March 6th, 2010
The case interview is a specialized type of interview that is commonly used during interviews for a business-related position. They are designed to scrutinize relevant skills that would be specifically relevant to the position the candidate is interviewing for, such as quantitative, analytical, creative, interpersonal, listening, and persuasive. Interviewers want to know how well you can comprehend and think critically about different situations. A case interview gives you the opportunity to put your knowledge to the test and show the interviewer that you have what it takes to efficiently solve problems.
The interviewer will provide an example of a case study that presents a problem and then ask you to develop a course of action that will provide a solution to it. Typically the case study involves a problem facing a company, and you will be asked to analyze, identify major issues, and then discuss how you would approach the problem. You may be asked to come up with solutions within a certain time frame, such as 15 to 20 minutes. When it comes to the case studies, do not be afraid to ask questions if you don't understand any part of it or need some clarification. An interviewer will be impressed that you desire to get the facts straight and are able to pay attention to details.
To do well in a case interview, you need to prepare for it. The more prepared you are, the less pressure you will feel and the more you will be able to concentrate on developing your solution within the given time frame. In order to get used to the problem solving process, practice working through case studies on your own. The more case studies you work through, the more comfortable you will become with them. It is important that you answer questions by reasoning out loud in order to demonstrate your thought process to the interviewer. Make sure that you are able to clearly answer the interviewer by practicing how you would logically describe different processes to friends, such as how to check your oil. The more comfortable you become with explaining things, the better you will be able to talk to an interviewer. While in a case interview, remember that there is no right or wrong answer to a question since what the interviewer is really interested in how you are able to apply your skills and knowledge to real-life situations.