Do Case Interviews Work?

Case interviews have been the trend for consulting firms for years now. Recently, other industries have caught up with the idea and started doing their versions of case interviews as well. If you are considering a lofty position in a business, expect some case interviews along the way. What are case interviews? Trendy as they are, do case interviews work?

Case interviews are much more than your typical interview. It is much more technical, and it will require a lot of problem-solving. However, the difficulty of the interview can depend on what job position. Some interviews can just be analytical, while some will require math skills. Just like your math problems back in school, albeit in a practical application, of course. 

With case interviews, it will be much easier to find the right talent for the job. Your performance in this interview can be the difference between getting the job or not. So best be prepared for it on top of the usual job interview. 

It sounds stressful and intimidating. Perhaps, it may have led some to avoid the industry instead. So, do case interviews work? Do they really help a company find the right candidate?

What are Case Interviews?

Before we dive in a bit further about the effectiveness of case interviews, let’s properly identify it first.

A case interview is a type of interview where an applicant is given a hypothetical scenario as if they are on the job already. The interviewer will give you a problem, and you are asked to solve it. Case interviews are commonplace in consulting firms and management positions. Some companies even consider it as a must-have before you get the job. 

Companies use case interviews to sort out the suitable talent for the job. Preferably, they want someone that have critical thinking skills and insightful abilities. 

Questions in the interview can vary a lot depending on the job. For consulting services, for example, they will ask market-sizing questions. On the other hand, in a management position, they will ask you how you can improve employee retention within a company. 

You could say to expect unexpected questions. To better improve your chances in case interviews, you need to know the industry really well. So once the interview comes in, you know how to hold your own. 

Your job interview is sort of like you are introducing yourself, while case interviews are there to dissect your abilities. Your interviewer wants to know how you will react and if you are capable of solving it. 

How Case Interviews Work

Do Case Interviews Work

If the interview is that rigorous, wouldn’t that intimidate applicants? Perhaps, but you also need to understand the company’s perspective when hiring someone. Let’s use being a consultant since it is where case interviews are commonplace.

Consulting firms have a high standard that they always need to follow. That is, to make a conjecture that is firmly based on strong data, and a consultant must follow strictly follow it. Each advice given must be provable and reliable. Consultants rarely rely on intuition. Otherwise, it can bring ruin to a client if they decide to follow the advice. 

It is the golden rule for consulting firms to give advice based on analyzing data. However, it doesn’t mean there is no problem-solving. In fact, just the opposite. 

Say, for example, a client works in an airline company. Recently, there is a sharp spike in oil prices. The client is consulting you on how they can remain profitable despite the rise in oil. First, you need to discover a way to solve the problem and then endorse the said solution with data. Perhaps, you can study previous incidents similar to this same problem. It’s up to you how you will handle it. 

Why is data so important? To better endorse your solution to your client. It will be very hard to convince your client that your solution will solve the problem without having evidence of it working. 

Perhaps, you can convince your client, but your client may need to convince their boss that this is the right direction to take. Changes will take time and resources, and not many are willing to invest without being assured first. 

With this in mind, consulting firms make a rigorous effort to hire candidates that understand and apply their philosophy. They dislike someone that gives answers without analyzing first, and likewise, there is no ‘maybe’ in their line of work. 

Do Case Interviews Work?

To keep it simple, think of case interviews as roleplay. Imagine yourself now in the position, and if cases come, it’s your job to handle and solve them. That’s why they need competent applicants for the job. 

In a case interview, there is no clear-cut answer. Say, for example, there is an unsatisfied customer regarding your product. How will you deal with it? Will you refund the customer? Ask for an apology? Or investigate first what led them to be unsatisfied with the product? 

There is no clear-cut answer to this scenario because perhaps there are multiple correct answers. It’s entirely up to you how you will impress the interviewer. 

So, do case interviews work? Yes, they do. Case interviews help companies find the right talent for their company. In our consulting firm’s example, not hiring the right candidate can bring ruin to them. It may even bring bad PR to the consulting firm, making the client pool smaller. 

Do Case Interviews Work Summary 

Do case interviews work? Undoubtedly, they are essential in finding the right people for the job. It is intimidating for some, and even sometimes, a hard obstacle. Some case interviews will really wring you out, depending on the industry. To best prepare yourself, and don’t let the hardship intimidate you. I assure you, the rewards will be far more worth it.