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What do I do if don't know wether an interview is candidate or interviewer led?

approaching a case candidate-led Candidate-led interviews Candidate-led or Interviewer-led? interviewer led Interviewer-led
New answer on Oct 10, 2023
10 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Oct 08, 2023

I'll be interviewing with a relatively new in-house consultancy and due to that I don't know if their cases are candidate or interviewer led. One interviewer is ex BCG and the other is ex McK so I can't really deduce anything from that. How do I approach the interview?
Do I just ask upfront? Or do I start like I would in a candidate led interview and if they start leading me just assume it's interviewer led?

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Ian
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replied on Oct 09, 2023
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi there,

Always be ready for candidate-led.

Essentially go in expecting candidate-led. Try to drive the case forward. If they decide to prompt you and guide you, then let it happen.

Think about it like riding a bike. Candidate-led is riding a bike without training wheels. Interviewer-led is with training wheels (but they push you fast down a hill and throw rocks at you).

Train yourself in candidate-led. If you can do candidate-led, you can do interviewer-led!

Here's some reading to help with that: https://www.preplounge.com/en/articles/candidate-led-cases-what-to-expect-and-example-cases

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Raj
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replied on Oct 09, 2023
FREE 15MIN CONSULTATION | #1 Strategy& / OW coach | >70 5* reviews |90% offers ⇨ prep-success.super.site | MENA, DE, UK

Best thing is to ask them upfront, and prepare for the hardest scenario i.e. candidate led

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Cristian
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replied on Oct 09, 2023
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

Hi there!

That's a great question. 

The best thing you can do is ask HR upfront. 

The second best thing you can do is to ask during the interview right at the start of the case. 

The third best thing you can do is to assume it's candidate-led. This way you're going to be more hypothesis driven and leading the case even if the interviewer will then jump in more often to switch direction. 

Best,
Cristian

———————————————

Practicing for interviews? Check out my latest case based on a first-round MBB interview >>> SoyTechnologies  

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Pedro
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replied on Oct 09, 2023
Bain | Roland Berger | EY-Parthenon | Mentoring Approach | 30% off first 10 sessions in May| Market Sizing | DARDEN MBA

In your preparation assume it is candidate led.

During the interview, it's very easy to understand. If the interviewer is leading… they will lead. If they are not leading, they'll leave the room for you.

By the way, I've had interviews at Bain being interviewer led, for example. They would stop at certain points and move on to another question at their will, and not necessarily wait for the candidate to raise the question.

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Frederic
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replied on Oct 09, 2023
ex Jr. Partner McKinsey |Senior Interviewer| Real Feedback & Free Homework between sessions|Harvard Coach|10+ Experience

Hey there,

first ask HR and if no response expect candidate-led (slightly more difficult), you will quickly notice if it is not candidate-led then you will just go with the flow. Best of luck! Frederic 

 

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Alberto
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replied on Oct 09, 2023
Ex-McKinsey Associate Partner | +15 years in consulting | +200 McKinsey 1st & 2nd round interviews

Hi there,

Congrats for your interview! To your question, I suggest three things:

  1. Be ready for both type of interviews! At the end of the day, you need to demonstrate you have certain skills (leadership, entrepreneurship, teamwork, etc.) sharing a story or during a conversation so the underlying preparation to select stories / examples is pretty much the same.
  2. Ask you recruiting contact upfront on any format or specific preparation for the interview process to set up expectations.
  3. Be relaxed and flexible during the interview. Let interviewers guide you through their preferences and adapt accordingly. The last thing you want to see as interviewer is a candidate to rigid or not adapting to what you are asking.

Good luck with the interviews!

Alberto

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Francesco
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replied on Oct 10, 2023
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ interviewoffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

1) One interviewer is ex BCG and the other is ex McK so I can't really deduce anything from that. How do I approach the interview?

I would recommend being prepared for candidate-led interviews, as this should help you to be ready for both scenarios.

In general, if you are prepared for a candidate-led interview you should not have issues adapting to an interviewer-led one - you can just follow the direction of the interviewer.

The opposite is not necessarily true. If you only know how to navigate interviewer-led cases, you may have issues driving a case in a candidate-led case.

2) Do I just ask upfront? Or do I start like I would in a candidate led interview and if they start leading me just assume it's interviewer led?

No need to ask, just assume it will be candidate-led and follow the direction of the interviewer if you see they are leading the case.

Good luck!

Francesco

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Nikita
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replied on Oct 09, 2023
MBB & Tier2 preparation | 85+ offers | 7 years coaching | 2000+ sessions | PDF reviews attached

Hey,

Actually, many case interviews will be a mixture of a candidate and an interview led formats. Though the rule of thumb is to always lead the analysis, unless you are told otherwise. Paying attention to the interviewer's cues is also very important.

Regards,
Nick

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Dennis
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replied on Oct 09, 2023
Ex-Roland Berger|Project Manager and Recruiter|7+ years of consulting experience in USA and Europe

Hi,

if you prepare for candidate-led, you'll easily be able to adjust to interviewer-led. The other way around is much harder. My former company actually used both types of formats, depending on the case.

Best of luck

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Benjamin
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replied on Oct 09, 2023
Ex-BCG Principal | 8+ years consulting experience in SEA | BCG top interviewer & top performer

Hi,

It's a legitimate question but one that I think is not worth stressing out over. Sharing my experiences also having sat for corporate interviews:

  • The interview is meant to be a conversation / interactive session between you and the interviewer
  • While there is a difference between ‘candidate-led’ and ‘interviewer-led', corporate strategy interviews are typically less rigid and ‘strict’ when it comes to the format
  • At the end of the day, corp strat teams are looking for certain skills/abilities which you have developed as a consultant
  • Thus, I would approach the interview with the goal of demonstrating these skills, rather than the mindset of ‘answering the interview according to a format’
    • This effectively means you need to be able to articulate your thinking and drive through the case independently whether you are prompted by the interviewer or not
  • Don't stress out over the format and be flexible. I sat for interviews where at times the interviewer was very explicit in the questions and direction but at other times let me drive it myself. But most important is to always maintain
    • MECE
    • Logic
    • Business judgment
    • 80/20

All the best!

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Ian gave the best answer

Ian

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