What Is a Case Interview and How to Ace It – 2020 Guide

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A case interview is something familiar to everyone who takes part in the consulting industry. It really is a one of a kind interview, and it is finding a place in many different professions. 

You can’t know when it will be crucial for getting a job, so it is important to realize what it is and how to do it properly. This text is here to help with that.

What Is a Case Interview?

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My Consulting Coach announced that case interviews are the heart of the selection process, and it is impossible to find a perfect candidate without them. If you want to get a job in some serious companies, the crucial thing is acing the case interview.

The crucial question is what that means. Well, the case interview is a special conversation in which the employer puts a potential employee into a hypothetical situation to see how he will handle it. From this situation, the employer can see the way of thinking and ability to work under pressure. 

Those problems are usually something that the employer is familiar with and knows the perfect way of solving. The main goal is to find a solution. The time you have to solve your problem is usually thirty minutes, and it can be a little tricky. Intuition is a great thing, but it is not enough since those problems require structured thinking. 

It is more important to explain the solution than to answer the questions since it is not enough to fix a certain problem but to explain the whole process. Explaining can help someone in a real situation, and that is the key.

Why Do Top Consulting Firms Use This Type of Interview?

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Big companies require capable workers, and finding them is not an easy task. With case interviews, the company has a perfect look into the way the candidate thinks. The way of thinking should be logical and analytical with extraordinary skills for resolving problems. 

Besides that, this type of interview is showing much more. From this conversation, the company can see creativity or conversational skills that can be crucial for business.

Different Formats

Case interviews can come in various forms, and the most popular are verbal, written, candidate-led, interviewer-led, and group. It is important to mention that all of them are including charts, graphics, and illustrations to help you explain your answers. 

A candidate-led format can be a little tricky since the idea is that the candidate is leading the whole conversation and having full control over it. It can look hard to inexperienced candidates, but it can also be a perfect way to show your abilities. 

The situation in the interviewer-led format is different. The interviewer is leading the conversation in the desired way, and the candidate is following. It may look like you can’t show your full potential, but it is not true since the whole point is to answer exact questions. All you need is to focus and concentrate. 

If the company requires teamwork, then it will find a perfect candidate using the group case interview. That means that they can see how the candidate is getting along with cooperation and the group. The whole point of those conversations for companies is to find a perfect candidate that will do the work efficiently and be a great problem solver. 

The good thing is that you can learn how to handle many situations and prepare yourself to ace the interview.

Share Your Thinking

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The first thing you should know is that there are no right and wrong answers since there are no two identical situations. Everything is about discussing your opinion and your point of view. It is much more important to explain the process of getting a solution than the solution itself. 

Try to think logically and be transparent while explaining since that is the best way to tell everything you have and be understood well. Keep calm, and stay positive because fear and anxiety won’t help you get a job.

The Power of MECE

MECE principle is not a framework, but learning how to apply it can help more than simply memorizing frameworks. MECE principle is covering the whole problem and its solving.

The working method is to break the problem into small parts and solve it one by one without duplicating it. That method guarantees maximum effectiveness in problem-solving.

Cases Are Not Collaborative

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Be aware that the interviewer will not help you with the answers. Those conversations are indeed interactive, but not also collaborative. Think about answers since it is possible to get help like redirecting, but not the correct answer. Solving problems is not an easy task, and good preparation with many different scenarios can be crucial.

Don’t Discuss Your Resume

When the conversation is over, keep your opinion for yourself. The only thing to show is problem-solving, and qualities and too much talking can ruin that. A good resume is a perfect thing, but it shouldn’t be a subject of discussion. Instead of that, it is much better to show your skills and unique insights.

Always Defend Your Answers With Data

In the end, giving the answers is not enough, and the examples should cover all of them. It may look difficult, but it doesn’t need to be since all you need is to be creative and use everything possible to prove that the answers are right. That can be charts, graphs, and illustrations, but also the good thing is to examine the pros and cons and prepare well for a conversation about them.

Wrapping it Up

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Case interviews are not something that you can learn over one night, and working on them for a while is crucial. A consulting job is interesting, but it is not that easy and requires some skills. 

Having those skills is necessary, but constant learning is even more important, and that means that you should ask everything that is not clear, take notes as reminders, but also have a great time besides being professional.

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