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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

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Francesco replied on Jan 20, 2019
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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,

Francesco

Sidi
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replied on Jan 18, 2019
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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
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Hi,

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.

Best

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