Cookie and Privacy Settings

This website uses cookies to enable essential functions like the user login and sessions. We also use cookies and third-party tools to improve your surfing experience on preplounge.com. You can choose to activate only essential cookies or all cookies. You can always change your preference in the cookie and privacy settings. This link can also be found in the footer of the site. If you need more information, please visit our privacy policy.

Data processing in the USA: By clicking on "I accept", you also consent, in accordance with article 49 paragraph 1 sentence 1 lit. GDPR, to your data being processed in the USA (by Google LLC, Facebook Inc., LinkedIn Inc., Stripe, Paypal).

Manage settings individually I accept
expert
Expert with best answer

Ken

100% Recommendation Rate

25 Meetings

3,082 Q&A Upvotes

USD 169 / Coaching

7

Does McKinsey stress-test in round 1 (putting time pressure/acting annoyed or combative on purpose)?

Just wondering what to expect. Round 1 interview with McKinsey scheduled for tomorrow and throughout the recruiting process was told everyone is friendly etc. However I heard from someone who interviewed with a different office a year ago that McKinsey like to stress-test candidates and put pressure on purpose (essentially being a douchebag interviewer).

I am confident I can handle the pressure, but was wondering if this is a common part of McKinsey's interview style?

Just wondering what to expect. Round 1 interview with McKinsey scheduled for tomorrow and throughout the recruiting process was told everyone is friendly etc. However I heard from someone who interviewed with a different office a year ago that McKinsey like to stress-test candidates and put pressure on purpose (essentially being a douchebag interviewer).

I am confident I can handle the pressure, but was wondering if this is a common part of McKinsey's interview style?

7 answers

  • Upvotes
  • Date ascending
  • Date descending
Best Answer
Book a coaching with Ken

100% Recommendation Rate

25 Meetings

3,082 Q&A Upvotes

USD 169 / Coaching

It's the first time I have ever heard of this being done as part of the formal recruiting process. Some interviewers, out of personal choice, will adopt a more stressful approach to push candidates but the general thesis of a good experienced interviewer is that they are able to draw out the best of that candidate. I wouldn't assume a 'friendly' interviewer but I wouldn't worry about it too much either - the interview is already a stressful enough experience! If you feel the interviewer behaves in a hostile way throughout the interviewer then it's worth flagging to the recruitment team as that is not in line with how McKinsey approaches recruiting.

Good luck!

It's the first time I have ever heard of this being done as part of the formal recruiting process. Some interviewers, out of personal choice, will adopt a more stressful approach to push candidates but the general thesis of a good experienced interviewer is that they are able to draw out the best of that candidate. I wouldn't assume a 'friendly' interviewer but I wouldn't worry about it too much either - the interview is already a stressful enough experience! If you feel the interviewer behaves in a hostile way throughout the interviewer then it's worth flagging to the recruitment team as that is not in line with how McKinsey approaches recruiting.

Good luck!

(edited)

Book a coaching with Clara

100% Recommendation Rate

50 Meetings

11,420 Q&A Upvotes

USD 229 / Coaching

Hello !

usually is the opposite, and interviewers try to give u a fair chance to shine and show your best.

However, there is a higly human component here, and each human is unique and different, so you cannot completly discard it.

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

Hello !

usually is the opposite, and interviewers try to give u a fair chance to shine and show your best.

However, there is a higly human component here, and each human is unique and different, so you cannot completly discard it.

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

Book a coaching with Ian

100% Recommendation Rate

184 Meetings

14,948 Q&A Upvotes

USD 289 / Coaching

Hi there

It is not an active, conscious tactic used by McKinsey.

However, fundamentally you should be prepared for anything in interviews.

This scenario may still happen. You may just get an interviewer who's a bit of a jerk, who's having a tough day, who just doesn't have time for you, who's sick of their job, etc. etc.

You never know!

Hi there

It is not an active, conscious tactic used by McKinsey.

However, fundamentally you should be prepared for anything in interviews.

This scenario may still happen. You may just get an interviewer who's a bit of a jerk, who's having a tough day, who just doesn't have time for you, who's sick of their job, etc. etc.

You never know!

Book a coaching with Gaurav

100% Recommendation Rate

194 Meetings

4,331 Q&A Upvotes

USD 189 / Coaching

Hi there,

I guess there was a misunderstanding about the story of putting a candidate under intended pressure or acting annoyed. It is not at all a part of McKinsey's style - on the contrary, the interviewer is meant to act professionally and contribute to your performance.

Feeling confident is an important skill to do your best and succeed in the interview because it is already a stressful experience. Therefore, do not worry that your interviewer's going to act inappropriately.

Do you need any further help?
GB

Hi there,

I guess there was a misunderstanding about the story of putting a candidate under intended pressure or acting annoyed. It is not at all a part of McKinsey's style - on the contrary, the interviewer is meant to act professionally and contribute to your performance.

Feeling confident is an important skill to do your best and succeed in the interview because it is already a stressful experience. Therefore, do not worry that your interviewer's going to act inappropriately.

