Technological advancements (and COVID-19) have touched every aspect of modern business, and consulting recruiting is no exception. To consulting firms, face-to-face interviews are always the best way to make a final decision on a candidate. However, in first rounds, there is a growing trend in consulting of giving one or two case interviews via video conference. Thankfully, we have case interview tips for this type of interview.
It’s easy to see the appeal: virtual interviews save time and money for the firms. Because there’s no way to avoid the inevitable, here are our most important tips to help you crush the case interview video conference! You can put these tips into practice on your own or through an expert interview training program.
Case Interview Video Conference – Communication
There are certain adjustments you have to make right off the bat in a case interview video conference. Of course, fundamentals like recapping the prompt, developing a solid framework, and being MECE still apply. And your case answers – your recommendations – won’t be different. However, due to the limited visibility between you and your interviewer, you must be extra communicative at every step of the case interview.
During the typical case interview, you actively share your notes and paper with the interviewer, lending to a more natural back-and-forth. However, because your interviewer will likely not be able to see your paper during a video case interview, you will need to use more words to describe your thought process and what you are writing on your paper. In addition, your case answers will not be as obvious – you will have to explicitly state them.
For example, you may start off your framework by saying, “Given that our client is facing XYZ issues, I drew a box at the top of my issue tree called ‘XYZ.’ I’ve drawn the three components I would like to examine, which include Branch A, Branch B, and Branch C.”
Be careful, however. Don’t confuse the need to use more words with rambling thoughts. If anything, you need to be more clear about the approach you want to take, the data you’d want to look at, and where you’d want to drive the case next. Clarity, consistency, and being concise are still the golden rules of case interview communication.
Working with an expert case coach can help you sort out these nuances.
Case Interview Video Conference – Pitfalls to Avoid
There are a host of potential issues that can arise in the video case interview, especially when they are as interactive as consulting cases. Here are the ones to watch out for:
- Poor connection – test out your connection with a friend by going to the place you’ll be during your video interview before it actually takes place. Ideally, practice at the same time of day 1-3 days before.
- Looking at the interviewer instead of the camera – looking at the screen may make it look like you’re not looking at the interviewer directly on his or her end, so practice looking right into your laptop’s camera
- Unprofessional dress attire – ensure you dress as you would for any other interview
- Loud locations – avoid cafes and places with loud noises that can interrupt the flow of your interview
- Bad lighting – make sure to test out the lighting of your interview location so that it’s neither too bright nor too dark
- Poor visuals – a blank background is best if possible, but if you’re going to interview in your room, make sure it’s clean
- Interruptions – wherever you are interviewing, leave a note on the outside of your door saying that an interview is in process. FedEx always seems to show up at the wrong moment!
- Forgetting about timing – just as in an in-person interview, you will need to keep track of time during your case; plan to keep a watch next to your laptop
These are all plans you should be making now, long before your case interview video conference takes place. In fact, when you practice with a case coach from Management Consulted or from the firm – test all of these in that dry-run environment.
Case Interview Video Conference – Addressing an Issue
You’ll do everything you can to make sure the experience is flawless – but sometimes, it’s not. What do you do?
First – don’t panic! Instead, think about implementing the following case interview tips to address the situation:
- Deliberately slow down the pace of your speech so you provide the interviewer more time to hear your content.
- If you feel like some parts of your case were not properly communicated, repeat yourself and specifically re-summarize your insights from the case. For case answers in particular, check to ensure your interviewer heard you.
- Take longer pauses as you speak so the interviewer can chime in with any needed clarification.
Case Interview Video Conference – Mitigating Disadvantages
Unfortunately, the interviewer is at an advantage in a video case interview setting. Because it’s tougher to create an emotional connection over video, you lose much of your ability to put your personality and charm to work. In this setting, the interviewer may have an easier time writing candidates off given that face-to-face interactions create stronger relationships. As a result, it’s incredibly important to start off with a great first impression, and ironically, by doing so, you can turn this into an advantage if you are able to shine compared to other candidates who are not as prepared.
To start off with that great first impression, the first thing you need to do is act like the video interview is an in-person interview. Show excitement, smile often, ensure you make eye contact over video, and speak up.
When you get to the end – delivering your case answers – look at your interviewer. Go off-note, and really work to connect with the interviewer.
Finally, practice, practice, practice. Work with an expert case coach over video so that you have experience going into the video interview. This will also allow you to work out any kinks with connectivity issues, lighting, and sound, as well as the more pertinent issues of case interview preparation.
Case Interview Training Program
Have an upcoming case interview? Work with an MBB case coach to push for great case answers today.
Each case coach works through video conference – so you’ll be on solid footing whether your interview is in person or remote.
Have success or horror stories about the video case interview? Let us know in the comments below!
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