Case study interviews

Case study interviews: three words to chill the blood. Many companies now use these instead of or, worse, alongside, conventional interviews. Why? To identify those who can think on their feet, be logical, analytical and objective, deal with problems and produce solutions. Oh, and demonstrate a hint of commercial awareness into the bargain.

There are several variations on the theme:

– pre interview preparation, before drafting a report for discussion with the recruiter(s)

– group interviews where teams consider a case of which they have no prior knowledge

– the “purest” form of case study interview: you are presented with a  written overview and expected to verbally untangle this on the spot.

No pressure there then.

To add spice, vital information may be with-held or changed and lobbed into the mix later.  Sneaky or what?

Prepare by looking at company websites: consulting firms such as McKinsey, Bain and BCG have online information including sample case studies. Another useful resource is http://www.caseinterview.com/ while publishers WetFeet have produced this “Ace your Case” guidance.

Top Tips

Expect to be challenged – however good your ideas are, they will be mercilessly and minutely interrogated.

Make no assumptions. In a reversal of accepted interview technique, YOU are supposed to ask the questions.

Use a step-by-step approach: in finest GCSE Maths tradition, points are awarded for working out, even if the best solution proves elusive.

Deliver a definitive answer.  This where other (non QM, of course) candidates fail, being used to producing assignments that evaluate all the facts without a clear-cut conclusion. Raise your game, raise your score.

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