Experienced strategy consultant with 5+ years in Roland Berger, doing over 60 Undergrad-->MBA level interviews.
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How to explain no-return offer in interview?

Anonymous A

Hi everyone,

I was rejected by a top tier strategy firm for a full time position after an internship. The program is structured in a way that you do the internship in another geography and so you would still have to have a full time interview to finalize the full-time offer.

I think I performed well in my internship but I did not do well in the case part of the full time interview and got rejected. Now I have other interviews with reputable firms and they will probably be wondering what happened with my previous company. I have been saying that I do not speak the local language and the program was structured so that there is no way to get a return offer. Should I be honest and tell them that I simply didn't get the return offer?

Thank you

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Ashwin
Expert
replied on 04/18/2018
Experienced strategy consultant with 5+ years in Roland Berger, doing over 60 Undergrad-->MBA level interviews.

Don't say "no way to get a return offer" as firms will see through that. However, you have my sympathies, this is a tough spot to be in.

My suggest is, let's say you interned at X and are interviewing for Y and Z, when asked about ""why are you looking to move", speak more about the positive qualities for Y and Z that attract you to them. A strong argument typically is geographical, which is that Y or Z offer you the ideal geography whereas X simply could/ did not. This way you will sound more credible and direct your answer in a manner that is focused on Y and Z, rather than reverting to not getting an offer from X.

Hope this helps.

Hemant
Expert
replied on 04/19/2018
Current partner @ Andreessen Horowitz (VC firm). Ex-Mckinsey, ex- strategy guy at Google.

You did great in your actual internship, and that's why you got a chance to interview for the full time role. I would be up front: say you had a great time and were reviewed favorably at the internship. On the day of the interview, you made a few silly mistakes (whatever they were) and had a bad day. Since then, you've focused on improving those areas and feel like you are ready and much stronger as a consultant now. It shows you are willing to admit failure, learn from it, bounce back, and stay resilient. Qualities of the highest order.

B
Expert
replied on 04/17/2018
NOT AVAILABLE

Hey,

As far as I understand you are suggesting that you didn't get an offer not because of your performance in the internship, but actually due to failing the actual interview. Are you sure your interview performance was the issue? Did they tell you that your performance during the internship was above or at least according to their expectations?

If you're really sure about it, you are in a very difficult situation, because you want to sell that you're able to perform well... but simultaneously, you were not able to clear out an interview. I am definitely not going to advise you to lie about it, especially becuase I think they are going to ask directly what happened most likely, but you really need to build a very compelling argument that is bullet proof to all the different angles - something that is different between both consulting firms or locations might be some of your best options.

Best

Bruno

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