Confidence vs Statement Revision in case interview

confidence
New answer on Jul 16, 2020
4 Answers
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Ben asked on Nov 20, 2019

Hi all,

Among the different tips for case interviews, two may seem conflicting:

  • Be prepared to defend your point of view
  • Take and process hints given by the interviewers

Therefore my question is how would you know when the interviewer is actually guiding you to the right answer or just testing how solid is your argument when asking "Are you sure?"

Thank you for your help!

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Antonello
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replied on Nov 20, 2019
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

Hi Ben,
of course it depends on the context and on your answer, but generally speaking, you should defend your answer remaining objective and without getting defensive. It's normal that in the typical amount of time of a case you do not have the elements to be 100% sure of a conclusion, but you should show confidence, just like a consultant. The interviewer, especially in a pressure interview, doesn't want you to change your conclusion just because he said you were wrong. However, if she goes with correct points admit that it would be interesting to assess them in order to be more accurate on the recommendation.

Hope it helps,
Antonello

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Francesco
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replied on Nov 21, 2019
#1 Expert for Coaching Sessions (3.700+) | 1.300+ Reviews with 100% Recommendation Rate | Ex BCG | 8+ Years of Coaching

Hi Ben,

most of the time when the interviewer asks you “are you sure” it means you made a mistake and he/she wants to help.

Exceptions are:

  • If you did multiple mistakes before – the interviewer may just want to see if you can keep your confidence
  • If it is a stress interview – the interviewer may simply want to see how you react

In all the cases, the best way to approach this is to

  1. say “Let met review it. So we were looking for…” and quickly restate the question and your approach. This helps to gain some time to be better organized
  2. Repeat the computation/review the structure you develop and see if there is anything missing
  3. If you cannot find any issue, state that you believe your approach is correct

Hope this helps,

Francesco

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Clara
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replied on Jul 16, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

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Vlad
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updated an answer on Nov 20, 2019
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

You can only defend your point of view if it is supported by data. In other cases, you can not defend

Always take the tips and hints from the interviewer

Best

(edited)

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Antonello gave the best answer

Antonello

Content Creator
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews
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