I – INTRODUCTION TO INTRO AND CV QUESTIONS
- “Traditional” resume question aimed at gaining understanding of your:
- Background: studies, past working experiences, etc.
- Interests: usually stated in the last part of your CV, but not limited to those
- Career goals: on top of the past experience, “connect-the-dots” about where those experiences are leading you long term
- Ad-hoc questions to better understand achievements or projects laid out in the CV
What are the interviewer's goals with these questions?
Getting to know the candidate at a personal level
Assessing whether the candidate has certain qualities and soft skills that are key for consulting
Determining whether the candidate shares the company’s values
- Although usually used as an ice-breaker by McKinsey and BCG, Bain's interview can greatly incise in CV questions, sometimes even substituting behavioral questions (i.e., stories arround leadership, personal impact and entrepreneurial drive)
Which communications techniques can be leveraged?
STAR or PARADE methodologies are “different” approaches/techniques that can be leveraged to communicate stories in an effective and structured way.
*See Graph 2: STAR and PARADE methodologies.
➥ Graphs from the Integrated FIT Guide for MBB
II – COMMENTS FOR THE "INTERVIEWER" ROLE
CV questions require some knowledge of the candidate’s history. Hence, kindly ask the candidate to provide you with his/her CV. While listening to the answers, keep in mind the two major criteria you have to evaluate:
- Can I work with this candidate closely in a team every day? (Even when doing 100h/week)
- Can I send the candidate to a client alone?
Paragraphs highlighted in green indicate diagrams or tables that shall be shared in the “Case exhibits” section.
Paragraphs highlighted in blue shall be verbally communicated to the interviewee.
Paragraphs highlighted in orange indicate hints for you on how to guide the interviewee through the case.
See below, for the 3 quetions, hints for the candidate to tailor a good answer.
1. Walk me through your CV
Kindly ask the candidate to provide you with his/her CV. Get familiar with it to be able to ask clarifying and follow-up questions.
- Be structured, following when possible a temporal structure:
- Opt 1: Starting from most recent events: when your last experience is particularly relevant – normally applies to experienced hires.
- Opt 2: Starting from your education and following a chronological order: when it helps to understand your trajectory and decisions – normally applies to junior profiles with not so relevant working experience.
- Be consistent: don't mention points that are not included in the CV (e.g., long-term carreer goals, etc.)
Graduate: I recently graduated from Imperial College, where I obtained my Masters in Management Engineering, finishing in the top 3% of the class. Last summer I did an internship at P&G, taking part in an Operations engagement in the UK. Although it was a very enriching experience, it made me realize that I want to have a bigger scope and not yet focus my career on one specific industry. Hence, I am now looking for an opportunity in Strategy Consulting.
Experienced hire: After starting my career in Public Sector, I transitioned to a Fortune500 Company 5 years ago, looking for a more hands-on approach and clear scope. In my last role, I grew tremendously personally and professionally, and I realized I am passioned about people management: both with younger peers and clients. Hence, I would like to transition to Consulting to keep growing in this area, as well as achieving higher impact in meaningful projects.
2. Tell me about yourself
- Differently from a CV overview, you don't need to mention all sections in it, or do it in a time-sequence order
- By mentioning only determined milestones in the CV, you tell the interviewer what defines you, not what you have done so far
- Mention also what drives you and makes you passionate: this is the question to enrich the “facts” that are described in your CV
- If you could research your interviewer before (normally only possible in Bain) and you have points in common, try to emphasize by bringing them up (if relevant)
I have always been passionate about Strategy. Even during High School I spent my summers helping my mother with our family business, and SME focused on retail. Over time, it's been clear to me that the part that excites me most about our SME and business is general was not procurement or product, but was Strategy. I am passionate about analyzing, planning and actioning plans for growth and improvement. Hence, joining Strategy Consulting has been my career goal for years, since I want to keep learning how to help companies.
3. Tell me about the thing that makes you most proud on your CV
Be detailed: don't choose a period of your life but something specific that happened in it (e.g., a particular project instead of a two-year job)
Be prepared to present it as you would present a story included in the behavioral questions, leveraging STAR or PARADE framework (although shorter, 1-2 mins instead of 10-12 mins)
What makes me most proud is funding the Consulting Club at my university. Since it's not one of the “target” universities for MBB, people were feeling discouraged to apply, and those who applied felt they didn't have the resources or a support group. Hence, 2 years ago I founded the cited Club, aimed at encouraging potential candidates and helping those in the process. It has been a huge success (we had 50 members in the 1st year and 150 in the 2nd year), and 10 people got offers after year 1 (while the previous year, only 1 at this Uni did). It has been very fulfilling since it has truly helped people, as well as being a great personal project for me, teaching me how to set up something from the beginning and make it scale.
Graph 3: Example of how to follow STAR/PARADE methodology when answering short Intro and CV questions.
➥ Graphs from the Integrated FIT Guide for MBB
LOOKING FOR MORE TIPS?
Have a look at the Integrated FIT Guide for MBB by Clara