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"spike" in CV - Mckisney

CV CV screening McKinsey
New answer on Aug 04, 2020
6 Answers
7.4 k Views
Anonymous A asked on Aug 01, 2020


I was rejected by Mckinsey after the first round of interviews, the main reason was: we do not see a "spike" in your CV. What is exactly a "spike"? When they do not see a "spike" then why they invite me for an interview?
On average, what percentage of the invited get an offer? 20%?


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Content Creator
replied on Aug 02, 2020
McKinsey offers w/o final round interviews - 100% risk-free - 10+ years MBB coaching experience - Multiple book author

Hi Anonymous,

Indeed it's an uncommon situation that your feedbacker after (!) interviews was referring to your CV. Usually, once you are invited to interviews, your application documents don't matter any more, so I am a bit surprised by this feedback.

When trying to make sense of it, it sounds to me more that McKinsey was probably referring to your PEI stories, which are obviously connected to your CV since you present examples of your past experience.

When they say "spike" it means something extraordinary. At least one thing which makes you stand out from the rest of candidates. Or in other words: your performance might be have been solid, but still not extraordinary and thus not enough to issue an offer.

Hope that helps - if so, please be so kind to give it a thumbs-up with the green upvote button below!


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replied on Aug 03, 2020
3+ years McKinsey consulting experience|Strategy @ Coursera |Oxford MBA

Hi A,

I would say a spike is something the interviewers will remember you by: what is your story? What do you care about? It's best if don't just say I'm passionate about xyz, but you can back it up with past experience (internships, extracurriculars, research etc).

A spike can also mean that you excel in one of the skill areas that McK is looking for (leadership, problem solving, entrepreneurship etc). Again, try to back it up with past experiences and round it out in your CV & cover letter and during the FIT part of the interview.

Even if they don't see a "spike" in your CV, they might want to give you a chance to get to know you better during the FIT interview - that's another chance for you to demonstrate your interests, passions and skills.

If you feel that you already have a strong story, work on communicating it more effectively. If you are not sure yet, gain more experience, do self-reflection and apply again in 1-2 years. Next time focus more on the FIT part of the interview.

Best regards,


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replied on Aug 01, 2020
McKinsey Senior EM & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 350+ candidates secure MBB offers


This is typical McKinsey vocabulary. Showing a "spike" means to show a clear point of strength whoich is outstanding compared to others. It is your core USP as a candidate so to speak.

Thait being siad - it is quite strange that you got this feedback AFTER being interviewed. Ususally interviews at McKinsey are explicitly NOT meant to scrutinize the CV (this is the job of the recruiting persons). Are you sure they eman your CV, and not your performance during the interviews?

Cheers, Sidi

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Anonymous A on Aug 01, 2020

I guess, I had to sell myself/CV better :), can you give some examples of "spikes"?

Anonymous B replied on Aug 02, 2020

Are you sure?

When McK say "spike" - they are referring to an above average performance in at least one of the aspects you are tested on in the case interview example structuring or creativity

I have never heard of candidates being rejected after an interview due to their CV. Having interviewed 100+ candidates - I feel you may have misunderstood their feedback

Only about 10% of first round interview candidates go through but pass rate for final round interviews is around 50%


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Content Creator
replied on Aug 04, 2020
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi there,

I think this is most definitely referring to the way in which you sold yourself during the interview.

It sounds like it's less about a "spike" (or powerful/big experience) in your CV, and more that you did not do an adequate job in bringing this out during the PEI.

If/when you interview again, make sure you practice better for the PEI and craft more compelling stories!

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Anonymous replied on Aug 03, 2020

Dear A,

I cannot comment your question about "spike" without seeing your profile.

Regarding the offer rate, it's probably 10-20% for those people who are invited. So for example, in Germany McKinsey get appr. 12K of applications per year, and they used to have 200 jobs roughly. So, you can now calculate on your own what is the hit rate for McKinsey for applicants to actually get their offers.

Over the last years the intake was increase up to 600-700 people, but I think as for this year, the intake will be significantly decreased to 30-40% of the previous year.

If you need further insight regarding McKinsey or any further interviews with other firms, drop me a message and I'm happy to share my experience with you.



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Robert gave the best answer


Content Creator
McKinsey offers w/o final round interviews - 100% risk-free - 10+ years MBB coaching experience - Multiple book author
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