Expert with best answer


100% Recommendation Rate

2,243 Meetings

2,427 Q&A Upvotes

USD 319 / Coaching

Story/Not story in Personal Fit Interview

Anonymous A asked on Jan 18, 2019

Hi everyone,

I'm wondering if in personal experience interview, interviewee has to answer each question with a personal story relative to his/her background. Because sometimes questions explicitly ask you to tell about a story (e.g. "Tell me about a recent positive team experience" , "Tell me when you failed in something", "describe a time you disagreed with your supervisor" and so on), on the other hand, sometimes, questions do not explicitly ask for a story and, according to me, you can answer "theoretically speaking" and so without an example of true life (e.g. "How competitive are you?", "What do you believe is your greatest strength", "How would you describe your learning ability")

Am I right? Or I would better off by adding a short story of my life for each question (even those where it is not explicitly required)?

Thank you a lot

3 answers

  • Upvotes
  • Date ascending
  • Date descending
Best Answer
Francesco replied on Jan 20, 2019
#1 Expert for Coaching Sessions (2.200+) | 1.000+ Reviews with 100% Recommendation Rate | Ex BCG | 6 Years Coaching Experience
Book a coaching with Francesco

100% Recommendation Rate

2,243 Meetings

2,427 Q&A Upvotes

USD 319 / Coaching

Hi Anonymous,

as mentioned by Sidi, I would try to add a short story/example for each story, since this will help the interview to visualize the skill and remember you.

Everyone can say that their greatest strength is not giving up on challenges, but if you can relate that to your own experience where, for example, you did not quit on your startup/project although went almost bankrupt 4 times and had to rebuild your team from scratch when everybody left, and finally succeeded, you will be a lot more memorable for the interviewer.

Being too theoretical in answers is one of the most common mistakes people do in the behavioural part, and adding a short story is a simple but powerful way to avoid such a mistake.

Hope this helps,


replied on Jan 18, 2019
McKinsey Engagement Manager & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 90+ candidates secure MBB offers
Book a coaching with Sidi

100% Recommendation Rate

281 Meetings

1,709 Q&A Upvotes

USD 319 / Coaching

Hi Anonymous!

McKinsey is the only of the three MBB firms where stories are explicitly requested. BCG and Bain lean more towards "classical" fit questions ("What do you bielve are your development areas?"). However, also in these classical questions, it is usually very powerful to illustrate your answer (or part of your answer, if you have several points) with a short (!) example/story from your past experience. Always remember - the interview is meant to be a conversation! So try to illustrate your points as vividly nad engaging as possible.

Cheers, Sidi

Vlad replied on Jan 18, 2019
McKinsey / Accenture / Got all BIG3 offers / More than 300 real MBB cases / Harvard Business School
Book a coaching with Vlad

97% Recommendation Rate

344 Meetings

4,560 Q&A Upvotes

USD 319 / Coaching


Fully agree with Sidi. You should trust your gut and listen to the interviewer. If he has a conversational manner of asking a lot of questions - then yes, shorter answers appropriate (again, the story is always powerful). For some questions - like "your 3 strengths" it's hard to come up with a story at all, just the short examples.

But you should assume to tell at least one long story during your interview.


Related BootCamp article(s)

Personal Fit

Besides being great at case cracking you also need to convince the interviewer that your personality fits into a case team or in the company as a whole

Related case(s)

McKinsey Questions

Solved 30.7k times
4.5 5 827
| Rating: (4.5 / 5.0) |
Difficulty: Intermediate | Style: Fit interview | Topics: Personal fit

Tell me of a situation where you had an opinion and no one seemed to agree with you. What was your goal when you decided to join university / work / clubs / a sports team? Did you have a goal that you were not able to reach? What did you do? What do you want to be remembered for and how are you a ... Open whole case

BCG Questions

Solved 20.4k times
4.5 5 176
| Rating: (4.5 / 5.0) |
Difficulty: Intermediate | Style: Fit interview | Topics: Personal fit

What arouses your interest when you are working / studying / doing another activity (from the CV)? Tell me of a time where you had no idea what you were doing. When did you use an uncommon approach to do something? Have you ever had responsibility for other people? Tell me of a situation where y ... Open whole case

Bain Questions

Solved 20.2k times
4.6 5 244
| Rating: (4.6 / 5.0) |
Difficulty: Intermediate | Style: Fit interview | Topics: Personal fit

Tell me about a difficult situation you had to cope with. Tell me of a task which you didn’t like doing and explain why you performed it nevertheless. Why do you do things? What do you like doing most / What is your favorite hobby? Walk me through a situation where you showed leadership skills. Open whole case

The Top 5 Questions

Solved 10.5k times
4.6 5 168
| Rating: (4.6 / 5.0) |
Difficulty: Intermediate | Style: Fit interview | Topics: Personal fit

Questions Tell me something about your background. Why should we hire you? Describe a difficult situation and how you handled it? What did your boss or colleagues criticize about you? Do you rather work in a team or independently? Open whole case

Unusual Questions

Solved 10.2k times
4.5 5 144
| Rating: (4.5 / 5.0) |
Difficulty: Advanced | Style: Fit interview | Topics: Personal fit

What books/films have you enjoyed recently and why? What is the worst thing that you have ever gotten away with? How do you define and evaluate successful work? Do you fear anything? How would you rate me as your interviewer? Open whole case