When you are invited to a management consulting interview, the recruiter only aims to answer the question: “Should the firm hire you?” They may ask you several questions but at the end of the formal conversation, what only matters is their one-word answer to that question.
Many candidates fail in consulting case interviews because of the reasons explained below.
You Need to Think Logically
Recruiters use consulting cases to gauge how you approach a situation. Can you break a complicated task into smaller, graspable sections? Do you have the ability to determine the factors affecting the main problem? Can you explain how these factors came into the scene? Can you come up with rational conclusions based on your findings? If the recruiter sees that you are capable of doing these things through your answers, you may be considered for the position.
You Need to Be Quick
Case interviews are time-limited, and this time constraint is the reason why it can be difficult for you to concentrate. It can become a source of anxiety and a cause of worry. As the interviewer explains the case, panic can immediately get in the way. You have to be quick in thinking logically without rushing through things. This can be very tough if you have not familiarized management consulting frameworks. They structure your thoughts to lead you to acceptable recommendations.
You Need to Project Confidence
It’s not only the answers that matter; your confident delivery is also taken into consideration. Giving your answers in a shaky voice, with fidgeting legs and with jiggling hands may imply you can’t handle a stressful situation carefully. Recruiters will find this incompetence alarming since exhausting circumstances are common in the life of a management consultant. Moreover, poor gestures such as slouching, not making eye contact and crossing your arms make your answers and your qualifications less credible. Be mindful of your body language.
You Need to Outsmart Other Candidates
It is highly possible that you will be competing with applicants as qualified as you. Recruiters get thousands of resumes each month and many applicants graduated from prestigious schools or have substantial professional experience. So when you get a chance to be invited to an interview, put your best foot forward.
Practice before the Case Interview
To ace the interview, it is recommended that you practice resolving various cases at least a month before you start applying for a job. Here are three practice tips for you:
- Expose yourself to different types of cases (like market segmentation, market sizing, mergers and acquisition and product development). The more topics you resolve, the better.
- Practice with a friend. This way, you get feedback on the quality of your answers, non-verbal communication and professional projection.
- Take advantage of case interview sessions facilitated by clubs and firms. At times, professional consultants and industry recruiters are invited to share their insights. You can’t miss that!