Case Interview Questions and Tips for Answering

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What is a case interview? During a case interview, the interviewee is given a business scenario and asked to manage the situation. The business scenario is usually one that the interviewee would likely encounter while working for the company. However, the interviewer may also ask IQ questions or give brain teasers that do not relate directly to the company.

When Employers Use Case Interviews

Used most often in management consulting and investment banking interviews, case interviews allow interviewees to demonstrate their analytical ability and problem-solving skills.

Most case interview questions do not have one "right" answer. The interviewer is more interested in how the applicant arrives at his solution. Interviewees are expected to interact with the interviewer, asking him clarifying questions in a logical, sequential order to solve the given problem.

Tips for Answering Case Interview Questions

  • Paraphrase the question before answering to make sure you understand the problem.
  • Most companies allow interviewees to take notes during the interview; if so, you should do this. Along with lined paper, bring graph paper to the interview, in case you need to draw any charts.
  • Take your time answering each question; logically think through the problem before arriving at a solution
  • Case interviews are interactive; feel comfortable asking your interviewer clarifying questions to gain more information.
  • Always explain how you arrived at a solution, even if you are simply estimating a number; how you arrived at your answer is generally more important than the answer itself.
  • Remain as professional as you would during a regular interview; sit up straight, speak clearly, and make eye contact with the interviewer
  • Have fun! Interviewers want to see that you are enthusiastic about solving business problems; after all, these are the types of situations you will manage every day if you are hired.

    Case Interview Practice

    It is very important to practice for a case interview, especially if it is your first one. A number of books and online guides provide tips and practice case interviews to help you prepare. Many companies also offer sample case questions on their website.

    Practice answering case interview questions in front of friends, family, or a career counselor. Most case interviews last 15 to 30 minutes, so time yourself.