Language barrier for the interview

Case Interview language
Recent activity on Mar 14, 2018
4 Answers
3.2 k Views
Anonymous A asked on Mar 14, 2018

Dear all,

In upcoming weeks I have a buisness case interview and I'm not so fluent in the langauge of the office that I have to do the interview with. I can speak the language more and less and understand almost anything, but I'm afraid during the buisness case I miss some information and I feel my communication skills are not sufficent for a good buisness case.
I was thinking to answer when it's the time to do buisness case I ask about the switch to English.

I was wondering if it will have a negative effect on my chance not doing the buisness case in local office langauge?

Any help and suggestion I will be grateful.

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Best answer
replied on Mar 14, 2018
McKinsey Senior EM & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 350+ candidates secure MBB offers

Hi Anonymous,

this is definitely something you should proactively bring up and discuss prior to your interview! It is in the best interest of yourself, and also of the firm you are applying to. If you discuss it with them and they agree to do the case part in English, there is no issue you need to worry about. If, however, they refuse to do it in English, then there might be good reasons for that and in this case you should wonder whether this firm is a good fit for you in the first place (at this point in time).

Cheers, Sidi

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Content Creator
replied on Mar 14, 2018
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (โžก | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi Anonymous,

I agree with Sidi, it would be better to clarify this upfront with HR. If you raise the request during the interview, it may raise some doubts in the interviewer whether you are a good fit for the company so far that they need someone fluent immediately.

In case they clarify that that particular language is required, the best option would be to postpone the interview until you feel properly prepared for the interview in such language. From what you mentioned, it seems you have already a good level, thus ideally you could aim to be ready in a period of 3-6 months with proper training.



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Anonymous replied on Mar 14, 2018


You should definitely ask before the interview whether it is ok to take the interview in English. In some offices it is essential to know the local language because a lot of the clients are local as well and they want consultants who speak the language. Other offices are more open because the client base is international and the project language is English.

So if they don't let you do it in English, it is nothing against you but there is probably a good reason for it. You can always try a different office if that is an option for you.

Hope everything goes well. Good luck, E

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replied on Mar 14, 2018
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


Have you tried the mock interviews in this language? How did it go?

If you had problems, then with 100% probability you'll have even more problems during the case (Low energy by the 3rd interview, stress, etc)

As everyone else here I would recommend contacting the HR with that issue.


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Sidi gave the best answer


McKinsey Senior EM & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 350+ candidates secure MBB offers
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