The Case Interview

In many types of job interviews, a person will encounter decision-making situations.  A case interview is one example, in which a prospective employee has the opportunity to demonstrate a capacity to think in a structured, creative manner when presented with a real-world problem.

When involved in a case interview, consider these actions:

  1. Carefully read the case to understand the background and the main problem of the situation.
  2. Plan a framework to organize your analysis and to show the relationship among key issues.
  3. Prepare alternative courses of action to show varied approaches and versatility in thinking.
  4. Use evidence to support your analysis and suggested actions.
  5. Clearly communicate your analysis process, conclusions, and recommendations.

For improved success in a case interview:

  • prepare by using practice cases online and researching the organization’s culture.
  • talk with people who have experienced the case interview process.
  • ask questions of the interviewer to clarify key points.
  • stay focused on the key question for the situation and main issues.
  • avoid stock answers; popular frameworks and buzzwords may not be appropriate.
  • emphasize the process, analysis, and actions rather than finding the “right” answer.
  • prepare by researching current business events and organizational trends.
  • practice the process with others who are willing to help.

For additional information on case interviews, click on the following links:

Case Interview Prep Guide

Interview Prep_McKinsey

Video-Preparing for a Case Interview

Teaching Suggestions

  • Have students describe business situations that might be the basis of case interviews.
  • Have students create possible responses for potential case interview situations that they might be asked when applying for a job.

Discussion Questions 

  1. For what types of employment positions might a case interview be used as part of the selection process?
  2. Explain how case interviews help employers select the best candidate for a job.
  3. What actions should be taken to prepare for a case interview?

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