HR screening rejection

HRscreening Interview
New answer on Feb 28, 2021
7 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on May 18, 2020

I got dinged during HR screening and feedback I received was "lack of structure and didn't seem convincing" in my answers. Can someone give me practical tips or advice to overcome this hurdle and not to get dinged in my upcoming interviews?

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Ian
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replied on May 18, 2020
BCG | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

It really depends on what "lack of structure" you were exhibiting.

First, identify where you lack structure:

  • In your framework?
  • In the way you go through the case?
  • In your thinking (i.e. being hypothesis driven)
  • In your communication

Then, resolve these:

  • Framework - practice the mindset shift required in appropriately thinking about and talking about a framework (i.e. how are you going to approach the problem...how would you do it if you had a team of 4 and 4 weeks and were at the client site)
  • Going through the case - you need to learn how to organize your sheets of paper for each stage of the case, putting notes/findings/titles in set places. They should almost look like slides (feel free to message me for an example)
  • In your thinking - this is another mindset shift. You need to always remember the objective, your hypotheses, the framework, as you go through the case. Practice pausing and re-stating these
  • In your communication - signpost your thoughts, say exactly what is needed (no more, no less), be clear in your words, etc.

Honestly, a dedicated session with a coach is the best way to overcome this, and there isn't a blanket solution to this sort of foundational blocker!

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Clara
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replied on May 19, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

Sorry to hear that!

What helps to gain structure is to embrace a good "framework" or guidance to communicate.

Precisely for this, most common in MBB are STAR or PARADE. They are quite similar, and here I leave you here one of the slides of the FIT Guide I´ve written for PrepLounge that summarizes it.

Full guide can be found here > https://www.preplounge.com/en/shop/tests-2/integrated-fit-guide-for-mbb-34

PM me if you are interested in disccount codes for it!

MBB star and parade framework

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

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Vlad
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replied on May 19, 2020
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

"Tell me about yourself question" is similar to "Walk me through your resume"

  1. This is not the story, so you don't need to have the story STAR structure
  2. This is not about the challenge, it's about your career path
  3. Start with a short 1 sentence summary of who you are. You can mention your unique selling point and structure your lifepath around it
  4. Depending on your experiences continue either from the first or from the last role (the later you are in your career the more sense it is to start with last one)
  5. For each role in addition to the description add a memorable project or experience with high impact / cool companies and brands involved that will stay in the memory of the interviewer
  6. In the end, say why consulting is a logical continuation of your career path

When answering “Why consulting” questions, provide three reasons why you want to pursue a career in a consulting firm. A general rule is to find the reasons that are important for you and logically fit everything you have done before (e.g. you want to grow further in financial services and get exposure to these clients). You can always use some personal rationale like your experience of working with consultants on a client side.

"Why this company" is a more specific question and can include the following arguments:

  • The general marketing story the company is trying to sell (e.g. Bain is a small "Family" company)
  • Brand / positioning / market share in the region
  • More clients / projects / expertise in the industry you are interested in
  • More well-known stories of success in your city
  • Your friends working there
  • Your interactions with the other consultants before the interview
  • Your prior experience of working with the Firm on a client side
  • Office traditions
  • Work experience with firm alumni
  • etc

Best!

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Anonymous replied on May 19, 2020

Dear A,

I would recommend you to use a specific structure, which consists of 5 components for your personal fit stories:

1. Situation (background)

2. Problem (Complication)

3. Your approach (how did you manage this problem)

4. Results (Outcomes of your approach)

5. Your learnings (what you take from this situation)

If you can apply this framework to every of your PEI stories and communicate in a top-down way, you would definitely leave great impression and sound more convincing nex time. For more details, feel free to approach me.

Good luck,

André

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Francesco
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replied on May 19, 2020
#1 Expert for Coaching Sessions (3.600+) | 1.300+ Reviews with 100% Recommendation Rate | Ex BCG | 8+ Years of Coaching

Hi there,

I would recommend you post your current approach – it is very difficult to provide any suggestion without knowing which questions you are referring to and which is your current answer.

Some common issues related to structure and motivation on the fit part are the following:

  • Lack of numbers to structure the answer (First, Second, etc)
  • Lack of structure for stories (eg STARR approach)
  • Lack of connections with your own real experience to demonstrate a point
  • Lack of due diligence on the company
  • Excessive length of the answers covering elements not requested

Best,
Francesco

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Gaurav
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replied on Feb 28, 2021
Ex-Mckinsey|Certified Career Coach |Placed 500+ candidates at MBB & other consultancies

Hi there!

Sorry to hear about that! However, rejection is also an experience. Use the time given to significantly upgrade your profile and to maximize your chances next year!

- Relevant work experience. Have you applied somewhere else? Tier 2 consulting firms could be a great start and give you the needed experience that would be of great advantage in the future and make you a better fit for the desired company.

- Preparation. Solve different types of cases, prepare for the fit part carefully, improve your feeling of confidence.

- Networking. I would strongly recommend finding some contacts within the targeted firm to understand how it is from the inside, have a better idea of your position here in the future.

Maybe even think of the guidance of an experienced coach.

Do you need any further help?

​Good luck!

​GB

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Emily
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replied on May 19, 2020
BCG Project Leader | 3+ years interview experience for BCG SEA recruiting | Kellogg MBA, NTU, Peking University

Hi there,

It depends a lot on how you prepared your fit questions - did you follow the STAR (or similar) strucutre, did you articulate your messaging, did you give the right amount of details to make it convincing, etc.

It is a bit hard to go beyond generic answers without observing in reality how you answer those fit questions. Feel free to PM if you want to practice and get more in-depth feedback.

Best,

Emily

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Ian gave the best answer

Ian

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