Consulting is one industry area that conducts very specific interviews with their candidates. Case interviewing is a popular method for evaluating candidates interested in consulting opportunities as it’s a way for the interviewer to get a true sense for analytical, critical thinking, and problem solving skills. By giving an interviewee a specific scenario and seeing how they think about the case and go about seeking an answer, it becomes clear if the candidate has the skills it will take to be successful at the job they’re seeking. We know these interviews can be tricky so here are some of our top tips for successful case interviewing!
Write it Down
The interviewer is going to give you a scenario up front and you want to be sure that you jot down all of the details, so you can go back and reference them through your case work. In addition, as you work through different questions and/or problems, make notes about the work that you’re doing. One major point of the case interview is for them to see how you think, so you need to be able to walk them through math or different notes as you work.
There will be missing pieces of information within the case that’s presented to you, I’ll let you in on a secret…they do that on purpose! As you start to work on the case, you can ask the interviewer questions to collect more information. Before asking questions though, ask yourself if it’s actually relevant information needed to move forward within the case. Just because you have the ability to ask questions doesn’t mean you should ask for information that isn’t actually necessary to the case itself. Beware that if you ask something that’s irrelevant the interviewer will probably tell you that.
This sounds easier than it actually is. When the interviewer is presenting you with information or asking questions it’s easy to let your mind start to wander and begin to think of your next move. Stop and just listen carefully to what the interviewer is sharing with you. Oftentimes this lack of listening causes an interviewee to miss out on important pieces of information that are needed to do well in the case.
Going off the listening point, feel free to summarize and repeat the information that was shared with you to make sure that you wrote it down correctly. This way you can be sure that you have all of the right details before you dig in. This will also show the interviewer that you were intently listening and comprehending what they were saying.
Think Out Loud
It feels awkward, but you have to do it! Going back to the point of the case interview, they want to truly get to see the way that you think, and in order to do that, you need to think out loud. As your mind starts coming to conclusions or brainstorming ideas, talk through it. The more that you can practice this, the more natural it will become for you. If you need to stop and do the math or write out some of what you’re working through, make sure to go back and walk through what you did with the interviewer.
If you need additional resources, check out the Case Interviewing Guides found in the Vault Career Insider. You can access the Vault on the right-hand side of SpiderConnect. Once you’re in the resource, go to the “Guides” section, then find this under “Interviewing” guides. Additionally, use the casequestions.com video vault, found on the bottom of the left-hand side of SpiderConnect. These videos walk through a variety of case questions helping you to better understand the layout and flow. You’ll see a password for the site under the image that scrolls on SpiderConnect.