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Prepping for a case-study interview? Don't fret about it. You've got this!
While these kinds of interviews may appear intimidating, consider this: The interviewer really wants you to do well. So, shake off the nerves, relax and have fun.
Tips to ace your case-study interview:
- Take your time; don't rush it. Talk through the problem. If you can't make sense of it, take a moment and allow yourself some time to process what you've been missing. If you do get stuck, get creative. Don't let yourself get bogged down; you don't want to appear directionless.
- Ask questions. There is no reason not to ask your interviewer to define an acronym or to repeat or confirm details. If the interviewer asks, “How do we achieve success?”, don’t be afraid to ask, “What does ‘success’ mean to you? Is it turning a profit? Raising the company’s profile?” When you work on a client project, you need to ask questions to figure out what the problems might be, and the same applies here. The interviewer is your biggest asset in the room. He or she has the information you need to “solve the case” successfully. Use them wisely!
- Be flexible. The focus of a case-study interview may vary, and you’ll need to be prepared to participate in whatever discussion the interviewer has in mind. He or she may spend the first half of the interview asking about your previous experience, or they may just dive right into the case study five or 10 minutes into the interview. The bottom line: Be flexible, and be ready to discuss the work you do and how you do it.
- Use visual aids. Stand up, and use a white board if that helps you get your ideas across. Don’t be shy or insecure. What matters most is demonstrating that you can solve problems.
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Check out our case workbook
for an even deeper dive into the case-study interview.
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- Dig in where there’s dirt. Inventory the information you have, and then dive in where you can have the most impact. Don’t forget to discuss your thought process, and explain your assumptions.
- Tell a story. Your experience has helped you progress in your career and education; use that experience. For example, in a business case study, you could bring your experience as a traveler to a case about a hypothetical airline. Your individuality is important. Your unique insights will serve you well when you’re interviewing.
- Pay attention to cues. If the interviewer says something, it probably means something; don’t dismiss seemingly extraneous details. For example, the interviewer might say, “The case is about a retailer who wants to increase the value of a company it purchased, and the owner loved the brand when growing up.” The purpose of that detail is to indicate that turning around and selling the asset is not an option for making it profitable, because the owner is attached to it.
Preparing for a role can take time, but it’s a worthwhile investment—especially when you land your dream job.
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