Do you need any further help?
GB

Book a coaching with Udayan

98% Recommendation Rate

93 Meetings

2,582 Q&A Upvotes

USD 209 / Coaching

Nope - the entire point of a McKinsey interview is to give you the platform to put your best foot forward. There is explicitly no place to stress test anyone in the 1st round.

Even in the partner interview you will not get someone purposely being a douchebag - the only times I have heard of strange reactions is when the candidate says things that are inappropriate or unnecessarily challenges the partner.

Nope - the entire point of a McKinsey interview is to give you the platform to put your best foot forward. There is explicitly no place to stress test anyone in the 1st round.

Even in the partner interview you will not get someone purposely being a douchebag - the only times I have heard of strange reactions is when the candidate says things that are inappropriate or unnecessarily challenges the partner.

Book a coaching with Adi

100% Recommendation Rate

44 Meetings

3,684 Q&A Upvotes

USD 149 / Coaching

Hi,

Very unlikely they will act that way throughout the interview process. If they do, then thats a problem. Raise that with HR.

Its very much possible that they could test and challenge you on one or two occasions during the interview. This happens a lot in real life client situations. So here's how to deal with it:

  1. Ask a simple clarifying question to buy some extra seconds to get your thoughts together. E.g. you could say - Thanks for raising that point. Just wanted to clarify...or Fair challenge. Whats the thought behind that question if you dont mind clarifying please
  2. Slow down your breathing, breathe deeply. A LOT of people get nervous due to short breaths. Fill those lungs up with air. This will calm you down
  3. Gain empathy by saying something like...Will it be ridiculous if I pursue such and such line of thinking or Bear with me, dont shoot me down but am thinking xyz..
  4. If you are completely stuck, take a risk and say, Can I please take 5 seconds to gather my thoughts before I respond to you. I don't want to jump in too quickly or Please can we come back to this later as my mind has gone blank right now. But am sure I can come up an approach/answer/idea later on

The key thing about human behaviour is this- we end up mirroring the person in front of us. If they are happy, we automatically feel it. If they are angry we feel that too. So in stressful situations if you are rock solid calm the interviewer will mellow down, even if its an act. Practice this a lot please.

Read this book Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss and learn the strategies to negotiate and remain super calm - https://www.amazon.co.uk/Never-Split-Difference-Negotiating-Depended/dp/1847941494

Hi,

Very unlikely they will act that way throughout the interview process. If they do, then thats a problem. Raise that with HR.

Its very much possible that they could test and challenge you on one or two occasions during the interview. This happens a lot in real life client situations. So here's how to deal with it:

  1. Ask a simple clarifying question to buy some extra seconds to get your thoughts together. E.g. you could say - Thanks for raising that point. Just wanted to clarify...or Fair challenge. Whats the thought behind that question if you dont mind clarifying please
  2. Slow down your breathing, breathe deeply. A LOT of people get nervous due to short breaths. Fill those lungs up with air. This will calm you down
  3. Gain empathy by saying something like...Will it be ridiculous if I pursue such and such line of thinking or Bear with me, dont shoot me down but am thinking xyz..
  4. If you are completely stuck, take a risk and say, Can I please take 5 seconds to gather my thoughts before I respond to you. I don't want to jump in too quickly or Please can we come back to this later as my mind has gone blank right now. But am sure I can come up an approach/answer/idea later on

The key thing about human behaviour is this- we end up mirroring the person in front of us. If they are happy, we automatically feel it. If they are angry we feel that too. So in stressful situations if you are rock solid calm the interviewer will mellow down, even if its an act. Practice this a lot please.

Read this book Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss and learn the strategies to negotiate and remain super calm - https://www.amazon.co.uk/Never-Split-Difference-Negotiating-Depended/dp/1847941494

Book a coaching with Anton

100% Recommendation Rate

4 Meetings

1,087 Q&A Upvotes

USD 179 / Coaching

Hi,

McK may use good cop/ bad cop tactics during the interviews.

In terms of cases:

  • they will challenge the correct assumptions as well so you have to be prepared to defend your opinion
  • they will rush you to speed up with your conclusions/ calculations

In terms of Fit:

  • they will interrupt your PEI stories and ask for more details
  • they will challenge your actions/ choices
  • they will ask additional stress related questions

Here is the list of additional stress related questions:

Can you describe your most difficult client/ colleague and how you were able to handle their needs?

Can you tell me about a time when you were more than halfway through a project and had to pivot quickly due to an unexpected change? How did you handle it?

If one of your close work colleagues stole a $1 item, what would you do?

When given an unfamiliar task, how do you ensure you handle it properly?

If you are given two conflicting priorities from two separate managers, how do you figure out how to proceed?

Give me an example of when you received criticism. How did you respond to the information?

Tell me about a time when you were handling a project that went outside of your scope of work. How did you handle it?

Describe a situation where you had to deal with ambiguity when making a decision.

If a team member wasn’t pulling their weight, what would you do?

How do you handle a missed deadline / productivity target?

Tell me about a time when you failed to meet expectations. What did you do to recover?

Describe an instance where you were overwhelmed while on the job. How did you handle it?

What qualities do you possess that will help you succeed with McK/ BCG/ Bain?

