Mckinsey Interviewer with a timer

McKinsey
New answer on Oct 27, 2021
10 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Oct 26, 2021

Someone I know got an interviewer who actually brought a timer and said she had 1 min 30 sec to do the structuring question. I've never heard of this before. Should she mention this to the recruiter? Seems quite unfair that she gets to be the unlucky one that gets the interviewer who actually brings a timer into the room. 

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Sidi
Expert
replied on Oct 27, 2021
McKinsey Senior EM & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 300+ candidates secure MBB offers

This does not sound like a real trained McKinsey interviewer. And it’s completely idiotic if I may add, since it plays completely against what the Firm tests for in candidates.

 

However, the truth is that I have observed very questionable practices in McKinsey recruiting in the last 1 or 2 years. Amongst others, in some markets they have introduced a practice of “pre-screening“ candidates via interviews conducted by Firm Alumni who were NOT trained interviewers. Together with the practice of having very junior Consultants in their first year “coach” candidates with standard library cases in preparation of the actual interviews, I see this very critical. I have coached multiple candidates in the past who at the time of their ”coaching calls” were already MUCH stronger in case solving than the McKinsey Consultants allocated as their buddies, which then led to a lot of irritations on the candidate side…

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Florian on Oct 28, 2021

100% agree!

Moritz
Expert
updated an answer on Oct 27, 2021
ex-McKinsey Experienced Hire | official McKinsey Interview Coach & Interviewer | ESADE MBA | Master of story telling

This goes against the internal McKinsey guidelines for conducting interviews that generally aim at providing a positive experience for interviewees. 

On a personal note as a former McKinsey interviewer, I find this quite terrible because it does create additional pressure on top of what is already maximum pressure for most candidates, which any interviewer is fully aware of. 

I would actually get in touch with the recruiter and mention that you (your friend) felt quite uncomfortable. This kind of feedback will go a long way in McKinsey and if it doesn’t provide a second chance for the candidate it may prevent others from experiencing the same in the future.

(edited)

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Florian
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Content Creator
replied on Oct 27, 2021
#1 rated McKinsey Case and PEI Coach | 5 years at McKinsey | Mentorship Approach | 520+ McK interviews in 2021

Hey there,

This is very strange and basically goes against McK interview guidelines. I'd definitely reach out to the recruiter and discuss the situation.

Unfortunately, every now and then there are certain interviewer issues, even at McK. I once had one of my candidates complain due to a similar issue and he got a new interview out of it, then progressed to get the offer. HR is usually understanding in such cases.

Fingers crossed for your friend!

Cheers,

Florian

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Pedro
CoachingPlus Expert
updated an answer on Oct 27, 2021
# 1 Rated Bain Coach | EY-Parthenon | Roland Berger | FIT | Former Head Recruiter | Principal

While the whole situation is a bit ridiculous, having interviewers time the candidates (in a non-obvious way) is not unheard of. Quite common, actually.

One thing is being upfront about the expectation. Another one is to put extra pressure on the candidate (quite unrealistic and even unprofessional in my point of view, because this wouldn't happen in a real meeting with a client, or team meeting whatsoever). I personally don't like it, and don't think this is a good practice (does not lead to a good interview experience, which is one of the recruiting policies), but I doubt someone could successfully argue with HR that this had put in jeopardy the interview and get a second chance.

You are expected to be able to deal with different types and levels of stress. So be prepared for everything, keep your calm and poise.

But curious to hear what other coaches have to say.

(edited)

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Moritz on Oct 26, 2021

This goes against the internal McKinsey guidelines for conducting interviews that generally aim at providing a positive experiences for interviewees. On a personal note, I find this quite terrible because it does create additional pressure on top of what is already maximum pressure for most candidates, which the interviewer is fully aware of. I would actually get in touch with the recruiter and mention that you (your friend) felt quite uncomfortable. This kind of feedback will go a long way in McKinsey and if it doesn’t provide a second chance for the candidate it may prevent others from experiencing the same in the future.

(edited)

Pedro on Oct 26, 2021

I doubt one can get a second chance from this, but 100% agree with your comment.

Florian on Oct 27, 2021

Agree with Moritz here (also check my answer on that). They should get a second chance. I have a similar case with one of my coachees (not due to timing but due to rushing the interview while being in a taxi) and they indeed got another interview.

Hagen
Expert
replied on Oct 27, 2021
Bain & Company Project Leader | 200+ interviews conducted | 5+ years of coaching and mentoring

Hi there,

First of all, I am sorry to hear about the experience of your acquaintance!

This is indeed an interesting question which is probably relevant for quite a lot of users, so I am happy to provide my perspective on it:

  • First of all, this type of behavior from the interviewer seems highly odd and might very well go against internal interviewing guidelines. Moreover, there is no reason to put candidates under additional stress by timing the initial structure that shortly.
  • Still, I would advise her to wait for the first round results. In case she will be rejected, she should definitely speak up about this odd behavior. In case she will be passed on, I would advise her to not mention it (for the moment) as she would not do herself a favor and come off as a trouble maker even before the start.

In case you/ she want a more detailed discussion on how to best proceed in this specific situation, please feel free to contact me directly.

I hope this helps,

Hagen

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Francesco
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Content Creator
replied on Oct 27, 2021
#1 Coach for Sessions (3.700+) | 1.300+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (www.case.tools/results) | Ex BCG | 8Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

This is quite rare at McKinsey as they tend not to have stress interviews.

If your friend doesn’t pass the round, she may want to provide feedback on this. However, stress interviews / time constraints on questions are definitely possible in MBB interviews and you should be ready to deal with them (speaking from experience as I got one in my final with BCG).

Best,

Francesco

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Agrim
CoachingPlus Expert
replied on Oct 27, 2021
Top CoachingPlus Expert | 100% personalised | BCG Dubai PL | 2021 Real MBB Cases | Case/PEI/Fit/CV | 6+ years Consulting

It is unfortunate to have been on the receiving end of such an experience. It is not expected from an MBB-class firm.

Eventually, an interview is an interview. Their game, their rules. And ultimately life is indeed unfair.

Having said that, reaching out to HR in such circumstances is advised. Explain to them the strenuous nature of the interview and the unfair practice that was employed.

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Udayan
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Oct 27, 2021
Top rated MBB coach with many offers /Ex McKinsey EM in New York /6 years McKinsey recruiting experience/Real cases

That is the exact opposite of what McKinsey interviewers are trained to do. It is hard to do anything about it after the interview but she can always raise it with HR. The reality is HR will not really do much about it if she is rejected.

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Ian
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Content Creator
replied on Oct 27, 2021
BCG | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

First, this is definitely unorthodox and she should mention this to the recruiter (if they don't move her to the next round). There's no downside to mentioning it and the upside is she might get another shot.

That said, try to be careful with “unfair”. Every case and interviewer is different so fairness is really hard to measure! As a candidate you well and truly have to be prepared for anything to happen!

 Furthermore, she does need to get used to things not going as planned - the job is going to throw all kinds of curveballs at her (a timer in an interview is nothing compared to high level execs yelling at you) so she does need to learn how to be a lot more flexible/adaptable in the face of the unexpected!

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Clara
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Oct 27, 2021
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

That sounds extremely weird, and not at all like McKinsey. Are you saying this happened to you?

Usually they are quite flexible. 

 

Cheers, 

Clara

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Sidi gave the best answer

Sidi

McKinsey Senior EM & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 300+ candidates secure MBB offers
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