Doing a virtual case interview has become likely in the post Covid-19 world. They actually weren’t uncommon before, for remote candidates, but now a lot of firms are doing case interviews virtually. There are marked differences to doing a case interview online, versus in person. With that in mind, there are some things you can do to help yourself in a virtual interview. Knowing this is a growing trend, we’ve collected tips from years of experience to help you achieve your best interview outcome. Get 7 tips for virtual case interviews below.
Virtual Case Interview
Virtual Case Interview- YouTube Transcription
Case interviews are going almost entirely online in the upcoming year. With that reality, we have given a lot of thought to how to help people prepare for the virtual case interview. The good news is that Management Consulted has been conducting virtual interview practice for 12 years. So we have a lot of things that we’ve noticed over time. But we compiled these into a list of seven action items that you can use to prepare effectively for your case interviews. Hi, I’m Jenny Rae, the CEO of Management Consulted, and I decided to share with you the tips that we’ve learned by training over 20,000 people for case interviews in the last 12 years.
7 Virtual Interview Tips
Move your computer back on the desk.
I’m going to demonstrate what this looks like. In the case interview, you’re going to need the computer to be further away from you that is normally comfortable. This is because you want the paper where you’re taking your notes to be in front of you. You want to have everything in their field of view. Otherwise, you are left with keeping the computer close to you, and then writing off to the side, which breaks attention and doesn’t give them a sense of what you’re doing when.
So you want to make sure that the positioning on a desk, or at a table is adequate so that there’s plenty of space for you to write in front of the camera. It’s important because in a virtual environment, somebody can’t take cues off of the notes that you are writing, but they can take cues off of when you’re writing the notes and what you’re writing down.
It’s super beneficial for you to begin the case incredibly strongly by what we call an over recap, which means that instead of just diving right into the problem, making sure that you really adequately recap, and ask questions about the recap before clarifying anything. This will ensure that the interviewer knows that you have assimilated all of the information. There seems to be, in a virtual environment, more uncertainty about whether or not you’re catching the information. Some of that is just our conditioning that people are usually paying partial attention. So you want to make sure that at the beginning of the case, you’re doubling down on that recap, and over recapping at the beginning.
Verbal Retelling of Your Structure
In the structure part of the prompt, this is one of the big flaws that we see in the virtual environment. People usually take for granted the fact that they have written down on their paper a clear structure. And when you’re prepping for an in-person interview, you could have turned that paper around and somebody could see that there’s a structure there.
Here you have to essentially assume that they can see that you’re writing, but they cannot see your structure, they cannot see the definition of your structure, how many buckets you have, or how many data points you have underneath it. So it’s really important when you are verbally retelling your structure that you use consistent numbering.
So, for example, you would say I have four categories. I want to look at customers, to look at the competitive advantage. I want to look at channels, and I want to look at risks. In the first category, which is customers, I want to look at three data points. The first data point is. So each time you are introducing new information, there is a number that must go with it inside your structure.
This is absolutely imperative. If you do it, it comes across as though you are clear and confident. If you don’t do it, it comes across as incompetence regardless of whether or not you have this perfect structure laid off on your paper.
4 Steps For Answering A Math Problem
For your math, a lot of people cheat on the math. We’ve been training you not to cheat over time, but in the virtual environment, this is really getting crystallized. Sometimes people can effectively in person watch your thought process and you are able to mutter a little bit as you’re going through parts of the case, and math, and point something out, and zigzag through a problem.
In a virtual environment, they have none of those same visual cues. They can’t make the read between the lines guess of whether you’re tracking or not with the information. You need to lay it out very explicitly.
Recap The Problem
And so our four steps for answering a math problem are first to give an adequate recap. And the recap must start with the problem, and then the data.
Tell Them The Structure For How You’re Going To Solve It
Explain for them your math game plan. This is one of the key missing pieces when we’re training people on math, and it is imperative in a virtual environment.
Step By Step
You want to make sure that as you’re solving the case, you’re talking through each of the mechanical steps so that there’s no questions, or leaps. And especially in a situation where you may have a miscalculation, somebody can follow very directly exactly what you did.
Finally, and most important of the math is the insight where many people would waffle a little bit in the insight, you need certainty in a virtual environment. So instead of saying well, we could do this, or we could do that, there are three things that this tells us. Number one, number two, and number three. So again, re-incorporating that numbered structure for the fourth part of math in the insight.
Write And Narrate At The Same Time
For the creative questions, you need to write and narrate at the same time, and use the same over-structuring, over-numbering that you did in the structure at the beginning of the case. So, for example, if instead of saying oh, here are some ideas I have. We could use video, we could partner with influencers, we could use Facebook, kind of just riffing off of your ideas, you would say okay, here’s one idea. We could use video influencers. That’s number one. You number it. And then you come back and you say let me explain that a little bit. And then you walk through when you’re going to explain it. Then you say good. Idea number two, and you very clearly number your creative ideas as you’re going through them, and you also keep a written record so that they visually in the camera can see that that’s happening.
Give A Clear Recommendation
For the closing, you need again clarity and definition. You need to pick an answer. The worst answer that you can give in most case interviews is a we don’t have enough data to give an answer. That’s the kind of answer that in real consulting life, if you give that answer to a client, they fire you. So you can’t come up with that at the end of the case. What you’re looking for in the virtual environment is a little bit more confidence, a little bit more clarity when you’re coming up with your final answer.
So instead of a well it could be this or this, let me walk you through my thought process. You’re saying okay, great. I have an idea; I have an answer. One of the things that I’m emphasizing throughout these top six ideas is the sense of confidence, clarity and structure as you’re working through each of the pieces of the case.
Pre-record And Review Yourself
A practice tip is to incorporate all of these things and evaluate how you’re doing with them before you go live and your whole future is on the line, make sure that you pre-record and review yourself. We’ve been doing this for years with our case interview coaching clients. The people that go through our sessions get a recording afterwards. And they’re able to watch them or not watch them, but if you’re doing it yourself, if you’re going this alone, you absolutely need to watch yourself to a case interview.
And then go back through the top six things. Is your computer positioned in the right way, did you recap clearly and strongly and ensure that the interviewer had the confidence that you would go to the case. Did you make sure that you over numbered your structure and your structure retelling was incredibly clear. Did you make sure that in your math it was explicit each four parts of the math. For the creative, did you write and number each idea that you had as you had it. And for the closing, did you come up with a clear answer. You can go back through and evaluate all of those things.
If you’re in the process of preparing for a virtual case interview, join the MC team as we help you prepare with Black Belt, the world’s only program that gives you a 10x opportunity to join one of the top 10 consulting firms. In addition, if you are preparing for an interactive case interview online where you are doing a PowerPoint presentation, or whether you’re working through some of the key issues simultaneously with multiple people in a group, you’ll want to make sure that you are practicing in an effective and simulated environment.
The online case interview is the same as an in-person case interview, but your delivery needs to differ because of the environment that you’re in. And finally, if you have more questions about how to do online case interviews, we have hundreds of incredible resources built over 12 years of practicing in this exact format that are ready for you to utilize on our website at managementconsulted.com.
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