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Is it true many interviewers decide during the fit part of the interview?

MBB
New answer on May 03, 2023
9 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Mar 29, 2023

Someone at MBB told me that many interviewers decide during fit if they want you to progress, and hope you just don’t mess up the case too badly. In theory it’s not like this, but I was told that in practice many times it is.

How much truth is there to this? 

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Cristian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Mar 29, 2023
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

Hi there, 

Perhaps on some subconscious level, but it shouldn't happen. 

Consulting companies are working hard to eliminate bias in the recruitment process. One example is that now it's rather frowned upon to come up with a case on the spot as the interviewer (which was pretty much standard practice until a few years ago) and instead they are required to use cases that are vetted internally. The point would be to not make it subconsciously harder for one candidate than for another. 

From the interviewers that I know, nobody would just take their decision based on the personal fit alone, but I do believe it carries a very heavy weight how well you connect with the interviewer at that part. 

Best,
Cristian

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Moritz
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updated an answer on Mar 29, 2023
ex-McKinsey EM & Interviewer | 7/8 offer rate for 4+ sessions | 90min sessions with FREE exercises & videos

Hi there,

In some ways it's purely logical that this might happen, simply based on the sequence with fit followed by case. Imagine an awful fit part - it's hard to recover from that, even with a stellar case. However, if case came first, the interviewer might form an opinion (recommend/don't recommend hire) during the case performance.

In general, candidates are often hyper-focused on cases and neglect the fit part. Because of this, I had to give no-hire recommendations more times based on poor fit (PEI) than case performance when I interviewed candidates for McKinsey.

Point being, you're somewhat in control through great preparation and my advice would be to focus on that and not the internal workings for the recruitment process.

Best of luck!

Moritz

 

(edited)

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Francesco
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replied on Mar 30, 2023
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ interviewoffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

Q: Is it true many interviewers decide during the fit part of the interview?

If you do badly in the case you won’t pass the interview, regardless of your performance in the fit part. Therefore, an interviewer won’t be able to properly make a decision just after the fit part. 

Given the fit part is usually before the case, an interviewer will naturally get an initial impression of your skills there; however, if there is a case after that, this won't allow him to make a final decision without assessing your case performance.

Best,

Francesco

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Hagen
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Content Creator
replied on Mar 29, 2023
#1 Bain coach | >95% success rate | interviewer for 8+ years | mentor and coach for 7+ years

Hi there,

I think this is an interesting question that may be relevant for many people. I would be happy to share my thoughts on it:

  • First of all, and contrary to what other coaches have said, any well-trained interviewer will not prematurely make a final assessment before the interview is over and they had time to review their notes on the performance of both the case study and personal fit parts of the candidate.
  • Moreover, while the personal fit part is equally important as the case study part of an interview, it is not sufficient to focus on just one of the two parts to make an informed decision.
  • Lastly, while this might be an interesting topic to discuss, I would still highly advise you to focus on the aspects of the application that you can control, which essentially is your performance in any pre-interview assessment and the interviews.

If you would like a more detailed discussion on how to best prepare for your upcoming interviews, please don't hesitate to contact me directly.

Best,

Hagen

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Pedro
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replied on Mar 29, 2023
Bain | Roland Berger | EY-Parthenon | Mentoring Approach | 30% off first 10 sessions in May| Market Sizing | DARDEN MBA

It happens, but not like that. 

What frequently happens is that the candidate that shows a high maturity level, highly structured communication, good interpersonal skills (and please notice that this goes way beyond telling “a good story” for the behavioral questions) - then the interviewer starts already believing that the person will do well.

Because there's a correlation there. You show maturity, it means you likely prepared and have a bit of depth in your thought process; you show tranquility, means you are unlikely to bomb the case due to nerves; you communicate well means you are likely to think in a structured way. 

Does it mean you passed the case? Not really. They still have to perform well during the case. On the other hand, if the interviewer starts rooting for you because of the above, you may have a smoother case, and there's always a bit of “halo effect” (good performance in one part becomes perceptioned as good performance in other parts).

Hope this sheds some light.

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Sheng
Expert
replied on Mar 29, 2023
Ex McK, currently PE tech investor - Landed offers at McK, BCG, S&, EYP, Deloitte London

Depending on the firm you are at, there is some truth to this. 

Candidates often underestimate the PEI (Personal experience interview) at McK / “Fit” interview at other firms. Often it is the deciding factor between candidates who all did well on the case.

For reference, I've seen candidates who made minor mistakes on the case (overall nothing exceptional) but did extremely well on the PEI/fit get offers. I've never seen candidates who did extremely well on the case but underperformed on the PEI/fit get offers.

At the end of the day - consulting is a people business and building connections is a critical skill.

Let me know if you'd be interesting in discussing this further! 

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Sophia
Expert
replied on May 03, 2023
Top-Ranked Coach on PrepLounge for 3 years| 6+ years of coaching

Interesting question, but I don't think this is true at all. The interviewers will assess your candidacy comprehensively, based on your performance in case and fit across several interviews. They should certainly not be making the call just based on fit. Of course, there is something to be said about the subjective impression you make on the interviewer - if they enjoyed their interaction with you, felt like they connected with you, or liked how you approached behavioral/fit questions, they may be (subconsciously) more likely to evaluate you more positively. Which is why I always encourage candidates to try to develop a positive rapport with the interviewer, but this can develop at any point in the interview process. However, this is just one small consideration, and certainly not the main deciding factor. The case and fit components are equally important in the interview process.

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ALEXANDRE
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replied on Mar 29, 2023
FREE INTRO I exMcKinsey EM I exKearney consultant I High Success Rate I Official Coach for HEC (160 coachees in 2022/23)

Hi,

I don’t think that there’s one answer for MBB. 
From my experience as an interviewer at McKinsey I can tell you the following :

1. Usually after the first round of interviews (2-3 interviews) all the interviewers debrief with HR on the candidate with a simple matrix FIT vs. Case. 
2. If you are above the bar for FIT and Case you go to next round. Of course, if you are at the limit, there’s a debate with interviewers and HR to decide fir next round.

3. On average, more people are rejected because of FIT than case because candidates are quite well prepared for case and forget to prepare seriously FIT. It means that FIT becomes more and more important. It’s a pitty to not prepare FIT because if you are coached you re sure to be above the bar.

4. A proof of the increasing importance of FIT is that McKinsey is now adding 2 dimension to FIT and HEC asked me to give more courses on the topic to their students

Hope this helps,

Cheers,

Alexandre

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Ian
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replied on Mar 30, 2023
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi there,

There's so much nuance to this answer.

Fundamentally, you have to think “If I were an interviewer, what would I do”. Remember these interviewers are people.

So, yes, you have to pass the airport test.

Yes, if you're unable to communicate and you come across poorly, the case doesn't matter.

Yes, if they really like you and you have good energy/attitude, they will be a little more lenient.

They're trying to see if you can be a consultant.

If they think they can put you in front of a client, if they think you can work in a team, if they think you have the grit to learn, the lack of ego to receive feedback, and the capability to do well, they are more likely to hire you.

Interpret this how you like :)

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Cristian gave the best answer

Cristian

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