Case interviews: what to expect

Business man in suit ready for meeting

If you’re applying for a role in management consultancy be prepared to perform well in both fit and case interviews. Start by demonstrating the three Cs:

Capacity to learn, Commitment to clients, and Competencies.

These will be assessed and tested during the interview process and through fit and case questions.

The fit interview

The first and second round of interviews will assess ability, motivation, business focus, personal and educational background and your overall interest in management consultancy.

You will need to convince recruiters about three things:

  • You can you do this job – you have the skills, and potential to learn
  • You want this job – you’re motivated and driven to excel
  • Will you fit in to the company, and more specifically
    • you will fit in to the team
    • we will enjoy working with you, and
    • our clients will see you as one of us

Consultants are people who take on tough challenges that matter to leading organisations, they are the ‘solver of problems’.

The next step in the recruitment process, the case interview, is an opportunity for you to show how you tackle typical business problems, and interviewers love this as they can discuss cases based on their own client work.

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Why have you applied for this job?

This can be a perplexing interview question, particularly if you are applying for jobs which are closely connected to your internship/work experience and degree area. If you’ve spent the last three years studying marketing, for example, as well as seeking out marketing work experience, it might seem obvious that you’re interested in marketing. In addition, we all need to pay for food and somewhere to live, so the answer ‘well, I need money’ might be on the tip of your tongue.

To answer this question, it helps to know why the employer is asking it and what they’re looking for:

  • Genuine motivation: People who care about and are interested in what they do tend to go the extra mile – they often suggest new ideas and bring energy and enthusiasm to teams. Employers would rather hire people who have a real interest in their jobs. Remember that enthusiasm is conveyed not just by what you say but how you say it – show your interest through your body language and tone of voice.

For example: ‘I’m applying for this role because I learnt from my work experience placement that I relish the challenge of inventing innovative ways to reach new customers, and I find that I’m motivated by the buzz of meeting regular targets.’

  • Understanding of what the role involves: Make sure you’ve done your homework and have a realistic understanding of the position, its role within the team and its day to day duties. This shows you’re keen and that you are aware of the purpose of the job and its function in the organisation.

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The Multiple Mini Interview – a speed-dating type of interview!

A growing number of UK universities are now using the Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) for their Medicine and Dentistry applications. St. George’s Medical School was the first UK institution to adopt this system in 2010 and it has spread quickly ever since.

The advantage that an MMI has for you is that if you have problems in one scenario or you feel that your answer has not been up to par, you can recover and give an excellent performance in a different situation, where you will be interacting with a different interviewer. It also gives you more opportunities to shine!

The test

When you go for an MMI, you move around an average of 10 interview stations.

handshake-2056023_960_720Each station lasts around 8-10 minutes and can include role-play activities, data analysis, traditional interview questions as well as questions on a given situation. You will be given time to prepare your answer and then you will interact with or be observed by an interviewer. The situations deal with a wide range of issues but they will normally focus on:

  • Ethical decision making
  • Critical Thinking skills
  • Communication skills
  • Contemporary healthcare issues

It is important to remember that you will NOT be assessed on your scientific knowledge.

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Introducing InterviewStream!

Got an upcoming video interview?

We’re pleased to announce we have just launched InterviewStream – our *brand new* video interview platform, where you can record and practise a number of ready made video interviews or create your own custom interview from a large bank of questions.

intstr

  • Practise whenever, and wherever!

Take your mock interview using a Mac, PC, Android or iOS device.

  • Choose from 7000+ questions

Browse the library of interview questions, organised into themes and sectors, or select a ready made set of questions designed for you, including sector-specific interviews covering medicine, law, business and more.

  • See and hear yourself online

Review your own performance. Practise at your own pace and retry as many times as you need to. Why not try out the ‘umm, like, you know & I mean’ counter to tally how many filler words you’re using!

Sign up with your QMUL email address here to get started.

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Guest blog: 5 style mistakes that can make you look unprofessional

There have been so many changes in business attire over the years, and many people have come to forget why proper business attire is important. Instead, they would rather dress comfortably or dress in the latest styles.

The first few seconds make up the biggest part of an overall impression, when meeting for the first time either with an interviewer or a future employer. The rest of a conversation is usually spent by confirming or discarding that first judgement the individual had, and rationalising it.

You have done a good job writing your cover letter, preparing your CV and practising answers to interview questions, but there is one little (not that little in fact) thing you might have overlooked – your professional attire. And it matters much more than you think! 

Too many students fail to understand that how they look is how they are perceived by others; and how we are perceived by others can have a huge effect on how successful we are at work and in life. 

93% of the first impression is based on how we look and sound and only 7% is on what we say.

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Guest blog: How to prepare for the 6 most common interview questions

If you’ve recently graduated, you may already be thinking ahead to what your next steps might be in terms of your career. As you begin to do so, your mind will start posing questions about the interview process – and that can feel quite daunting if you aren’t sure what to expect.

Read on to find out the 6 most common interview questions, with some tips on how to prepare for them and answer with confidence on the day.

Tell me about yourself

This is always one of the first questions in an interview. The reason you’ll be asked this is not because they want to know about your likes and interests, but because they want to hear what you value most about yourself in your career.

Think of it as a little bit like the overview you give on a CV.

The company will want to hear about your commitments to your career and what kind of person you are as a professional.

It’s useful to find out a bit about the company’s ethos ahead of your interview, so that you can gauge how you should approach this question.

cup-1615074_960_720What is your greatest strength?

If blowing your own trumpet is no easy task, then this question can be a tough one to answer.

The key here is to keep it relevant and think about what the company is looking for in you. It’s worth reflecting on previous jobs where possible (part time, internships and volunteering are all noteworthy), so that you can demonstrate your strengths.

This is a question that could ultimately set you apart from or give way to other candidates, so take this opportunity to closely match the qualities that the company is seeking.

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Interview mistakes to avoid!

According to the Undercover Recruiter, 33% of recruiters know within the first 90 seconds of an interview whether they’ll hire someone. So what can you do to give yourself the best chance of success? Their top tips include:

  • Research the company. You’ve heard it many times before, but it really is important to understand the job you’re applying to, the company and how the industry works. See our advice here.
  • Be ready to describe your experience. They suggest that ‘Tell me about yourself’ is the most commonly asked interview question. So how exactly should you answer? Well, you’re in luck! We’ve got a blog to help you right here.
  • Be aware of your body language. Failing to make eye contact, crossing your arms and using too many hand gestures are all quoted below as some of the most common non-verbal mistakes. Why not book a 1-2-1 mock interview with a Careers Consultant to perfect your technique?

See the image below for a summary of the findings from The Undercover Recruiter’s research.

90-seconds-interview-hire-you

Credit: The Undercover Recruiter