Best Way To Prepare For Case Interview
Case interviews are not to be taken lightly. Expect them to be difficult in multiple ways. They are a core part of any consulting firm for selecting the right candidates. Every consulting firm has case interviews, except a small minority.
If you dream of becoming a consultant, you will inevitably come across it. If otherwise, case interviews can still pop up in different business sectors. Other businesses have seen the effectiveness of case interviews, and so they emulated it. While they might seem different, their core purpose stays the same.
Likewise, case interviews are adapting and evolving. They frequently change case interviews to simulate the current business trends. Through this process, businesses can find the best possible candidates.
While it is indeed a challenging obstacle, it doesn’t mean they are impossible. With the right preparation, you can arm yourself for your upcoming interview. Instead of a convoluted approach, through the right preparation, it will become a rather straightforward process.
But before you get into your preparation, you first need to understand the interview process.
Case Interview Phases
No matter the consulting firm, case interview phases are very similar to each other. To get the job, you will have to solve several case studies. Each case study interview can last 20-60 minutes. Depending on the firm, each case study can have a different interviewer.
You will have to solve case studies four to six times, which are divided into two rounds. Here is how the first round of the interview will go:
The first round of the interview will be an ice breaker for you. Although I say it’s an ice breaker, it is still a difficult round. But if you compare it to the second round, this may well be just an ice breaker. During the first round, the interviewer’s goal is to know you first, and then, see what you can do This is how the first round of the interview will go:
- Fit Interview: During this phase, your personality, such as traits, mannerisms, and interpersonal skills, are closely examined by the interviewer.
Just like any other company, consulting firms likewise are always hiring. Due to insufficient and leaving employees, they always have a vacant seat. Either they can’t handle the workload, or they plan to work in another job sector.
So before they even start the recruitment, they want to know first if you are the right applicant for the job.
- Time To Solve Cases: After your fit interview, you will now be subjected to a series of case interviews. For the next 20-60 minutes, you will be subjected to a case interview. That’s per case interview, mind you. You are going to sit there for a long while. Of course, they are going to provide breaks in between.
- Another Fit Interview: Another fit interview coming your way, this time, however, you will be the one asking questions. After the series of case solving, you are allowed to ask questions.
While it may not seem much, don’t be too casual about it. The questions that you are going to ask are still under evaluation. Come prepared with a list of questions. Inquire about the firm, the sort of clients they handle, and their company culture.
Although it is the first round, you still need to exert a lot of effort. How you perform in the first round will determine if you are proceeding to the second round.
Now comes the second round, and in this round, the format relatively stays the same. As you might expect, things will be changed a bit. This time, we have a more experienced interviewer that will conduct the interview.
That’s not all, time and psychological pressure are added to the mix. The second phase will be one of the most challenging encounters in your life. However, that is to be expected. A consultancy job is not at all easy.
- Time Pressure: During the second round of case interviews, they will test how you can handle yourself despite the time pressure. On top of that, you will experience two or more case interviews in a row with few breaks in between.
- Focus: On the second round, experienced interviewers will handle the case. They have a keen eye on how focused you are on solving the case.
- Psychological pressure: During the first round, you can simply focus on the case uninterrupted. Even times, the interviewer will guide you in handling the case. However, this time around, the interviewer will antagonize you. They want to see how you can handle cases if any uncertainties arrises.
Before The Case Interview
Here is a list of things to prepare for the case interview.
Research The Firm
Research the firm that you are trying to get into. Study their preferences and know the type of cases they handle regularly. Learning about the cases they previously tackled can give you an insight into how they solve cases.
Check out some reviews online and see what applicants have to say in their interview process. Or simply, you can search case studies online and see how different people approach the problem.
Know Your Structures
How you structure will say a lot about you. How you structure is more important than getting the right answer. A case interview is not all about getting the answer but is about knowing your line of thinking.
The better you structure, the more precise and concise your line of thinking. It will help solve cases more efficiently In the end, your answer will also be precise and concise. It’s not convoluted and confusing.
Your preparation won’t matter if you don’t put in the effort to practice. This is the only way you can truly feel what it is like to be in the interview. If possible, grab a practice partner so that you can give each other feedback.
Likewise, try getting a practice coach to help better simulate a case interview. They are lot more experienced, and so they can accurately and constructive feedback.