Many firms use the case interview to determine if a candidate is an appropriate fit for the company by assessing their analytical abilities and the way in which they think through a problem. The interviewee will be presented with a situation which they are asked to come up with a possible solution for. Most times it is not the solution that is important, but the questions asked and the reasoning skills of the interviewee. Case interview preparation is therefore a good idea to do beforehand.
First, the candidate should be familiar with various methodological approaches to problem-solving and company assessment. For example, a SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunity, threat) analysis is a good approach to determining the foundation of a company or problem. The appropriate resources are a good skill to have at the disposal of an interviewee.
Being aware of the preferred methodologies of the interviewing company is generally a good idea as well. Extend this on to a general overview of the company and its key personnel. Know the background and core values of the firm and be able to relate them to the problem at hand. While the interviewer wants to see creativity, they also want to see that the individual will be an appropriate fit. Also, know some of the key clients and possibly some of the solutions that were used in prior consultations for issues they were having.
A person should be aware of their own strengths and weaknesses before heading into the case interview. If they do not know, asking a colleague, fellow student, or professor is a good idea. Everyone has different strengths, but the self-awareness to recognize what they are is crucial.
To further prepare, take practice sessions online or practice with someone who has relevant experience. It is important to begin to think as if in the situation and to be able to start generating questions. Make lists of questions and review them. The interviewer wants to see communication and verbal reasoning skills. By having a list of already established questions, it may be easier to recall them and have predetermined answers that are somewhat applicable.
Some books may provide practice examples that guide another person on how to conduct the interview. This can be very useful to aid in being able to think within the current situation. While online practice studies are helpful, face-to-face situations are going to be much more so because they more closely resemble the interviewing process and require being able to think and respond quickly.
The final step in the preparation process is to be calm and relaxed on the day of the actual interview. Prior readiness is essential to do this. Choose the suit or outfit the day before and have it completely ready. Eating a good meal that will not affect the stomach and being confident are essential. The key is to not have outside interference that removes the mind from the task at hand.
Case interview preparation takes time, but is not extremely difficult if managed appropriately. The interviewer wants to see that the candidate has good reasoning and communication skills, is confident, and understands the core values of the firm. All of this will lead to the ability to have a successful case interview.
We can give you case interview preparation with our case interview guide. The guide we have is going to get you on the right track.
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