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Some times we are thrown with some vague questions which are different from the main stream questions generally asked.
Have you heard the questions like—
- How many bank branches are there in India?
- Our client is a Textile producer who wants to expand by acquiring their competitor. The competitor offers to sell their plant for $10m. Should our client accept this deal?
- You have a airline company and a competitor with lower travel cost is operating on the same routes as you are due to which you are rapidly losing customers. How would you respond to such a situation?
These are examples of Case interview questions. These type of interview is currently used by the Big four consultancy companies but now- a days more and more companies are adopting this type of assessment procedures to analyze the potential candidate for White collar Job roles.
A case interview is a different approach to job interview in which the interviewer presents the candidate with a problem situation or a research situation and the candidate should investigate and find a solution or an answer to the situation. Thus realistic business challenges are presented to assess his/her analytical, problem solving and soft skills.
So lets understand the types of case interviews and how to crack them!
There are various generic topics in case interviews but collectively they can grouped down in 4 types:-
- Estimation Cases
- Pricing and Valuation Cases
- Profitability Cases
- Competitive Interaction Cases
Actually no case can be definitely fit in one of these groups. As any situation or problem may need to consider more then one type of approach in the same way. Case interview could also be mixture of more than one of the above case types
This type of cases not only displays the reasoning capability of the candidate but also can help understand if he/she can work under pressure and think out of the box. As questions should really vague and practically impossible to answer. The interviewer assesses the candidates ability to think in a structured way to narrow down to a number which could be approximately nearer to the actual number.
The aim here is not to find the estimated number but the method and thought process used to achieve a certain number.
Some examples of Estimation Case Questions are:-
- How many cars were sold of X brand in 2019?
- How many people with be infected by Corona Virus in next 4 months in India?
- How many smartphones are currently used in the world?
These types of cases are very commonly used in the consulting sector. Where many companies approach these consultancies with a problem of reduced or declining profitability of there business. Also this good be a good way to assess candidate if he has the required knowledge and mindset to think for the betterment of the company and does he view his job and the business as a whole.
Also typically, all the employees hired with the aim of value addition in the companies profile. Thus now new multinationals are searching for this profitability mindset and thus they have included this type of case in their interviews.
Examples of Profitability case are:-
- Despite of increase in the footfall in the stores, The profit generated is competitively lower what could be the reason?
Pricing and Valuation Case:-
Mainly for candidates of Marketing and Sales this could be the type of question that could be asked in an interview in the near future. For marketing candidates it could be used to assess the capability of setting a price for a particular product and the price transition that could be done over the time. For sales question would be put forth to assess the negotiation skills and the valuation of the product (how low or high the person would feel the product valued). Also in business prospective it could analyse if person is able to take quick decision and could hold on or let go deals that could be profitable for the company.
Some example of pricing and valuation are:-
- Company has launched a new chocolate in the market. How much should it charge?
- A restaurant chain want to start selling Cakes how much should they charge?
- At what lowest price would you sell a product costing INR 9000?
Competitive Interaction Case:-
This type of question assess your
Example of Competitive Interaction cases is:-
- You have a restaurant company and a competitor with lower cost food truck is operating in front of you due to which you are rapidly losing business. How would you respond to such a situation?
There are 2 aspects that you need to master to ace this type of interview
During the interview the candidate has to efficient use his time and ask smart questions to help him deliver the solution. If a conclusion is drawn with only a few questions the candidates approach may appear shallow and too many question would confuse to pin point and conclude a specific problem. Thus asking questions in a structured way is the most important aspect in these type of interviews.
Each question each assumption will be judged, thus the candidate should overcome the psychological pressure being in the centre of the discussion and focus on the problem and his/her approach towards it. This will be a bit tricky to master as mind will be a battleground for what to say and what not to say. This can be only overcome through only one word PRACTICE!
This is just an overviews of the case interviews. Further I will be discussing the structure of the approach for go forward in these types of interviews and exact strategy that could be used to approach these types of questions and to have a structured flow of thoughts and questions which will direct the conversation towards the Root Cause of the Problem.