Skype Interview with Consulting firm - is it ever a good idea not to meet f2f?

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New answer on Aug 14, 2020
11 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Feb 20, 2018

Hi all!

I am looking to do a career switch and go into mgmt consulting. I just recently got an invite to interview for a senior consultancy position in Europe with a consulting firm. While most candidates will be coming in person to the testing site for the first round of interviews, because I live oversees they said they do not pay for transatlantic flights. However, they did say that if I was planning to be in the country sometime this year, they would be able to fly me in from whatever city in the country to the testing center (it appears as though there is no real rush/cut off time to do the interview). Otherwise, I'd have to do it over video on Skype. While I agreed to the Skype interview mid March as I wasn't planning to go to Europe any time soon, I now wonder if it would be smarter to suggest a later date (maybe 2 weeks later) but actually be in country and come in person. This would be on purpose for the interview, but I wouldn't mine combining it with a personal vacation.

Two questions:

1) did anyone have positive experiences with Skype interviews with consulting firms? Especially when you can expect at least 2 case studies?

2) would changing my mind and letting them know that I actually will be in country a few weeks later than the discussed Skype dates be perceived as too eager? Or would it be in my benefit to simple go ahead and make the effort to come in person?

This is only round 1 out of potentially 2 rounds of interviews, whereby chances are high that the second round would be done remotely no matter where I live. Meaning, either they meet me in person if I come in for round 1 or we do everything virtually.

(edited)

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Andrea
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Feb 20, 2018
Former BCG Principal and decision round interviewer

Strong suggestion to try to do F2F from my side. Ok to tell them that you changed idea/had an opportunity to go to Europe and prefer to be live.

Hope it helps,

Andrea

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Originally answered question:

Video interview or pay to fly there?

Dorothea
Expert
replied on Jul 06, 2018
Ex-Oliver Wyman with 100% interview success rate - specialized in female career coaching

Hi Anonymous,

there are indeed benefits of a face-to-face interview:

  1. More natural interaction - less perceived distance, sometimes you experience technical difficulties in video / phone interviews like delays or disruptions of the video transmission
  2. Easier to get a feeling for the fit - it is not only often a bit diffifult to build a connection with your interviewer if you are solely interacting via video, it is also more difficult to figure out how well you get along with your interviewer
  3. Show strong commitment - flying there is likely to show your interviewer an increased level of commitment and how serious you are about this job

All these figures may indeed give you an advantage over candidates who have only interviewed via phone or video. However, the most important part of the interview is still how you perform on cases and during the personal fit part. If you feel secure about those things there is no real need to show up to the interview in person (and btw, if MBB would think so, they would invite you to the office). However, if you feel you get a better idea of the firm and of the people working there if you go and see the office, then go for it.

Best

Dorothea

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Gaurav
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Content Creator
replied on Feb 20, 2018
Ex-Mckinsey|Certified Career Coach |Placed 500+ candidates at MBB & other consultancies

Hi,

1. Interviewing on skype is quite acceptable and happening more and more in consulting world. If technology usage is saving the cost and time, consulting companies wouldn't mind it. I have had several candidates who have successfully performed in Skype interviews without any hassle. You just need to ensure that a. you have a strong internet connection b.quiet place to take the interview from c. you are more conscious about your communication techniques in order to be fully understood by the interviewer

2. At the same time, f2f has its advantages. a. It just shows your egerness and motivation to put in money and effort to meet the people in the firm personally. b. If you are physically in the firm, you can leverage your visit to network within the firm/network with other firms in the town c. as they say 80% of the communication happen non-verbally. And there is no doubt that non-verbal communication is more effective f2f (Vs. video chat)

In a nutshell, if you have have budget to travel, do travel and attend the interviews physically. If not, don't fuss too much. Lot of candidates have cracked interviews, performing via video chats ( I did that myself when I was staying in Paris and interviewing with BCG Sydney office). In any case, if you go through the initial rounds, the interactions with Parters will happen f2f only. That time either they will fly you in or a traveling partner will meet you.

All the best for the interviews. Feel free to get in touch with me, in case of further guidance.

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B
Expert
replied on Feb 20, 2018
NOT AVAILABLE

Hey anonymous,

If you really have the chance to do it in person (because you will be somewhere nearby and the only con is just to delay it by 2 weeks, which seems to be acceptable for both parts), I would reccommend you to delay it and do it in person, as I don't see any advantage at all on doing it over Skype when you can do it f2f (much easier to engage your interviewer and avoid the risks of bad internet connections on both sides). Besides, for the consulting firm the reason is going to be super acceptable.

That said, if you're travelling on purpose for the interview, then I would more careful in assessing the pros vs. the cons (not sure if it's only the financial cost or others).

Best

Bruno

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2
Originally answered question:

Going the extra mile?

Anonymous D replied on Apr 07, 2018

Go for it.

1. I did exactly this and I found it to be a great way to connect with the interviewers.

2. This also helps you prepare for the second round as you’ll be less nervous having seen the office etc.

3. If you are like me, most likely you have spent time and perhaps money on your prep. Adding a flight ticket and a day or two hotel cost is nothing compared to the possible return.

I wouldn’t be focused on cost savings once you have secured your spot.

Best of luck.

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Originally answered question:

Going the extra mile?

Vlad
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 06, 2018
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

I personally had a skype interview - it worked well. Although I recommend you to suggest them to plan a live interview in a couple of weeks. A Personal meeting is definitely better than online experience since you can definitely connect better with the interviewer when it is a live meeting.

Several things to consider:

  • Is it a big amount of money for you personally?
  • Are you ready to work for a company that can't pay?
  • What is the industry? In tech most of the candidates are interviewed on skype. In consulting most of the interviews will go live and you will have a weaker position having an interview online

If you still want to have an interview on skype, here are some general recommendations:

  1. First of all, check whether they are providing a conference room in a local office
  2. If not - find a place with good internet speed and test it multiple times before the interview. Also, think of nice room / proper light for the video conference if you do it from home
  3. You should be dressed the same as for the regular interview
  4. Don't hesitate to ask clarifying questions if there are problems with connection or you were not able to hear something
  5. Don't forget to look at the camera and smile - same as you do on a regular interview

Best

(edited)

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Anonymous replied on Aug 14, 2020

Hi Anonymous,

if you decide to have a skype interview, here are some pieces of advice:

1. Prepare the place for the call. A quiet environment is a must-have. Pay attention
to what the interviewer will see in the background (sometimes when I do
coaching via Skype with you I can see really strange stuff;) )
2. Prepare on the wall in front of you the material you might need (structures,
tips for a fit part, etc) so you won't have to look for it during the interview
3. Prepare your own questions. Relevant questions at the end are a great way to
show your interest in the company and get additional points. This is particularly important in a phone/video interview, as the interviewer will naturally connect less
with you.
4. Smile during the call. Even if they cannot see you it's a good way to show
energy
5. Use numbers when communicating your structure. This applies to both face-
to-face and video interviews, but it is particularly important for the video ones.
Good communication will make it easier for the interviewer to follow you since
he/she cannot see you. As an example: “In order to help our client, I would like to
focus on three main areas. First, I would like to focus on [FIRST TOPIC],
secondly on [SECOND TOPIC], finally on [THIRD TOPIC]. Let me start with the
first one."
Hope this helps and speak soon,
Best,
André

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Andrea gave the best answer

Andrea

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Former BCG Principal and decision round interviewer
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