Deloitte Conversational Interviews

Consulting firms are constantly looking for innovative ways to find and vet talent. One way this is being realized, is through more informal interviews. Specifically, Deloitte conversational interviews have taken some candidates by surprise. Imagine studying how to do a case interview, only to get to the interview and not have it be as you prepared for! We at MC are happy to fill the gap and make sure that doesn’t happen to you. Read on to learn how to respond if you find yourself unexpectedly in a conversational interview, rather than a formal interview.

Conversational Interviews, Deloitte Conversational Interviews

Deloitte Conversational Interviews: YouTube Transcription

Have you ever game planned for the ultimate case interview, where you’re gonna have to break down a problem, do some math, follow creative structures, and ultimately, come up with a recommendation – but then gotten thrown completely for a loop in a more conversational case interview? Well, a lot of our readers and clients have! So we decided to bring you a video today focused on how you can solve case interviews that are more informal in nature. I’m Jenny Rae Le Roux, the Managing Director of Management Consulted. MC is the world’s leading resource on consulting interviews, and our focus today is on the informal interview and specifically, Deloitte’s deployment of the informal interview. What I want to talk about today are a few do’s and don’ts for informal case interviews, or “conversational interviews”.

How Do You Recognize Informal Interviews?

First of all, I’ll start with how you can recognize them. Informal case interviews are usually introduced by partners or managers in a different way than regular interviews are. You’ll notice if they don’t have a lot of paperwork in front of them, and if they say “we just want to have an open-ended chat today about a problem that I’m currently working on”. That that’s a clue that they may not have the work done on their side. It very well could mean it’s meant to be informal and a more conversational interview.

How To Start Conversational Interviews

So, once you’ve assessed that an interview is going to be an informal interview, you’ll want to start it off in the same way that you would a regular case interview. That’s by listening to the beginning and by restating the question back to them. But that’s where the similarities end. After that, you’re going to want to make sure that you focus on keying in on how you would solve the problem. The power of an informal interview is that it demonstrates your thought process, not how you solve for an answer. And your rigidity, your linearity, which is not always considered a great thing, is a test here when you’re in these kinds of interviews.

How Conversational Interviews Differ From Regular Case Interviews

So, instead of where you would normally go into “may I have two minutes to build a structure?” You’re going to say, “Would you mind if I just lay out for you while I’m doing it on paper, my thought process for how I would go about solving this case?” That gives them the ability to give you a red flag if you’re headed down the informal direction when they think you should be formal, but it also gives an opportunity for you to just say, “Okay, here is what I’m planning to do. I’m about to let you into my thought process”. And no matter what kind of case you’re in, that’s a good thing.

If they don’t stop you, then you’ll go ahead and do that. You’ll let them know the things in a couple of categories you would think about in the case similar to the way that we would recommend you do a creative question inside the case a little bit later.

Putting It All Together

So you pull the creative process up to your initial structure and you begin the case in a very conversational way. You let them know three categories or four categories of areas that you’d want to look at, you give them some subcategories that you want to talk about, and then you let them know where you would want to start if you had full information or full access to go get the information, and then ask them at the end “is there anywhere in particular that you would like to begin?” Once you’ve done that, they will guide you into whether they want you to pursue further parts in the case just through open-ended questions, but effectively, an informal interview or a Deloitte interview that is an informal case, will appear like a series of creative questions that you’re doing structured brainstorming to every single time.

What Not To Do In Informal Interviews

Don’t take them so informally to the point where you don’t write anything down. The interviewer is still evaluating the structure and clarity of your thought process, and we’ve tested it out on thousands of candidates. If you don’t use structure and you just talk into the air, it’s much more difficult to appear clear and concise. So you’re going to need to write as you’re thinking in every step of the case.

The second thing is that in a case like this, you need to tell them what data you would want. But at the same time, not push to ask for the data. Again, they’re less interested in you solving the problem, and more in understanding how you would solve a real life problem like this. So you’re going to be mentioning things like “there are three points of data that I would be really interested in testing out”. And you would write them down and then read them out, and then at the end you would say “do you have any data, or would you like to take the discussion in a different way?” So you keep it conversational by leaving the end of each part of the case quite open.

Ultimately, the final thing that you don’t want to do is try to push too hard for data and answers. Remember, this is about your thought process and about the clarity with which you’ve defined the problem, not your answer to the problem. They’re looking for you to persuade them in the way that you structure and approach the problem, not in the way that you solve the problem.


Informal or conversational interviews, when you’ve practiced diligently, can come across as real curveballs. But if you take these things to heart make sure that you structure, write, and verbally go through your process. Make sure you stay away from the no-no areas like:

  • being too rigid
  • pushing too hard for answers or data
  • pushing too hard for your ideas

Staying away from those things will help you find that these kinds of cases are actually easier to pass. That is, as long as you’re prepared for them! If you have questions about case interviews, we’d love to help you!

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Filed Under: Case Interview, Consulting Case Interview, deloitte consulting