Best Case Interview Preparation

Companies are getting more and more competitive, more especially for consulting firms. For consulting firms to stay ahead of their competitors, they seek out the best possible candidates. One way they get the best workforce is through case interviews. 

Case interviews not only ensure that they get capable individuals but the best among them. To impress companies, you need to prepare for a case interview. So, what’s the best way to prepare for a case interview? Even if you are not applying for a consultant position, case interviews can still appear, especially in higher job responsibilities.

That’s said, that’s why we have this guide to help you better prepare for your upcoming case interview. But first, it is important to understand what is a case interview and its use. This article will mainly apply to helping you get a job in a consulting firm. However, in certain jobs that require management, case interviews will also appear.

What Is A Case Interview?

A case interview is a kind of interview where an interviewer will present a case to the candidate that they will have to solve. What occurs is that a candidate is presented with a business problem, and they will be asked to deal with it. Case interviews are a must-do for consulting firms and administrative positions. Any job that will need problem-solving will most likely have a case interview. 

Case interviews are there to sort out which candidate has adequate creativity, critical thinking skills, and problem-solving skills. Case interviews are not always clear-cut. Just like how consultants have different cases with different scenarios, so will a case interview will be. Even for non-consultancy positions, questions in the interview can still vary a lot. 

Questions in the interview can be trick questions or questions like how you will handle an unsatisfied customer. Preparing yourself for the interview is still important, but even more so for a case interview. Regular job interviews are just you introducing yourself to the interview. On the other hand, case interviews are there to really test how capable you are of the job position.

To keep it simple, think of case interviews this way. A case interview is for you to roleplay your future job, and the interviewer is there to check how good you are at roleplaying. Of course, this also includes your skillsets. 

What Skills Are Needed To Pass A Case Interview?

Best Case Interview Preparation

In a case interview, there are no clear-cut answers to a problem. For example, a client comes to you asking how to improve customer satisfaction in his store. Improving customer satisfaction can come in a lot of ways. You can satisfy customers through listening to feedback, improving your products, or improving customer service.

As you can see, all of them are the right answers. So in a case interview, getting the right answer is not that important. What is important is your train of thought and how you got to your answer. To break it down for you, here is how your interviewer will evaluate you:

1.) Problem-Solving Skills

Problem-solving skills are what most consulting firms want the most. It’s their job, after all, to solve problems for the client.

During the interviewer, they are on the lookout for those that can identify the cause, isolate it, and which ones to prioritize. To help you out a bit, the problem they will present is not just a single question. Otherwise, an answer can be too broad. 

There have to be specifics, and to that end, they will give you information. The information can be relevant or irrelevant, and it’s up to you which one you will use to solve the problem. 

That same information can be used to construct a logical argument that your solution is viable. 

Why irrelevant information? Perhaps in the future, a client can come to you with a problem they have a hard time solving. That same client can provide information that can be relevant or irrelevant since they are not able to identify which works and which doesn’t. 

Do not rush when solving the problem, and take your time to think it over. Avoid rushing to conclusions without sufficient proof that your solution is viable because especially they dislike it. 

2.) Creativity

If you are applying for a consultancy or management position, you need to at least know the fundamentals. However, do not be too tied with textbook strategies or approaches. They want someone who can think outside the box but not necessarily breaking the rules. 

You don’t have to be an expert in every field. For example, a client asks you how they can improve customers satisfaction. Will you be able to ask relevant or insightful questions to better understand the problem? Perhaps it might be key to solving the problem. 

3.) Structure

How you solve the problem is what is important. So, structuring will play a major role in helping you prepare yourself for a case interview. 

How you create a structure will dictate how you will solve the problem. It is ill-advised to solve a problem all in one go. To simply put, break down the problem into much more manageable pieces. Examine each piece carefully, and tackle them one by one. When put together, it might help you see the bigger picture. 

It is the basis of how you will approach a problem and how you will argue the validity of your solution. If your structure is incoherent, then so will be your answer. Your answer might seem right, but it might not make sense to the client or interviewer. 

4.) Communication

Communication is as important as any other skills above. Once you are on the job, you will meet up with clients from different companies or industries. Strong communication skills will help you better extract information from a client regarding their current business problems. It makes work more efficient. Present yourself professionally, your answers should be concise, and communicate naturally.

Having all of the four skills will help you significantly in preparing for a case interview.