Current Students

Interviews

There are several types of interviews. The most common types are formal jobs and internship interviews.
Think of a job interview as an audition for a part in a play – and just as with an audition, preparation is the key to success.

Six Keys for Acing the Case Interview

  • Understand the Question: Before jumping into your answer make sure you understand the entire question. Restate the question and make sure that all of the information you heard was correct and clarify any questions about the prompt itself. It does not make sense to ask a clarifying question about the prompt halfway through the case.
  • Take Time to Think: After receiving the prompt and asking some clarifying questions, take a few minutes and think about what approach you are going to take for each section. Jot down notes for each part of the question and consider which framework you are going to use. A few minutes of silence may seem awkward, but interviewers understand that you need time to gather your thoughts. Many students jump right into an answer and are caught stumbling through the case without a clear direction.
  • Form a Partnership with the Interviewer: The case interview is a partnership between the interviewer and the applicant. Remember that the interviewer is the “client” in the consulting engagement. Your task is not simply to answer the questions, but to build a relationship with the client, find out critical pieces of information that may have not been revealed and read subtle cues from the interviewer. For example, if part of the analysis is to identify costs, you should provide an answer and then ask if you have missed any important costs. Additionally, as you analyse the case, watch the non-verbal communication of the interviewer. Is he/she nodding his/her head in agreement or taking notes or does he/she look lost and confused?
  • Listen attentively throughout the Case: Listening is crucial for the consulting case interview. The interviewer will give you clues throughout the case and if you do not pay careful attention you may miss an important point, taking you down the wrong path. One of the worst things you can do is ask a question that has already been answered or make an assumption that has already been refuted with case information. If the case is about projecting the market for premium travel packages, you should realize the importance of the word “premium”. This will dictate your approach.
  • Take Meticulous Notes: Be scrupulous in your note taking; it is not enough to just listen attentively. Why? Having detailed notes will help you avoid making careless mistakes and keep your thoughts organized if in front of you are written down all the key pieces of information. The accessibility of your already composed thoughts and key bits of information will also serve you by affording more time to creatively and analytically consider your answers. Also, make use of highlighting, circling or whatever type of marking up you prefer: it's a great way to prepare for the summary at the end of the interview. Keep in mind, too, that in some cases, the interviewer may ask you for your notes after the interview in order to check your organization and/or make sure you do not disclose information to other applicants.
  • Make Assumptions: Making assumptions during the case (and estimations) will help you solve the problem faster and make it easier to make calculations to continue with your analysis. For example, if you are doing a market sizing on how many coffee cups are sold in the U.S., you might say, “I am going to assume a U.S. population of roughly 300 million people divided into...”

Practice Common Interview Questions

There are certain interviews questions that you will invariably be asked so prepare and practice your answers in advance.
 
“Tell me about yourself and why you want to work here.”
You will almost certainly be asked a version of this question. Prepare and practice an answer that is no longer than two minutes. Break your answer down to three components:
  • Who you are and what you are looking for.
  • Your professional strengths/accomplishments.
  • Why you are interested in the job/organization.

Behavioural interview questions

You will also be asked to talk about your experience and how it relates to the skills/traits the employer is looking for. To prepare for these types of questions, review the job description and circle the five or six most important skills/traits mentioned. Then match each skill/trait with an example from your past that demonstrates that skill or trait. Structure your answer in three parts (context, action, result):
  • Context – What was the context or situation in which you were required to act?
  • Action – What did you do? How did you do it? Be specific (this is the bulk of the answer).
  • Result – What was the result? The outcome? To whatever extent possible, try to quantify the types of questions.

Be prepared for the tough questions. Put yourself in the interviewer's shoes and anticipate the concerns and questions that he/she will have and then prepare non-defensive answers to those questions (and practice delivering them). For example, if you were laid off, be prepared to speak very “matter-of-factly” about the experience.

If the interviewer asks you about compensation, try to deflect and delay that conversation until later in the process. You can defer the topic with a response such as: “I’d like to get a better sense of the position and my fit within the organization before talking about compensation.”

Dress the Part

It’s been said that you have only about 20 seconds to make a first impression. So be sure that your grooming and attire send the right message.

Always show up to an interview well groomed and be sure to dress appropriately. By doing your research in advance, you will have learned the culture of the organization and the dress code. For an interview, dress “one notch” more conservatively than the dress code.

The Interview Itself

  • Bring a copy of your resume with you.
  • Be sure to stand tall, make eye contact, smile and give a firm handshake when you are first introduced to your interviewer.
  • Try to establish a sense of rapport with the interviewer – remember that you both want the same thing: to see if the position is a good match for you.
  • Be positive and enthusiastic; make sure to communicate how excited you are about the opportunity to speak with them about the position.
  • Take your time when answering questions. Pause a few seconds after being asked questions to collect your thoughts and take your time while speaking, resisting the tendency to speak quickly when anxious.
  • Do not make negative comments about a previous employer. Even if your experience with that employer was not positive, try to find something positive to say about it.
  • Prepare a few questions to ask the interviewer. Your questions give you the opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge of the organization. Try to come up with “Macro” questions about the industry, organization, etc., as well as “Micro” questions about the interviewer’s career path, day, etc.

The Follow–Up

Be sure to send a thank you letter/note.
Holy Spirit University of Kaslik
Tel.: (+961) 9 600 000
Fax : (+961) 9 600 100
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