Most Common Case Interview Questions

Preparing for a case interview is no easy task. There are plenty of materials you need to study to have a remote chance of success. If you think that case interviews are just like any other job interviews, you are wrong. 

In any consulting firm, case interviews are always present. They won’t be going away anytime soon either. Case interviews are very difficult to pass because they will ask you to solve business problems. And It’s not like you are solving the case in a leisure environment either. You will be under immense psychological and time pressure. 

You might think that the interview is exaggeratingly difficult. I assure you, it’s not, and it is for a good reason. Case interviews are a simulation of a consulting job. So if you have a hard time in a case interview, you won’t be able to handle being a consultant. 

That said, you can make your case interview a rather simpler approach. With the right study materials and preparation, you can make it simpler. Part of the study materials you need to cover is case interview questions. 

Case interview questions are not specific questions that are frequently asked in a case interview. Rather, it is a case interview question format. We just call it case interview questions for the sake of simplicity.

What is A Case Interview Question Format

Typically, cases handled by consulting firms can be fit into different categories. While each of the cases is unique, there is still some resemblance of similarities between the cases.  

For example, a client seeks help from a consulting company. They are asking the firm how to deal with their current profitability issues. While many factors would label the case as unique, that profitability problem is very common in the business world. That’s why consulting firms have categories for different scenarios of cases. 

Since there are resemblances among different cases, the interviewer will likewise follow the same format. Interviewers want their case interviews to reflect a day-to-day job of a consultant. That’s why they will hand out cases based on real-life case categories. But they do it in a specific format. 

Say, for example, the interviewer hands you a market-sizing case. It means that currently, you are doing a market-sizing case interview question format. However, it’s up to you to figure out what format they are using. To figure it out, you will have to understand different case interview question formats. 

In this article, we will introduce you to one of the most common case interview questions. 

Most Common Case Interview Questions

Trick Questions

Trick questions are puzzles, brainteasers, or riddles. Although they are rare in case interviews, they can still appear from time to time. They are not a part of the case interviews, and your answer won’t be graded or anything like that. 

Think of trick questions as warm-ups before the case interview starts. Just like case interviews, trick questions engage your analytical and problem-solving thought processes. While they are not that important, it’s still good to prepare for them. It can give a good impression before the case interview even starts. 

Profitability Questions

Any company’s goal is to increase its profits, and so it’s not surprising why profitability cases are one of the most frequent cases handled by consultants. So likewise, even on case interviews, profitability cases will always appear in one form or the other. 

Not only are they common, but they are also one of the easiest to study and solve. There are plenty of profitability cases on the internet. There, you can use the profitability cases as references to help you study. 

Profitability questions can either be about how a company can increase profits or cover why the company is losing profits. Increasing profits focus on enhancing the company’s efficiency or finding an “innovative idea” that will sell. On the other hand, why the company is losing profits is about finding out the root cause of the problem.

Market-Sizing Questions

Market-sizing questions are also some of the easiest questions to answer. It will only take you a few minutes to answer the questions—provided you are familiar with the topic.

As the name implies, you will be asked to estimate the size of a particular market. For this question, you nor the interviewer doesn’t exactly know the answer to the question. Perhaps, sometimes, they have the answer sheet for the questions, but that’s not the point. 

The point of the market-sizing questions is the interviewer identifying if you can back your answer with a logical assumption. Your answer should be convincing. Of course, knowing the subject will certainly help you answer the question.

Typically, the question will come from current market trends. So stay tuned to what is currently trending.

Market-Study Questions

Before a company considers entering a new market, it may want to conduct an investigation. That’s when a market study comes in. For market-study questions, you are answering several questions about several factors that contribute to market research.

Essentially you are going to investigate the market feasibility. Factors such as market competition, supply/demand, and customer base will be considered in market-study questions. Every factor that will affect the company’s growth in the new market will be examined and considered. Basically, you are going to find “red flags” that might cause a company to fail.

On the other hand, a market study question could also be about a company’s decline in market share. You are going to investigate the market environment that the company is within and why its place in that market is shrinking. You are going to look for a way to revitalize a company’s position in that particular market.

Final Thoughts

After you learn the different questions that will be present in a case interview, you now need to develop counter-strategies against them. For each of the case interview questions above, there is a suitable framework that can help solve those questions.

If you are curious as to what they are, research case interview frameworks to know more.