ll be asked in the Kira Talent interview:
Tell us about a time when you faced an ethical dilemma.
Would you say most people act out of self interest or altruism?
Tell us about a time when you had to overcome a bias to succeed.
Tell us about the last time when you stepped out of your comfort zone.
If you had an extra hour everyday, what would you use it for?
What advice do you give others but struggle to follow yourself?
Share with us what inspires you to get out of bed everyday.
Tell us what you were like 5 years ago and how you are different today.
Tell us about a time when you helped implement an innovative idea.
Tell us about a time when you were unhappy with your performance at work. How did you address it?
If you were to give a piece of advice to your 18 year old self, what would it be?
If you could go back in time and change something in the past, what would you change?
Tell us about a time when you tried to pursue something and then suddenly had a change of heart. How did you deal with it and make the transition?
How do you manage to work effectively under pressure?
Tell us about a time when you were overwhelmed with work pressure. How do you handle it?
Tell us about a time when a failure ended up leading you to success.
Walk us through the biggest challenge you’ve faced.
Share with us your most significant achievement.
What’s your biggest strength/weakness and why?
Tell us about a time when you led a team.
What was the hardest piece of news you ever had to deliver?
How do you handle failure?
Tell us about how you handle a situation when you know you've made a mistake?
Tell us about a time when you made an unpopular choice. How did you implement the decision?
Have you ever postponed a decision? Why?
Tell us about a time when you had to make a quick decision.
What do you think is your risk tolerance? Did you ever make a risky decision? Why? How did you handle it?
Tell us about a time when you went above and beyond the call of duty? If so, how?
Tell us about a time when you went above and beyond the call of duty to help out a client or a colleague at work?
Share an instance when you were multitasking. How did you prioritize your projects?
How do you manage stress while working with tight deadlines?
Have you ever found yourself involved in a conflict with a co-worker or a superior or even a boss? How do you manage conflicts at work?
What is your definition of successful leadership?
Tell us about a time when you successfully worked as a part of a tight knit team.
Tell us about a time when you challenged the status quo.
Tell us about a time when you had to revive a stagnant team. What did you do?
Tell us about a time when you needed more hands on the deck to finish off a tight deadline. How did you ask for help?
Tell us about a time when you had to make an unconventional choice. How did you bring your team on board?
Tell us about a time when you had to adapt to a new culture, environment, or working style.
Tell us about the last time you had to step out of your comfort zone.
Tell us about a book, movie, song, person or event that has influenced you the most in your life.
Who is your role model and why?
Tell us about the most played song on your phone.
How would you explain Instagram/Facebook/LinkedIn to your Grandma?
Do you believe that social responsibility should always be prioritized over making a profit? Why or why not?
According to you, what is the biggest challenge technology poses today?
According to you, what is the biggest challenge your industry is facing at present?
According to you, what is the most significant social issue we face today?
Notice how most of these questions ask you to recall an instance from your past, or a personal opinion:
Tell me about a time when…
Have you ever…
Describe a time when you…
Give me an example of…
Rather than trying to memorize specific answers for each potential question, it's wise to build a memory bank of stories from your experiences. These stories should be adaptable to various behavioral questions.
For example, prepare a teamwork story that can be used for both “Tell us about a time when you led a team” and “Tell us about a time when you had to convince your team to make an unconventional choice”
For each story, use the SCAR format: Situation, Challenge, Action, Result. Note the traits you demonstrated during that situation.
The SCAR format makes your narrative easy to follow and analyze. Here’s how it works:
Situation: Begin by describing the context with specific details. Set the stage for your story so that the AdCom can understand the scenario clearly.
Challenge: Next, outline the challenge you encountered. What obstacle or problem did you identify or encounter?
Action: Explain specifically what actions you took to address the situation and overcome the challenge.
Result: State the outcome of your actions and demonstrate what impact you had on the situation. The more quantifiable this is, the better.
Remember to analyze your story by noting down the traits you demonstrated in each. An example of a good story structured in the SCAR format is:
Situation: I was President of the Rowing team.
Challenge: Conflict between two members. Both refused to work with each other.
Action: I let things cool off, de-escalated the situation, and called for a meeting.
Result: Realized that I needed to help members align their vision with the team’s and find common ground. Team always came first. Members reconciled and returned.
Traits: Leadership, negotiation, interpersonal skills, communication, teamwork.
Using the SCAR + analysis method will help you keep your story focused and remember all the key details so you can form eloquent, structured answers quickly. It helps the Admissions Committee clearly understand your role in the situation and your skill-set.
The Kira Talent interview questions are designed to understand how well you can think on your feet, reach into your repository of past experiences for relevant stories, and structure them spontaneously. The Admissions Committee wants to see how well you’ll adapt your answers to the question and how honest, confident, and focused you are.
This thought may be intimidating, but practice is key. Complete the Kira Talent interview simulations on MBAconsultant.com to prepare for your Kira Talent interview. You’ll practice using real questions asked by top business schools in previous Kira Talent interviews.
Preparing for the Kira Talent interview? You can also book a free 20 minute chat with one of our expert consultants.