Best Way To Structure Case Interview

During a case interview assessment, there are many factors that interviewers need to consider. Among these, they assess your problem-solving skills the most. To get the best possible answer to a case interview question, understanding the question first is vital. That’s why you must structure your approach to solving the problem. But what is structuring? What is the best way to structure a case interview?

If you are new to case interviews, learning structuring will be quite challenging. However, the structuring process is not limited to a case interview only. Perhaps, if you manage to ace your case interview, structuring will also play a key role in your potential job. Structuring is a skill that will help you handle any case, either in a case interview or on the job already. 

Why Should You Structure?

During a case interview, you will be given a problem, and you are expected to ask questions. Ask questions to clarify what you need to clarify. After that, write down some notes to use as a reference for your structure.

Structuring is not a specific part of the interview, and you won’t be graded for it. However, structuring will lay the groundwork for how the interview will play out. You must get your structure right. Otherwise, the narrative of your solution might become incoherent or inconsistent. If that happens, you won’t leave a good impression. 

What Is Structuring?

How you structure yourself will dictate how you can effectively solve the problem. To simply put, you are breaking down a question into several manageable pieces. Examine each piece careful, and tackle them down one by one. When put together, these individual answered pieces help you solve the problem. Break them down to make it easy and efficient. 

As the saying goes, divide and conquer. Divide as many times as you need. You don’t have to face the questions head-on and take your time to analyze them. Case interviews are not easy. They are, after all, there to simulate an on-the-job experience. Just as solving a problem on the job can be quite challenging. 

To make it easy for your interview and potential job, break down the problems first. Structuring is very common in many industries too. Quite a handy skill, actually. 

Best Way To Structure Case Interview?

Best Way To Structure Case Interview

There is no such thing as one best way to do a structure. You can do your own structure as long as it will help you solve the case fast and efficiently.  However, there may be things that warrant improvement. Also, it could be that your method could’ve been inefficient. So what then can we consider as a good structure?

Here is what a good structure consists of; focusing on the case and breaking it down. Together, it will pave the way to a solution, and provide some innovative insights. It might sound complicated, but together, it will simplify the cases that you are going to solve.

We will break down each step of what consists of a good structure. In a way, you can say this article is giving you a structure in making a proper structure. 

1.) Focus On The Case

To solve a problem, you first need to know that there is a problem in the first place. When the interviewer gives you the case, keep sticking to it.  Avoid misunderstandings or getting the wrong assumption.

It might sound obvious, but if you have a different assumption in mind, your answer will be way off! You might even say that would be a rookie mistake, but it happens way more than you think. Carefully understand the question so that you and the interviewer are on the same mind. 

Understanding the question is simple because you only need to ask questions. After an interviewer has given you the case, feel free to ask some questions. Understand what needs to be understood, and clarify the details you need to clarify. 

It isn’t a point deduction if you ask questions. However, keep it only at interaction and not cooperation. Think of it this way; a client goes to asking for a solution to their current problem. If they ask for cooperation, they probably know how to solve their problem, not needing you. In interaction, they ask for a solution, and it’s your job to provide it. In short, don’t ask the interviewer to work with you together to solve the case.

2.) Break Down The Case

After you got all the details sorted out, there is no need to solve them in one go. Cases given are most often than not complex. Well, if you can solve it in one go, feel free to. However, make sure to avoid missing some details because they do count. 

No need to rush when solving; divide each question and tackle them separately. To help you give a better visual when breaking down the problem, illustrate a tree. The core of the case or problem is the trunk of the tree. As you expand further, you are making different branches out from the one problem. 

Isolate the small problems from the big problem. Perhaps, even going as far as making branches from the branches. It’s like making a sub-category. For example, means of land travel is the case. You can divide it further by categorizing it as off-road transport, rail transport, and road transport. Then, you can further divide road transport as by van, car, or a taxi. 

It might take a while when breaking down a case. However, as you do it, do not feel awkward by the silent pause. In fact, it’s expected that you do it. 

So, how to better learn to structure cases well? Practice, practice, and practice. Grab a friend and ask them to work with you. Have them simulate a case interview. Although you might only need to practice your structuring, do it nevertheless. A case interview practice is the best practice for structuring. If by chance your friend has a busy schedule, practice using a mirror.