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Luca

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8

How to proceed the case if interviewer doesn't give you time to structure?

Just had an interview today (candidate led style case). After the typical clarification question process, I was gonna ask for a minute to structure my thoughts. However, the interviewer seemed a little impatient and asked me how would I solve the case. I felt pressured and that he wants me to start talking about how would I proceed the case, so I did not ask time to layout the case structure.

Is this situation of not giving time to structure a case normal? How should I proceed the case if I didn't even lay down a structure first? After all, I have done so many case practices following the structured process. Without having time to structure the case, the talking points will be very random and unstructured.

Appreciate your feedback!

Just had an interview today (candidate led style case). After the typical clarification question process, I was gonna ask for a minute to structure my thoughts. However, the interviewer seemed a little impatient and asked me how would I solve the case. I felt pressured and that he wants me to start talking about how would I proceed the case, so I did not ask time to layout the case structure.

Is this situation of not giving time to structure a case normal? How should I proceed the case if I didn't even lay down a structure first? After all, I have done so many case practices following the structured process. Without having time to structure the case, the talking points will be very random and unstructured.

Appreciate your feedback!

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Book a coaching with Luca

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Hello,

It could happen in some "stress interviews" but don't be afraid to always ask for some time to write down a structure. If he doesn't give you the time, try to write down a structure and explain him at the same time what you are gonna do and the purpose of each step of the solution.

Best,
Luca

Hello,

It could happen in some "stress interviews" but don't be afraid to always ask for some time to write down a structure. If he doesn't give you the time, try to write down a structure and explain him at the same time what you are gonna do and the purpose of each step of the solution.

Best,
Luca

Book a coaching with Emily

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Hi there,

So just to clarify, you didn't actually ask for time to structure, because you felt pressured not to? The interviewer might have asked "how you would solve the case" or in some alternative ways, but it is actually legit to ask for time to structure your thoughts, regardless how the interviewer phrased it. So I'd say next time don't let that get into your way, just ask for time regardless. Only on very rare occassasion an interviewer might say no to that (for which throughout my consulting years I never heard of such case).

When in doubt, just ask. Don't assume.

Best,

Emily

Hi there,

So just to clarify, you didn't actually ask for time to structure, because you felt pressured not to? The interviewer might have asked "how you would solve the case" or in some alternative ways, but it is actually legit to ask for time to structure your thoughts, regardless how the interviewer phrased it. So I'd say next time don't let that get into your way, just ask for time regardless. Only on very rare occassasion an interviewer might say no to that (for which throughout my consulting years I never heard of such case).

When in doubt, just ask. Don't assume.

Best,

Emily

Book a coaching with Vlad

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Hi,

This situation is very unusual. Did you ask for time to structure and he rejected?

If that is what happened - this is quite rare and I doubt it will happen again with you

Best

Hi,

This situation is very unusual. Did you ask for time to structure and he rejected?

If that is what happened - this is quite rare and I doubt it will happen again with you

Best

Book a coaching with Gaurav

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Hi there,

If I got you right, you have not asked for some time to lay down the structure, right?

Actually, the interviewer has to let you do so. It would be very unusual if he made you move forward without even structuring your thoughts, case, and getting prepared.

Try to feel more confident next time, and do not be afraid to ask for a minute to think. You have a right for it.

Do you need any further help?

GB

Hi there,

If I got you right, you have not asked for some time to lay down the structure, right?

Actually, the interviewer has to let you do so. It would be very unusual if he made you move forward without even structuring your thoughts, case, and getting prepared.

Try to feel more confident next time, and do not be afraid to ask for a minute to think. You have a right for it.

Do you need any further help?

GB

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Hi, it is a classic "pressure interview". In the second round, it sometimes happens that the interviewer act as impelling and hostile, to test your under-stress response. My advice is always to maintain the calm, take your time to correctly structure your responses and know that it is only a role-play.

Best,

Antonello

Hi, it is a classic "pressure interview". In the second round, it sometimes happens that the interviewer act as impelling and hostile, to test your under-stress response. My advice is always to maintain the calm, take your time to correctly structure your responses and know that it is only a role-play.

Best,

Antonello

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Hello!

This happened to me also during my 2nd round in McKinsey, back in the day.

It´s to test your ability to be structured and think on your feet, even when not having a piece of paper with your structure to guide you.

The key thing is to "think and communicate" as if you were drawing that issue tree in the air, starting to ramify in the different "branches" (e.g., imagine a profitability case, in which your first node is to divide revenues and costs).

You need to be very very narrative and ensure you are walking the interviewer through your toughs.

PM me if you want us to make one together.

Cheers,
Clara

Hello!

This happened to me also during my 2nd round in McKinsey, back in the day.

It´s to test your ability to be structured and think on your feet, even when not having a piece of paper with your structure to guide you.

The key thing is to "think and communicate" as if you were drawing that issue tree in the air, starting to ramify in the different "branches" (e.g., imagine a profitability case, in which your first node is to divide revenues and costs).

You need to be very very narrative and ensure you are walking the interviewer through your toughs.

PM me if you want us to make one together.

Cheers,
Clara

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Hi Anonymous,

even if you feel pressured, you should ask for time to structure anyway – it would be extremely rare for an interviewer not to allow time to structure at the beginning.

In case that happens, you should write down a structure while presenting it to the interviewer – definitely more challenging than presenting something for which you had time to think. But again, it is very rare for an interviewer not to allow time at the beginning to structure.

Best,

Francesco

Hi Anonymous,

even if you feel pressured, you should ask for time to structure anyway – it would be extremely rare for an interviewer not to allow time to structure at the beginning.

In case that happens, you should write down a structure while presenting it to the interviewer – definitely more challenging than presenting something for which you had time to think. But again, it is very rare for an interviewer not to allow time at the beginning to structure.

Best,

Francesco

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Was this an experienced-hire interview?

Adding to the comments below, if this does come up (whether at the beginning, during, or at the end of the case when needing to brainstorm):

1. Think about the high level structure (i.e. 3 main buckets)

2. If you've only thought of 1, say 2-3 and come up with them while you're talking about #1.

3. Signpost to buy yourself time (i.e. "there are 2-3 main areas in which I'm looking at this. The first is x"....by this time you should have figured out your other buckets)

4.Write while you speak - Write down some of the keywords, in an organised manner while you're articulating your points. This helps you keep track of your thoughts and provide a summary at the end

Was this an experienced-hire interview?

Adding to the comments below, if this does come up (whether at the beginning, during, or at the end of the case when needing to brainstorm):

1. Think about the high level structure (i.e. 3 main buckets)

2. If you've only thought of 1, say 2-3 and come up with them while you're talking about #1.

3. Signpost to buy yourself time (i.e. "there are 2-3 main areas in which I'm looking at this. The first is x"....by this time you should have figured out your other buckets)

4.Write while you speak - Write down some of the keywords, in an organised manner while you're articulating your points. This helps you keep track of your thoughts and provide a summary at the end

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