Best,

Anton

Hi,

McK may use good cop/ bad cop tactics during the interviews.

In terms of cases:

  • they will challenge the correct assumptions as well so you have to be prepared to defend your opinion
  • they will rush you to speed up with your conclusions/ calculations

In terms of Fit:

  • they will interrupt your PEI stories and ask for more details
  • they will challenge your actions/ choices
  • they will ask additional stress related questions

Here is the list of additional stress related questions:

Can you describe your most difficult client/ colleague and how you were able to handle their needs?

Can you tell me about a time when you were more than halfway through a project and had to pivot quickly due to an unexpected change? How did you handle it?

If one of your close work colleagues stole a $1 item, what would you do?

When given an unfamiliar task, how do you ensure you handle it properly?

If you are given two conflicting priorities from two separate managers, how do you figure out how to proceed?

Give me an example of when you received criticism. How did you respond to the information?

Tell me about a time when you were handling a project that went outside of your scope of work. How did you handle it?

Describe a situation where you had to deal with ambiguity when making a decision.

If a team member wasn’t pulling their weight, what would you do?

How do you handle a missed deadline / productivity target?

Tell me about a time when you failed to meet expectations. What did you do to recover?

Describe an instance where you were overwhelmed while on the job. How did you handle it?

What qualities do you possess that will help you succeed with McK/ BCG/ Bain?

Best,

Anton

Related case(s)

MBB Final Round Case - Smart Education

Solved 15.0k times
MBB Final Round Case - Smart Education Our client is SmartBridge, a nonprofit educational institution offering face-to-face tutoring services. The client operates in the US. The mission of SmartBridge is to help as many students as possible to complete studies and prevent that they drop from the school system, in particular in disadvantaged areas. The client is considering starting operations for its services in the Chicago area. They hired us to understand if that makes sense. Due to the nonprofit regulation, SmartBridge should operate on its own in the market, without any partnership. How would you help our client?
4.6 5 520
| Rating: (4.6 / 5.0)

Our client is SmartBridge, a nonprofit educational institution offering face-to-face tutoring services. The client operates in the US. The mission of SmartBridge is to help as many students as possible to complete studies and prevent that they drop from the school system, in particular in disadvant ... Open whole case

Espresso, Whatelse?

Solved 8.8k times
Espresso, Whatelse? Espresso Whatelse is an Italian company that produces coffee and espresso machines since 1908. It is the Italian market leader and has a strong presence overall in Europe. In 2019, Espresso Whatelse has increased its revenues but it has seen declining profit margin. Your client wants to understand the root causes of this 2019 trend and how to increase its profit margin again.  
4.6 5 444
| Rating: (4.6 / 5.0)

Espresso Whatelse is an Italian company that produces coffee and espresso machines since 1908. It is the Italian market leader and has a strong presence overall in Europe. In 2019, Espresso Whatelse has increased its revenues but it has seen declining profit margin. Your client wants to understand ... Open whole case

Hot Wheels

Solved 4.7k times
Hot Wheels Problem definition: Our client is Korean Car Parts (KCP), a multi-national original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of car parts based in Korea. They've recently seen a decline in profits and have brought us in to understand how to address this falling profitability.
4.6 5 280
| Rating: (4.6 / 5.0)

Problem definition: Our client is Korean Car Parts (KCP), a multi-national original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of car parts based in Korea. They've recently seen a decline in profits and have brought us in to understand how to address this falling profitability. Open whole case

Chinese Chess - Airline Business During COVID-19

Solved 3.3k times
Chinese Chess - Airline Business During COVID-19 Sky China, a government-backed Chinese airline, has recently seen profits plummet due to COVID-19. Profits are down 80% in the months of February and March, but are showing early signs of a rebound in April.  They've brought you in to first investigate what can be done immediatedly to prevent hemorrhaging cash and surive in the short-term. They are also looking to see how the current situation can be viewed as an opportunity, and what can be done to prepare for the future. 
4.3 5 101
| Rating: (4.3 / 5.0)

Sky China, a government-backed Chinese airline, has recently seen profits plummet due to COVID-19. Profits are down 80% in the months of February and March, but are showing early signs of a rebound in April. They've brought you in to first investigate what can be done immediatedly to prevent hemor ... Open whole case

Coronavirus Times - COVID-19 Brainteaser

Solved 2.9k times
Coronavirus Times - COVID-19 Brainteaser You and your family are faced with a challenging set of decisions. Due to coronavirus, your partner has taken a 20% paycut and you are worried you may lose your job. In addition, while daycare is still open, you are worried that sending your two children there will increase the risk of them bringing the virus back to your house, where your elderly grandparents are also staying. How would you go about thinking about this problem, and what would you recommend?
4.5 5 35
| Rating: (4.5 / 5.0)
Difficulty: Beginner | Style: Brain Teaser | Topics: Brain teaser

You and your family are faced with a challenging set of decisions. Due to coronavirus, your partner has taken a 20% paycut and you are worried you may lose your job. In addition, while daycare is still open, you are worried that sending your two children there will increase the risk of them bringing ... Open whole case