How Do Case Interviews Work

Case interviews are a vital piece in picking the right candidate for consulting firms. They are an aptitude test to find out which candidates can crack a case. 

Case interviews are not a new concept, and it’s been used to screen candidates for associate-level job positions. Associate-level positions are expected to interact directly with business clients or other associates, and thus requiring a case interview

These past few years, however, case interviews have expanded to other industries. Case interviews are now employed in consultancies, tech sectors, e-commerce, healthcare, and even NGOs. For any job that will require analytical skills, research, and management, a case interview is a must-have in those sectors.

A case interview is still an interview, and it typically happens in a single session. The session is typically one on one with the interview, but sometimes, it is conducted with a group,

During the interview, a candidate will be presented with a hypothetical scenario in which he has to tackle it. The hypothetical scenario, or case, will most likely be a previous scenario or something similar a company has tackled before. So studying the company’s history before entering the interview will help a lot.

There is no one sure-fire way to ace a case interview. However, it is something you should diligently need to prepare for, even more preparation than a regular interview. 

How Consultant Agencies Work

Consultant agencies are always looking out for candidates that can help them solve cases especially in conducting cases regarding business strategy. A business strategy can make or break a business. An effective business strategy helps a business gain a competitive edge. In turn, it makes an efficient and sustainable generation of cash flow. If successful, it will give the agency a big boost in recognition and value.  

Thinking up a business strategy is not an easy job. It involves brainstorming ideas, looking at the pros and cons of an idea, and then decide which idea is the most practical and effective. A consultant will rack their brains out to find an idea and then consider all the possible consequences of that idea. 

How Do Case Interviews Work

That’s not all, because a consultant must likewise prove why their idea will work. They need to reassure their client on why they must use resources in implementing their plan and why it’s good for the business. Extensive research and data collection are needed to do that.

A business’ future should not rely on gut feeling, but it should be on sound logic backed extensive with research. 

What Is A Case Interview and Why Many Consultancies Use Them?

Case interviews are a simulation of the typical job of a consultant. It will simulate a consultant helping a client with their business problems. Think of it as roleplaying, but a more formal approach backed with skills sets.

The interview session length can vary a lot, and it can last up to 20-30 minutes. If you play your part well, you can shorten the session. During the interview, you will be presented with a problem a client typically faces, and you are asked to develop a solution. You can likewise ask the interviewer for questions for clarification, and interacting with the interviewer is permissible,

So why do consultancies use case interviews all the time? Because it reflects legitimate work experience. Solving cases is a notoriously difficult job, and by the way, consultants deal with that kind of job every day. It’s a brain-racking experience, and it’s both a quantitative and qualitative job. 

Consultants have to gather and analyze data, which ones to prioritize, create structures to break down problems into manageable components, brainstorming ideas to solve them, making blueprints how to implement them, and finally, convince the client why the idea will work.

These skills certainly play a part, but that’s not all. How candidates interact with the interviewer showcases how they will interact with a client in the future. Clients are paying a lot of money to get advice, so how a candidate will please them plays a role too. 

Will the candidate be able to communicate with the client effectively? Do they have what it takes to build long-lasting business relations? The more they trust a firm, the more they will want to come back. Likewise, it gives the firm a good name for solving problems and thus leading to more clients. 

Case interviews are a proven way to screen which are the best candidates for the firm. It will accurately predict how a candidate will handle their future jobs. Interviews are also standardized to make screening more efficient. Different candidates will be asked the same sequences of questions. That way, they can compare the results against each other. 

How Do Case Interviews Work & What Skills Do You Need For The Interview

1. Problem-Solving Skills

Problem-solving skills are highly sought out. It’s their job after all to solve a case for the client.

Interviewers are on the lookout for someone that can identify the cause, isolate it, and which 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. 

They will provide information just as a client would. 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 to prove that your solution is viable. 

2. Creativity

A consultant must have the know-how to help solve a case. However, they shouldn’t be too caught up with textbook approaches either. They want someone who can think outside the box and not just follow the conventions. If it helps solve the case quicker and is convincing, sure, go for it.

3. Communication

It is a consultant’s job to meet with different business associates, and that’s why communication is important. You need the communication skills to extract information from the clients to better understand their situation. It makes the job easier for you to solve, and it will satisfy the client too.