Weight of recommendation after Screening

interviewday Referral referrals
New answer on Feb 28, 2021
6 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Jul 24, 2019

It seems to me that the general opinion here is that there is little to none weight for the decisions an interviewer does for candidates during the interview day. If I understood it correctly, if you get referred by e.g. a senior partner, chances are very high to get the chance of being invited to an interview. However, after that you are on your own? (Of course, this likely depends on the weight that the referring consultant puts on his recommendation.)

However, it seems very strange to me that applications by candidates with a strong recommendation from e.g. a senior partner are regarded the same as any other candidate after the screening. If I was a consultant or EM interviewing a candidate that was referred by my senior partner, it seems very clear to me that I would most likely not dare to reject this candidate.

Really looking forward to hearing your thoughts and of your knowledge on that matter!


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Content Creator
replied on Jul 24, 2019
5+ Years at BCG & Kearney Dubai & Istanbul | 400+ Trainees | Free 15-min Consultation Call


What you mentioned is something we observe for internship positions (sometimes candidates are hired even without an interview). However, standards are much higher for full-time positions, thus the playing field is level for all candidates.



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Content Creator
replied on Feb 28, 2021
Ex-Mckinsey|Certified Career Coach |Placed 500+ candidates at MBB & other consultancies

Hi there,

A referral can be a great instrument that helps you secure an interview invite.

However, it is not a 100% guarantee that you eventually get an offer because some points and effort must be given from your side as well.

The question is: How much do you really want to get the job? Of course, it is better to provide yourself with a referral for the targeted firm. Otherwise, you can not even get invited.

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replied on Sep 03, 2020
Ex-McKinsey final round interviewer | Executive Coach

I can only speak for McKinsey where the selection process is kept as objective and fact-based as possible. During the decision meeting, where candidates are discussed post-interview, the interviewers share concrete examples and often challenged with their rating/hiring proposal. Considering the number of interviews that a candidate goes through before an offer is extended, if the candidate is not meeting the bar it becomes obvious!

It's also worth pointing out that, McKinsey, as well as many other management consultancies, are partnerships where it is not about the opinion and decision of a single partner (or senior partner) and evaluation (even for senior partners) is far more meritocratic than political. It's also worth noting that typically a candidate would be interviewed by at least one partner or senior partner who would be a peer to the referrer as well.

I personally have interviewed a candidate referred by who was then the former Global Managing Director. There was a post-it on the CV by the recruiter but not once was this mentioned during the interview or final decision meeting.

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Anonymous replied on Sep 02, 2020

Dear A,

Yes, referral may help you to secure your interview and skip the general CV screening. But you have to crack the interview)



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Anonymous replied on Jul 24, 2019

What you observed is correct. Recommendation can get you an interview, but once you get into the interview round, everything comes down to your interview performance. I've seen people who were invited to private group dinners with partners got rejected at the end, and people who had no close connection with anyone in the firms getting offers.

So again, for normal people, it's pretty much pure "meritocracy" - your interview performance determines the result.

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replied on Jul 24, 2019
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


The information about the referral is not forwarded to the interviewers so the referral will not help. However, if you are in a good relationship with the senior partner you'd better ask him how he could help since he knows it better than anyone here:)


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Deniz gave the best answer


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