Introduction to the Kira interview
Kira interviews (or Kira video questions, depending on who you talk to!) are gradually becoming a staple of university admissions. Starting with MBAs their use has expanded to non-business-related master’s programs and even some undergrad courses. Kira interviews are run by a company called Kira Talent and they, unfortunately, provide precious little information on how to ace these interviews.
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Kira interview structure
While the specifics of your Kira interview will vary according to the program or university you are applying to, a few things are the same with any Kira interview. They are designed to be done asynchronously – that means that there will be no one asking you questions and writing down notes on your answers – you’ll be completely alone. An advantage of this interview method is that you’ll be able to complete the interview at whatever time works best for you. The Kira interview is usually just composed of a video component but an increasing number of universities use Kira’s essay functions as part of the overall assessment.
Kira video interview step-by-step
Typically you’ll have to answer between 3 and 5 questions. These are displayed one at a time, typically through a video with someone from university admissions reading them out. However, on occasion, some universities prefer to display the question as text, without reading them out loud on video. After you are shown one question, a timer will show up. That is the “prep timer”, which tells you how long you have to think about the question. You are not being recorded while this timer is running! Use it to prepare your answer. This timer typically lasts between 30 and 60 seconds. We at Voomer suggest you write down two bullet points:
- How do you plan to start the answer
- How do you plan to finish the answer
The reason for those two bullet points is that right after the “prep timer” counts down to zero, another timer will pop up and you are now being recorded! If you panic, you can quickly look down at your two bullet points and remember how to begin your answer. The same applies as the timer starts getting perilously close to zero – in a pinch just look down at your second bullet point and finish your answer on a strong note. Kira typically does not allow you to re-record any question, so after the first one is done, you’ll be shown the following question and the whole process repeats itself until there are no more questions and the video interview is over.
Common questions on the Kira video interview
These are some typical questions asked in the Kira video interview. Notice that they are not particularly hard-hitting questions, but designed to help the admissions staff get to know you better and assess whether or not you are able to communicate ideas well.
- Tell me about yourself.
- Which personal achievement are you most proud of?
- What will you bring to this program?
- How will others in the program benefit from your experiences?
- What do you plan to do after you complete your studies?
Kira written questions
The Kira written questions test your ability to write a short essay under timed conditions. You’ll be shown a question and at the same time, a timer will start – typically 5 minutes. A live word count will display how many words you have written – but don’t try and target a particular length. Keep in mind that the Kira written questions are meant to test whether or not you are able to write a passable text in English (or any other language) under timed conditions. You are not expected to be the next coming of Shakespeare in 5 minutes! After you are done writing your answer, hit the “submit” button. Another thing that many people worry about is whether they will be recorded while answering the written questions. Kira claims applicants are not recorded. So you can write your answer without worrying about how you look on camera!
Common questions on the Kira written section
Similar to the Kira video questions, the written questions are not particularly challenging or designed as “gotchas”.
- Tell us about a recent news story that caught your attention.
- What interested you the most about the program you are applying to?
- Tell us something interesting from your upbringing.
- What is unique about your application?
- What do you want to accomplish during the program?
Tips to ace your Kira interview
The #1 tip for acing the Kira video questions, is to try to think of them as a face-to-face interview. That means you should prepare and present yourself just as you had a real, live person in front of you. Take a look at some other key tips to ace your Kira interview:
- Dress business casual or match whatever the dress code is expected at the program you expect to attend
- Place a lamp behind your camera so that your face is well lit
- Turn on the lights in your room so that your background is well lit
- Avoid bright lights, windows, or mirrors in your background – those can cause you to be backlit
- Tidy your background, try and present a professional-looking background such as a bookshelf. In a pinch a white wall is fine
- Raise your camera so that it is at your eye level to facilitate eye contact
- Practice before the interview and check that your audio quality is good. If your audio seems off, check your computer input/output devices to ensure you have the right microphone selected and potentially invest in a stand-alone microphone. Even a cheap one can sound much better than an integrated laptop microphone
Conclusion and final tip The Kira interview is not hard – the main obstacle to ace the Kira interview (especially the Kira video questions) is you. The first time I went through a Kira interview I barely practiced and once the timers started counting down – clearly a mistake. That is one of the reasons that I co-founded Voomer. Voomer allows you to practice for your Kira interview video questions in an environment that looks a lot like the real thing. Not only that, you can practice on several past and present questions to gain the confidence you need to ace the Kira interview!