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AGENDA

Overview
The case interview

Interview techniques

Suggested approaches
Evaluation criteria

Success-oriented behavior

Analytic, problem-solving

Presence, communication
Designing your case
Appendix: vocabulary for describing candidates

Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

-1-

WELCOME TO THE BOSTON RECRUITING CADRE!


Associate
Barbara Berke
Mark Blaxill
Rob Lachenauer
Sara LaPorta
Rob Archacki
Sarah Cairns-Smith
Renard Charity
Guy Fish
Gerardo Garbulsky
Simon Goodall
Rich Hutchinson
Cynthia Janower
David Koenig
Laura Kohn
Rob MacNaughton
Emre Onder
Ravi Paintal
Fred Paster
Massimo Russo
Rob Weiss
Anne Wilkins
Wendy Woods

Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

Consultant
Philip Evans
John Frantz
Todd Hixon
Paul Fenaroli
Grant Freeland
Nicholas Glenning
Pat Kager
Chris Keevil
Jean Mixer
Steve Mugford
Ojas Rege
Anne Wilkins
Geoff Hyatt
Jill Altshuler
Deborah Lovich
Jim Maritan
David Williams
Mark Gooley
Michael Halbherr
Peter Smith
Bob Trudeau
Clay Van Doran
Susan Wempa
Natalie Wright

-2-

BCG NORTH AMERICA IS LOOKING TO HIRE


A LOT OF PEOPLE
Associate Ranges
Office

Full Time

Consultant Targets

Summer

Full Time

Summer

Atlanta

4-5

0-1

Boston

12-15

4-6

30

24

Chicago

12-15

2-3

24

16

Dallas

3-4

0-1

Los Angeles

5-7

1-2

New York

6-7

2-3

18

13

San Francisco

4-5

0-1

7-10

6-7

10

0-1

0-1

Toronto
Washington D.C.

Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

-3-

BOSTON RECRUITING IDENTIFIES MORE THAN ITS SHARE


OF OFFEREES
1996-7 N. and S.
American offers
extended

% from Boston
core schools

Consultant(1)
Full Time
Summer

225
131

53%
46%

Harvard Business School


Sloan
Tuck
Harvard Law
Harvard PhD
MIT PhD

Associate
Full Time
Summer

78
17

26%
53%

Harvard
Amherst
MIT
Dartmouth
Princeton
Brown
Yale
U Penn/Wharton

Core Schools

(1) Numbers include ANZ


Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

-4-

THREE LEVERAGE POINTS IN RECRUITING PROCESS

Create demand

Specialist, outreach programs

High-priority dinners

Presentations, club events, etc.

Screen candidates effectively

Convert offerees

Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

-5-

THE SCREENING PROCESS DIFFERS SLIGHTLY


BETWEEN ASSOCIATES AND CONSULTANTS (I)
Associate Process

Resume
Review

First
Round

Second
Round

Final
Round

Every resume
received is read and
scored by at least
two associates
Usually
associates from
applicants
school
Scoring system
common across
N. America

Location:
Typically on
campus (either in
school career
center or near by
hotel)
Typically 1-45
minute case
interview

Location
Either on
campus (next
day) or in nearby
BCG office
Typically 2-45
minute case
interviews

Location
Office
considering offer
Typically 2-3 45
minute interviews
(VPs) with 1-2 20
minute chats with
recruiting
director/officer

~28% of applicants
selected for
interview

~32% of applicants
selected for 2nd
round

Lunch/tour with
current associates
during the day
Formal dinner night
before
~35% of applicants
selected for final
round

~50% of applicants
given offers
~5% of 1st rd
<2% of resumes

All interviews include case hosting suite of associates and recruiting director that provides
additional input on candidates
Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

-6-

THE SCREENING PROCESS DIFFERS SLIGHTLY


BETWEEN ASSOCIATES AND CONSULTANTS (II)
Consultant Process

Resume
Review
Varies by school
and office
responsible
E.g., all
interested HBS
students receive
interview

