I got an Interview Feedback as "Not Speaking to the point" - how do I re-prepare for the next interviews?

Feedback interview feedback
Anonymous A asked on Apr 07, 2021

I recieved Feedback from a Senior Partner that I was a very strong candidate and the case was good, BUT I was speaking a lot and not always to the point. How I overcome this kind of a shortcoming in the other interviews I might have elsewhere?

Thanks! :)

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on Apr 09, 2021
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Hey there,

That is one of the core issues that many candidates face when preparing for case interviews. Communication in case interviews and consulting work, in general, is always top-down, meaning you prioritize your key message first, then present supporting arguments for it. Everything you say needs to add value to your point or the conversation.

This is unusual since, in everyday life, people learn to communicate mostly bottom-up - the other way round.

How can you overcome this?

1. Train with an experienced case interview coach. Just one session is enough to learn the key habits of communicating properly (+ follow their exercises)

2. Learn about the cornerstones of top-down communication (e.g. signpost and number your points, lead the interviewer through your thinking process). Mino's Pyramid Principle can help here as well

3. Whatever you say, focus on answering the key question and your key message first, then follow up with supporting arguments

4. Stop talking once you have brought all your points across

Another reason why you might ramble on could be that you are not confident in your answers? I don't want to make a diagnosis from afar since we have not cased together, but I have noticed in many cases that when candidates are nervous or not confident in their abilities that they start to ramble on and

  • repeat points several times using different words until stopped by the interviewer
  • create endless sentences of different trains of thoughts, linking them together with 'and'

DM me if you need some more personal feedback or exercises to train this!

Cheers,

Florian

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Anonymous A on Apr 08, 2021
Thanks a lot!

You are not alone..even seasoned consultants ramble on and its called "epic levels of bullshitting" :). This happens when you are out of comfort zone or dont have grasp over the subject/topic in discussion. Its very easy to fall into this in case interviews or even fit interviews as in our mind more words = better answer/more credibility.

Three tips for you:

  1. Record yourself talking and playback to understand how you sound- how many gap fillers you use, do you pause, what sort of tone etc etc
  2. In the short-term (now to 2 months), practice sticking to 2-3 key points maybe 4 depending on the case and provide just enough detail for each point as required
  3. Check out Ted talks/youtube videos on this subject to improve this skill over the long-term (6 months +)
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Anonymous A on Apr 08, 2021
Thanks a lot!

Objective objective objective. Anything you say should always be ruthlessly focused on meeting the objective. That is, if they ask a question, your answer should be solely focused on that question. If you're analyzing a chart/exhibit, any insights should be directly related to the case objective.

Signpost. Learn to organize your thoughts into 2s, 3s, and 4s. Use a pen + paper to jot down the "bucket" names as you speak to them. This will keep you organized

Practice. Work with a coach to get concise, precise language. Record yourself and listen for areas to improve on. Learn to use key words to replace full sentences.

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Anonymous A on Apr 08, 2021
Thanks a lot!

This sounds like top-down communication which is a highly valued skill in management consulting. There is the famous Barbara Minto's pyramid principle which is the hallmark where you will find lot's of material online. Unfortunately it's not something that you can change in the immediate term but more practically, I would encourage you to try focus and write down 2-3 bullets/key messages/'so-what's' of what you want to say first, before you speak.

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Anonymous A on Apr 08, 2021
Thanks!

Hello!

The good thing is that is a super concrete and accionable piece of feedback!

Comes with practicing top-down communication, have you considered doing so with a coach?

Cheers,

Clara

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Hi, I confirm this is an important point to definitely address before the next round. happy to set up a quick chat to discuss it

Best,
Antonello

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Florian gave the best answer

Florian

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