Bain use three types of interview across their network: case interview, experience interview and written case interview (also known as a structured case interview). The most common interview is the case interview but you need to be prepared for all three unless the recruiter states the type of interview you can expect.
The case interview’s that Bain uses are all based on real-life client examples. The interviewers are encouraged to use their own client engagements for their case interview questions because they know them well and will be able to provide data and context easily. This format is the most common interview format used by Bain because it is the closest resemblance to the work required on the job and allows the interviewer to answer the question ‘Can this person do the work of a Bain consultant?’
They assess candidates over a number of different attributes during a case interview:
Scoring well across all these attributes will result in being progressed to the next stage or ultimately, a job offer. For further information on how to demonstrate these skills see our full case interview guide.
The experience interview is usually conducted prior to beginning the case interview but has been known to be conducted as a separate interview in some firms. Bain provides a list of possible questions on their website:
- Why are you interested in Bain?
- What experience are you most proud of?
- What experience do you wish you could do over, and how would you do it differently?
- What is a difficult decision you have made in the last year?
- What is an example of a time when you showed initiative and leadership?
- What aspects of your internship did you like less?
- What do you most like to do in your free time?
- What attributes would you bring to a case team?
- Describe a role where you changed the direction of a team. How did you do it?
The key to these questions is to develop a structure that can be applied to all of them. By structuring your answer, you will show that even when discussing non-business-related topics you apply a considered approach to your answer.
The written case interview assesses the same attributes as the case interview and requires the same skills. However, instead of working through the case with the interviewer, you are given a large document pack (20-30 pages) that contains all the information required to answer the case. The information pack is dense and the time provided to read and digest it is small (c.10 minutes). This means that you are required to find the key pieces of information, interpret data quickly and structure a recommendation to present back to the interviewer under time pressure.
As with the case interview, there is not a correct answer and the important part of your answer is the consideration of trade-offs for making decisions and comparing the possible strategic decisions the business in question can take. The interviewer will test your thinking and recommendations to see how robust your conclusions are and the steps you took to get there.