Ex-Mckinsey, current strategy guy at Google.
Book a coaching

"What other firms are you applying for?" question

Anonymous A

Hi everyone!

I would appreciate it if you could help me with the following questions that are often asked during the interview process. Let's assume one is applying to 6 firms. The questions are:

  1. What other firms are you applying for?
  2. Where are you in the process at each of them?

How would you answer them?

Also, what would an appropriate answer to those questions be if one gets a rejection from 3 firms and still has 3 to go? And in case one gets rejected from 5 and this current firm is the last that a person is applying to?

Thank you very much for your answers!

Hemant
Expert
replied on July 30, 2016
Ex-Mckinsey, current strategy guy at Google.

Everyone wants the one person that everyone else wants. It's as true for business as it's for things like dating - and for good reason too: there is wisdom in the masses! :-)

1. Tell them which ones you are interested in (stick to top2-3)

2. Tell them how far you are in each (skip the ones you've been rejected for from #1, or just leave it at "finished R2 interviews with X").

If you have only got rejections so far, be up-front about it - tell them you were under-prepared and have now put in the time and effort to put your best foot forward, and that you have interviews lined up with X or Y in the coming days (unless you don't, in which case, tell them you plan to apply to X or Y as well but want to focus your energies on this current one for now).

Good luck!

Achyut replied on July 17, 2016

The first rule of thumb is - don't lie, especially about things that can be easily verified. Consulting is a close-knit industry and people at different firms are often friends who talk frequently to each other. Getting caught in a lie is THE surefire way to ruin your chances with a firm.

On to the possible responses, my advice is

1. Be professional and give as much information is needed: You could say something like, I have applied to "Firm X, Y etc., and I am currently between rounds at each of them". This answers the question while not divulging too many details.

2. If you're probed further (which is unlikely) and diplomatic equivocacy is not working, I would still stick to honest responses instead of telling a lie. However, such pointed questions are not very common, in my experience.

3. The interviewers are human and will of course understand your desire to apply to have backups. You should definitely have a prepared answer for why you would choose their firm over the others.

All the best!

Related BootCamp article(s)

Getting Up to Speed

In order to repeatedly demonstrate prerequisite skills under the pressure of a real case interview, you need to learn the basics and practice cases.

2 Comment(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

3 Comment(s)

Related case(s)

Bain Questions

Solved 10.9k times | 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 s ... Open whole case

McKinsey Questions

Solved 10.5k times | Rating: (4.6 / 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 ... Open whole case

BCG Questions

Solved 9.0k times | 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 ... Open whole case

Unusual Questions

Solved 5.9k times | Rating: (4.6 / 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

The Top 5 Questions

Solved 5.4k times | 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