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Should I bring a list of questions to an interview?

Anonymous A

Any advice on bringing questions to an interview?

Especially when having been fully engaged in cases (for several hours possibly), I tend to forget some of the questions I meant to ask during/after the interviews. Does it come across as if I would not be able to remember several question if I bring a written list of questions to an interview or would this generally be considered fine to do?

referring to questions about the company

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Benjamin
Expert
replied on 06/04/2018
Manager at A.T. Kearney - Got Big 3 offers - I'll help you to structure your cases perfectly

Hi Anonymous,

it's true that case studies can be exhausting and you may not really remember what questions you wanted to ask.
In general I would distinguish two types of questions and associated way to proceed :

- Priority to direct questions to your interviewer : he is an human being after all and will of course appreciate if you ask relevant questions about his profile and experience as a consultant / and or transition from a previous experience he could mention. In this case no need to wirte your questions in advance, you need to be spontaneous, and if you think you may forget it, just write down you question live when he is introducing himself at the opening of the interviws
- General questions about the firm / your integration : this would typically be general question that you could get answered on the website or discussing in off conversation with the HR / a consultant you may have contacted. If you have very specific unanwered question you may write it down to make sure not to forget it

In general I would always recommand to act like and normal conversation and show sincere interest. This will always create a better connection with your interviews, than a pre-printed list.


Best

Benjamin

Andrea
Expert
replied on 06/02/2018
Former BCG decision round interviewer with 300+ real interviews in 8 years at BCG

While I understand where you are coming from, I always found it odd and quirky when candidates flipped the pages of their notebook to find their list of questions. I would definitely write them down, it will help you memorize them, but would suggest against referring to the list in front of the interviewer as you would come across as prepared but unable to have a “natural” conversation.

hope it helps,

andrea

Alessandro
Expert
replied on 06/01/2018
***30% off first case, 10% off second case*** Bain & Company London | University of Cambridge | CV/Resume writing | 770 GMAT

I would not recommend bringing a written list of questions

You should aim as much as possible to ask personalised questions to your interviewers, not generic questions about the firm/office. For example, if the interviewer bio (if provided) says the interviewer did an externship somewhere, ask them about that.

Treat this as a time to really get to know the people who work at the firm. Your interviewer won't be excited after 6-10 hours of interviews in a day to answer your questions about the office/company - people are much more likely to get excited about talking about themselves.

Only ask a question about the firm if it is really something you want to know and cannot find an answer online/by speaking to people at other events/etc. It will actually reflect poorly on you if you ask a series of questions that could have been answered by looking at the company's website / a google search. If it is something you really want to know the answer to, you shouldn't have to write it down to remember what it is (to your point about forgetting questions)

Finally, you are not being assessed on what/how many questions you ask. An interviewer would much prefer a few questions that relate to them personally than a list of pre-prepared questions.

Don't stress about this - there are much more important things you should be thinking about before your interviews than the questions at the end!

Vlad replied on 06/01/2018
McKinsey / Accenture / Got all BIG3 offers / More than 300 real MBB cases / Harvard Business School

Hi,

Taking into account that you will ask no more than 3 questions per interview, and some question will be the same for each interviewer, it is ±7 questions in total. These questions are not that hard to remember and the interviewer might be surprised if you come with a list. I would try to memorize them.

Best

Nils replied on 06/01/2018

As a recruiter, I would rate the contribution of a sheet of questions positively. It shows that you prepared yourself for the interview and studied the company closely. That you can forget a few questions after a few hours at cases is also understandable for recruiter. If the questions are important to you and go beyond simple standard questions, then I would take a note.

Francesco replied on 06/02/2018
Ex BCG | MBB Specialist | #1 Expert for coaching sessions (1400+) with 100% recommendation rate

Hi Anonymous,

I would suggest writing your questions as a backup but memorizing them and not showing the page to the interviewer, unless you go completely blank. That’s because:

  • It is better to ask questions as in a normal conversation, and not reading a predefined list, but
  • It is better to ask questions reading them from a list, rather than don’t ask questions at all due to the fact you forgot /got too nervous.

In general, knowing you have a backup should help to be less nervous and thus able to remember the questions more easily.

Hope this helps,

Francesco

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