Repeating Fit Interview Stories

Anonymous A asked on Oct 10, 2017 - 9 answers

During the Fit interview do all the MBB interviewers cross check with each other to form a complete picture of the candidate and is it considered bad if I use the same story in multiple interviews?

I have a great Fit story which I can deliver in multiple ways. I can use it to either cover off a number of key areas of fit (leadership, team work, personal impact, dealing with difficult counterparties) or I can tailor it to address specific fit topics if that is what the interviewer wants.

Is it a problem if I use this one example in multiple interviews, just teasing out what is relevant to the question?

Also, are the interviews coordinated amongst the interviewers such that after all interviews they circle back with each other to get a complete picture of fit that covers all the dimensions of fit? Alternatively, will I ever get two interviewers asking about a leadership example? If yes, is it advisable to repeat the story or do I need another story?

Thanks

(edited)

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Anonymous replied on Oct 10, 2017

There are several great questions questions in this post. Let’s start with establishing what interviewers are given before the interview, what overlaps exists between interviews and what interviewers discuss after the interviews are completed.

Before the interview, interviewers:

  • Receive your resume and any notes from the resume screeners
  • Receive any feedback from recruiters from on/off campus interactions (e.g., firm presentations, case preparation sessions)
  • Choose a case from the active case library that unique from the other interviewers they are paired with for the day to avoid “case overlap”
  • Are rarely assigned a “fit interview” question, but rather choose their own. They may, however, be assigned a “fit interview area” (e.g., leadership, drive/achieving, etc..) to probe

Overlaps that may exist

  • Background walk through
  • Why consulting
  • Why MBB
  • Fit question

After the interview, interviewers:

  • Make the “case for” and make the “case against” (different interviewers do each)
  • Discuss each portion of the candidate’s interview. So, stories told multiple times will get a reaction like, “Yeah, she told me that story too. It was interesting but…”
  • Come to a consensus agreement whether to extend an offer to the candidate.

So, to answer your specific questions:

“Also, are the interviews coordinated amongst the interviewers such that after all interviews they circle back with each other to get a complete picture of fit that covers all the dimensions of fit?”
Yes, there is an in-person meeting with all interviewers to discuss the candidate and compare interviewer notes.

Alternatively, will I ever get two interviewers asking about a leadership example?
Yes, it’s definitely possible.

If yes, is it advisable to repeat the story or do I need another story?
Do NOT repeat the same exact story. If you have a way of telling the same story with an entirely different spin, then that’s fine. But, it needs to have a 180-degree spin on it.

NOTE: The degree of discussion and comparision after the interviewers is probably 5x more during final rounds versus first rounds.

Vlad
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replied on Oct 10, 2017
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Hi!

If you have time I would recommend to have 1-2 backup stories per question for the following reasons:

  1. "This story does not fit. Do you have another story?" - an interviewer can easily say something like this if he is not convinced that your story is good enough or the story does not fit his criteria for some reason.
  2. It is essential for you to prepare at least three stories for each area so that in case you get the same question by a couple of interviewers you are not telling the same story. I personally had 3 interviewers asking me exactly the same story. Originally the three of your interviewers are supposed to ask the different questions. In reality, interviewers don't often have a chance to meet before the interview, and sometimes they are urgently replaced by the colleagues. Of course, you can use the same story, but it is much better to demonstrate a diverse experience.
  3. Finally, the interviewer may ask you the questions you didn't even expect. It's always good to have some backup stories and adapt them to answer those unexpected questions.

Good luck!

Sidi
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updated his answer on Mar 19, 2018
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You should definitely provide a different example!

If an interviewer in Round 2 asks a similar "experience question" as in Round 1, chances are that they were not entirely satisfied with the example you provided earlier and want to probe deeper on one or two sub-aspects.

So what I am usually working out with my coachees are different examples per topic that might be under scrutiny during the fit/experience part of the interview.

Cheers, Sidi

(edited)

Francesco
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replied on Oct 10, 2017
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Hi Anonymous,

Matthew gave a great overview of the sharing process inside the firm; in terms of your main question, I would suggest to use different stories for each question, as you may lose points repeating them, in particular if the question is exactly the same.

If the fit story you are mentioning can be divided in non-overlapping parts, so that it sounds like two different stories, then that’s something you could use; however, it would probably be simpler to use a different example, as it would be difficult to avoid any overlap. As a rule of thumb, you can consider whether it would be appropriate to use a specific answer assuming the interviewer is always the same person in the various interviews, as, given they will share the information, that would be a comparable situation.

Best,

Francesco

Robert
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replied on Apr 28, 2018
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Hi there!

In principle - i.e. if you have the opportunity to do so - it's definitely better to use different, non-overlapping examples. By using different examples you also implicitly communicate to the interviewers that you have a range of experience under you belt from which you can choose from, instead of needing to stick to 1 single underlying situation.

That being said - quality always comes first. If you feel that this one underlying situation makes a clearly superior example compared to all other options you have for a certain PEI dimension, than I would still recommend using the same underlying situation with a different focus for the respective PEI dimension.

In respect to "re-using" examples across different interview rounds, you can find a detailed blog post on my McKinsey PEI Blog (http://mckinsey-pei-blog.consulting-case-interviews.com/can-i-use-the-same-pei-example-in-different-interviews/)

Hope that helps!

Anonymous replied on Mar 19, 2018

Hey anonymous,

Definitely do not repeat stories between different rounds of interviews (or even within the same round), regardless of the time elapsed between them! Interviewers share feedback, and they will for sure notice that.

Best

Bruno

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