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You can experience three main types of interviews. Become familiar with each type and you will be more prepared and more successful:
The vast majority of interview candidates will participate in a behavioral interviewThe most popular form of interviewing, as it is based on specific past performances versus hypothetical situations. Behavioral questions follow the premise that past behavior is a clear indicator of future behavior.. Behavioral questions focus on past performances versus hypothetical situations, following the premiseA logical conclusion. that past behavior is a clear indicator of future behavior.
Later in this chapter, a comprehensive list is presented of the most-asked behavioral questions, along with strategies to answer them. Just about any other question asked is a derivative of these questions, so carefully review that section and practice your answers. Questions will relate to aspects of your past work and educational experiences. Here are four typical behavioral interview questions:
The following strategies will help you answer behavioral questions successfully:
Case interviewsCase interviews are used to understand a candidate’s ability to problem solve and develop a strategy to solve a difficult situation. are predominately used in management consulting, though they are sometimes used in a variety of fields, including financial services, healthcare, consumer products, and education. A case interview is a hypothetical business problem, or case, that the interviewee is expected to solve during the interview. The case tests a variety of the interviewee’s skills and expertise, including analysis, logic, structuring of a problem, math, accounting or economics knowledge, specific industry knowledge, communication, creativity, and ability to deliver under pressure.
Case interviews might include short questions to estimate the size of a market:
The interviewer does not expect you to know the specific answer, but that you estimate a final answer based on different facts (e.g., the population of the United States). The interviewer wants you to break down this broad request into smaller steps that can be calculated to see how you structure a problem. The interviewer is also testing your basic math skills and ability to work under pressure. The following information applies to the question on hiking boots:
Remember that the interviewer does not expect a specific answer, but rather wants to see the process you follow to estimate the answer.
Case interviews might also be as long as thirty to forty-five minutes of broad strategy or operations questions about a detailed problem. You may be asked how to manage a hypothetical teaching situation. You may be given a hospital scenario and asked how to streamline processes. You may be given data about the company or industry involved in the question presented. You may be asked to review charts, accounting statements, or other background material, such as in the following question: The CEO of a leading national toy company is considering acquiring a popular neighborhood toy shop in Austin, Texas. How would you advise the CEO whether or not to purchase the shop?
You might then be given more information about the national toy company, or you might be expected to ask for what you need. The questions you ask are part of what the interviewer is testing because your questions reveal the types of data you think are important to assess to make the purchase decision. You are trying to assess if the neighborhood shop fits into the national company’s strategy, and, if so, whether the cost of buying and integrating the neighborhood shop will be offset by potential future revenues.
Many large consulting firms, such as McKinsey and Bain, put sample cases and solutions on their websites. Books also offer sample cases and solutions. Many schools offer case-preparation workshops via either career services or extracurricular consulting clubs. Case interviews are very different from general job interviews but are rarely used except for management consulting jobs. Therefore, don’t spend any time preparing for case interviews unless you want a management consulting job. If you do want a job in management consulting, case interview practice is absolutely necessary. You will not get hired by a consulting firm without successfully completing several case interviews.
If you are interviewing outside the consulting industry, meet with a friend who is in your chosen profession. Ask them to tell you about when they were interviewed, and ask them to interview you. This can be a tremendous learning experience and can prepare you for success, so your time will be well spent in arranging a mock interview ahead of time.
Informational interviewsEnable you to gather important research about your desired job. An informational interview is an opportunity for you to ask five to ten questions of someone who is performing the very job you think you want to perform or someone who started out at the same level at which you want to start your career., by their very name, give you the opportunity to gather information about the career you think you want to pursue. The more prepared you are, the better your session will be because the best informational interviews are two-way exchanges, more like a conversation than an interrogation. Your research will allow you to share vital information with your interviewer, and you both will benefit from the time spent.
Some informational interview questions focus on the interviewer:
These types of questions establish rapport and will help you dig deeper and learn more about the job, the industry, and the career.
Some informational interview questions focus on the job and career:
Perhaps the most important question to ask during an informational interview is this one:
Typical informational interviews lasting about thirty to forty-five minutes can be a vital part of the research you conduct to ensure you are targeting the right types of jobs.