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Before I share what you need to crack any FMCG interview, please let me clear that I have appeared for only one FMCG interview in my life. But, the insights that I’m going to share are based on the common notion with students at IIMs.
Let me introduce myself first. My name is Shweta Arora. I am a graduate of IIM Ahmedabad and I currently work as an MT at Mondelez International. During my summers process at IIM Ahmedabad, I appeared for 18 GDs and 1 Personal Interview. The pointers shared ahead are my own views based on my experience and what I’ve heard from others at different IIMs.
The FMCG Shortlists
The first step in order to get into an FMCG firm is to get a shortlist. For this, you require a balanced CV which comprises of PORs, extra-curricular achievements and internships. Now, none of these are mandatory, but their presence makes you more likely to get a shortlist.
It has been observed as a trend that students with very focused CVs i.e. experience of only one sector or industry get fewer shortlists as compared to students with balanced CVs, so always aim for the latter.
Your CV need not necessarily have marketing experience, but doing some internships or courses online in that area can help you go a long way, both in getting a shortlist and in showcasing your inclination during the interview.
The GD Round
Most FMCGs conduct a GD round. In which they try to test how well you can work in teams, how strongly can you put forth your point without hurting the decorum of the group.
As a member of the group, your two important tasks are: to put forth crisp, quality and unique points and to listen to others and let them speak.
Two kinds of candidates who definitely get rejected in a GD are:
- The ones who don’t speak
- The ones who speak by interrupting others
In order to perform well in a GD, you need to have good knowledge of the current affairs. Along with that, you need to have an opinion on the matter.
Communication is another skill you need to work on if you want to ace GDs. But, having a great vocabulary is not required. Just basic English with correct grammar would do. The point is to make your statement clear enough for the other members to be able to understand.
The Final Interview
Marketing interviews are known to be soft-skills oriented. What this means is that you’ll be first and foremost tested on your qualities. That is, whether or not you’re a fit for the company. FMCGs don’t expect you to have the business knowledge already. They want candidates who are eager to learn.
The interview questions will mainly be of two types: HR questions (HRQs) and Situational. HRQs can be prepared with a simple 3 step approach – think of situations in life where you did something significant, think of the qualities you portrayed there, now match the situations with all sorts of HR questions that you can be asked.
Situational questions mean, for example, “How will you increase the sales of product A in your area?” Now, for this, you don’t need to know any technical terms, marketing folks already despise jargons and models. What they need are real life insights and the best way to draw them is by observing the consumers in a live market.
Do that, take a note of some interesting observations and share them during the interview, I bet the interviewer will surely appreciate it.
So, these were the three stages of cracking any FMCG interview. Hope you were able to get some takeaways. If you have any query or feedback, feel free to reach out, I write on a blog called Non-Engineers, it talks about the CAT exam and life at IIMs.
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