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McKinsey Interview Evaluation and Decisions

Interview McKinsey mckinsey 1st round interview McKinsey 2nd Round McKinsey Final Round
New answer on May 30, 2024
9 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on May 27, 2024

Imagine you are a McKinsey recruiter conducting final round interviews with 10 candidates. Each candidate has identical scores in both the case interview and the Personal Experience Interview (PEI). Given that you can only extend an offer to one candidate, how would you decide who to choose?

 

 

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Thomas
Expert
replied on May 30, 2024
McKinsey Manager & Recruiter | Led 150+ interviews for McK | Personally hired 15+ McK consultants | Got MBB offers

Hello,
This is an interesting hypothetical question! It is unlikely to happen in real life, but let's pretend it does. From being in the decision-making hiring role at McKinsey myself, here are a few things to keep in mind:

- McKinsey interview process is absolutely and solely quantitative. I am not sure why other answers are implying something else - it is misleading. Each candidate gets scored on 7 to 8 different components. Some scores are red flags. And some categories “weigh” more than others. But keeping it quantitative is the only way to keep it meritocratic: we ONLY judge the performance, not the individual. 

- It is NOT necessarily true that every candidate would receive an offer. It depends on the position they are applying to. Yes, each office / department (also called “cell” in the Firm jargon) has a certain amount of seats available. It can be flexible, but if the cell has 3 seats available, they might hire 2-4 consultants but not 10. So, in this situation, if all candidates applied for the same cell, they would likely be asked to consider another cell (e.g., another office).

- The most likely outcome here is that we would ask all candidates to pass one more interview. I have asked several candidates to do so in the past. We typically do so when several candidates have a similar performance but we cannot hire them all. Please note: this is less common in college/MBA recruiting.

- Lastly, keep in mind that recruiters do not have any decision power whatsoever. They are assisting the hiring cell in the process, that's all. 

Hope this is helpful. Happy to chat further if helpful!
- Thomas

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Hagen
Expert
Content Creator
replied on May 27, 2024
#1 Bain coach | >95% success rate | interviewer for 8+ years | mentor and coach for 7+ years

Hi there,

I would be happy to share my thoughts on your question:

  • First of all, it is not the recruiters who conduct the interviews, but the consultants of various levels.
  • Moreover, I doubt that McKinsey - like any other consulting firm - makes hiring decisions based solely on a quantitative score.
  • Lastly, even if this were the case and all candidates had the same (satisfactory) score, they would all receive an offer.

You can find more on this topic here: How to succeed in the final interview round.

If you would like a more detailed discussion on this topic, please don't hesitate to contact me directly.

Best,

Hagen

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Cristian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on May 27, 2024
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

Actually, it might be worth making two clarifications. 

First, interviews are not conducted by recruiters. Interviews are conducted by consultants. 

Second, it's virtually impossible to have the same score. There is no ‘score’ to speak of in that sense. As in, it's not as mathematical as many candidates expect it to be. 

Typically, if the interviewers are not sure about a candidate but they believe that candidate has a lot of potential, they organise an additional round. 

But I've never heard of a situation of 10 candidates being literally the same in terms of performance. 

Best,
Cristian

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Dennis
Expert
Content Creator
replied on May 28, 2024
Ex-Roland Berger|Project Manager and Recruiter|7+ years of consulting experience in USA and Europe

Hi,

I agree with the others that the situation you are describing does not exist in reality. It sounds like you are basically asking what the tie breaker is if all of the “objective” criteria are the same for all applicants. Other factors that might also matter in such cases are (in no specific order):

  • availability of the candidate
  • perceived personal fit with the current team
  • specific domain expertise of candidate and how it would complement current capabilities 

However, if a consulting firm has a situation where a lot of candidates are stellar, they are more likely to extend offers to all of them rather than stick to a monthly quota or so - since the hiring goals are typically on an annual basis. At the same token, it could happen that a firm doesn't extend any offer after the final round if none of the candidates was really convincing.

Best

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Pedro
Expert
replied on May 27, 2024
Bain | Roland Berger | EY-Parthenon | Mentoring Approach | 30% off first 10 sessions in May| Market Sizing | DARDEN MBA

Quite simple. First, consider that not all candidates accept the offer. The partner decides on whether she wants to extend multiple offers and how many, and to whom :)

Now more seriously, lot's of options there:

  • Extend more offers
  • Extend offers with differing starting dates
  • Consider that not everyone accepts an offer (i.e. extend more offers)
  • Suggest another interview round
  • Consider other aspects, such as CV, CL, and how motivated they were (including their personal motivation during the interview)
  • Consider which one(s) have the profile that will better balance the current team and project pipeline. In other words, you want to make sure that your team has people with different skills and “spikes”

By the way, does it matter? How will this (or any other) answer change your preparation?

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Florian
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Content Creator
replied on May 27, 2024
1300 5-star reviews across platforms | 500+ offers | Highest-rated case book on Amazon | Uni lecturer in US, Asia, EU

Hi there,

This situation would not occur in real life. :-)

On top of that, should it occur - staying in the hypothetical bubble - McKinsey is struggling to recruit enough people to pass the bar anyway (during normal times) so both would receive the offer. An offer is valid for 12 months so there is also a time-bound component to it.

Cheers,

Florian

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Alberto
Expert
Content Creator
replied on May 28, 2024
Ex-McKinsey Associate Partner | +15 years in consulting | +200 McKinsey 1st & 2nd round interviews

Hi there,

I have done over 200 interviews at McKinsey and this never was close to happen.

You can check how the recruiting process works from an internal McKinsey perspective here:

MBB Hiring Hacks - Behind the Curtain Secrets

Best,

Alberto

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Agrim
Expert
Content Creator
replied on May 27, 2024
BCG Dubai Project Leader | Learn to think like a Consultant | Free personalised prep plan | 6+ years in Consulting

Typically, final recruiting decisions are discussed at the Partner level and involve engaging with all the interviewers in the process. Hence, in cases of a tie - the parameters of taking a final call are not fixed. And having 10 people at the same score is a bit of an extreme possibility.

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Oliver
Expert
replied on May 27, 2024
Former BCG interviewer (75+ interviews for associates, consultants and MBA hires) | I will make your practice perfect

Hi,

I'm not quite sure what you're aiming for with this question. Consulting firms typically operate with annual recruiting targets rather than weekly ones. This approach allows them to hire any candidate who meets their standards without having to choose between candidates who interview on the same day.

 

Best,

Oliver

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Thomas gave the best answer

Thomas

McKinsey Manager & Recruiter | Led 150+ interviews for McK | Personally hired 15+ McK consultants | Got MBB offers
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