First
Round
Typically two 45
minute case
interviews(1)

Final
Round
Varies by office
In Boston,
typically four
interviews: two
45 minute case
interviews, tow
15 minute fit
interviews with
Dave/Ken

(1)Note: Non-MBA candidates typically go through a single interview pre-screen round (Round 0)
Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

-7-

EXPECTATIONS OF NON-MBA CANDIDATES DIFFER


SLIGHTLY FROM THOSE OF MBA-CONSULTANTS
We hire associates and consultants who we believe will make strong future
case leaders, managers, and officers

Not just data crunchers or even analysts


However, we do not expect these candidates to have the business jargon or
savvy that an MBA-consultant candidate should

No MBA

Most not even business or economics majors (this is okay)


Thus, associate and non-MBA consultant interviewers should look for the
thought patterns and drive of a consultant

But should not screen based on vocabulary or business


knowledge

We
Wedo
dohave
haveaa higher
higherbar
barfor
forour
ournon-MBA
non-MBAconsultants
consultantsthan
than
our
associates
our associates
General
Generalmaturity
maturity
Potential
Potentialspeed
speedup
upthe
thelearning
learningcurve
curve
Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

-8-

HOWEVER, IN THE END, WE ARE LOOKING FOR THE SAME


ATTRIBUTES
Smart

Conceptually

Analytically

Highly motivated
Demonstrated leadership skills
Strong interpersonal skills
Team oriented

Remember:
Remember:
Not
Notjust
juststrong
strongassociates
associatesand
andconsultants,
consultants,but
butalso
alsopotential
potential
case
caseleaders,
leaders,managers,
managers,and
andVPs!
VPs!
Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

-9-

BCG MAKES A GOOD IMPRESSION ON CANDIDATES


DURING INTERVIEW PROCESS (I)
I was treated in a professional/courteous manner.

BCG interviewers were attentive/interested/responsive.

Both interviewers presented interesting cases which challenged my


abilities and demonstrated typical work of BCG consultants.

Both interviewers were very professional during the interview but, at the
same time, made me comfortable and more relaxed about the process.

Both interviewers were very friendly and acted genuinely interested in me.

Very professional.

Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

-10-

BCG MAKES A GOOD IMPRESSION ON CANDIDATES


DURING INTERVIEW PROCESS (II)
Overall, the interviews and interviewers provided a pleasant experience. I liked the fact that
my career was emphasized in the interview.
BCG is renowned at Kellogg for very tough cases/interviews. I did not find this; in fact, the
two interviewers were very friendly and clearly had an interest in me, the candidate. I enjoyed
the cases and actually learned from them while having a good time. Thanks for a great
learning experience.
I felt that the interviewers had a genuine interest in my background, and they enabled me to
share aspects of my work experience which are not easily described on a resume.
I am impressed with BCGs classy act with regards to recruiting. This is the first time many
students truly have contact with the firm; it is how we form our opinions of culture, treatment
of new employees, etc. I enjoyed my interviews and will remember BCG in a favorable
manner.
I am very impressed with your interviewers and their level of professionalism. My
experience interviewing with your firm was very positive, and I hope it leads to future
interaction.
Most professional interview yet.

Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

-11-

BUT REMEMBER, THE IMPRESSION IS A LASTING ONE


Some Examples

A little bit more time should have been devoted to my background.

I didnt have an opportunity to explain how my experience would be


applicable to BCG and consulting.

I did not appreciate the interviewer pointing out the flaws in my reasoning
during the case.

One of my interviewers must have been up late because he seemed to nod off
a few times.

Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

-12-

AGENDA
Overview
The case interview

Interview techniques

Suggested approaches
Evaluation criteria

Success-oriented behavior

Analytic, problem-solving

Presence, communication
Designing your case
Appendix: vocabulary for describing candidates

Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

-13-

THE CASE INTERVIEW

Mechanics of the interview process are critical to its success

Preparationif you are not prepared, it shows

Timing45 minutes really isnt much time

Interview managementcontrol of the process is critical


-

80/20 rule: candidates should talk 80% of the time,


BCG interviewer 20%

Evaluationeffective hiring decisions depend on this

Design and delivery of your case determines how effectively you can
evaluate the candidate

Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

You must be familiar with all aspects of the case

It must test all the skills we are looking for

It must be flexible and designed so you can probe for weaknesses

It must lead to an effective relative score

-14-

PREPARING YOURSELF

Prepare an introduction to yourself

Beyond the bio that will be provided the recruit

Get your energy up on the day of the interview


Arrive 30 minutes before your first interview, reread these notes
Read the resume, find one to three points of interest, use it to
help shape your case approach
Think of some non-case questions to use

Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

-15-

BCGS RECRUITING PRINCIPLES

Respect for recruits

Fair evaluation process

Opportunity for recruits to express themselves

Professional and courteous behavior

Attentive, interested and responsive to recruits

Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

-16-

MANAGING THE INTERVIEW


Suggested Flow

1-2 minutes

Introduction
Set the agenda

10-15 minutes

Draw them out


Open discussion (resume, motivations, style)

20-25 minutes

Introduce the case


Discuss the case
Wrap up the case

4-5 minutes

Q&A, explore whats on their mind

0-1 minutes

Discuss next steps


Escort them back
Jot down your notes on the interview

Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

-17-

MANAGING THE INTERVIEW


Tone
Tone
You
Youare
areclearly
clearlymanaging
managingthe
theinterview
interview
But
not
arrogant
But not arrogant
Lead
Leadthem
themthrough
throughthe
thediscussion
discussion
But
invite
their
participation
But invite their participationin
in
the
process
the process
Let
Letme
mesuggest
suggestwe
wedo
dothe
the
following
following
Professional
Professional
Focused
Focused
To
Tothe
thepoint
point
Attentive
Attentive

Responding
Respondingto
tothe
therecruits
recruits
Every
Everyquestion
questionneeds
needsaaresponse
response
Be
Besensitive
sensitiveto
toword
wordchoice
choiceand
andcertain
certain
lines
of
questioning
lines of questioning
Legal
Legalimplications
implications
Person
Person
Never
Neverevade
evade
Acceptable
Acceptableanswers,
answers,when
whenyou
youcant
cant
answer
their
question
answer their question
IIdont
dontknow
know
Ill
find
out
Ill find out
Let
Letme
mefocus
focusyou
youon
onsomething
something
else
(when
something
else (when somethingelse
elseis
is
relevant)
relevant)
Be
Becandid,
candid,not
notevasive
evasive
We
Wewant
wantthem
themto
tounderstand
understandus
usin
in
aapositive
light
positive light

Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

-18-

REMEMBER: THE CASE INTERVIEW IS A LARGE PART OF


THE IMPRESSION WE MAKE ON RECRUITS!

For
Forthe
theone-out-of-ten
one-out-of-tenrecruits
recruitswho
who
get
an
offer
get an offer
Interview
Interviewgives
givesthem
themtheir
theirinitial
initialsense
senseof:
of:
What
we
do
What we do
What
Whatwere
werelike
like
What
Whatits
itslike
liketo
towork
workwith
withus
us
The
Theinitial
initialsense
senseusually
usuallysticks
stickswith
withthem
them

Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

For
Forthe
thenine-out-of-ten
nine-out-of-tenrecruits
recruitswho
who
dont
get
an
offer
dont get an offer
Interview
Interviewis
ismost
mostof
ofwhat
whatthey
theyknow
know
about
us
about us
Remember:
Remember:
They
Theymay
mayinterview
interview with
withus
usagain
again
They
talk
to
their
friends
They talk to their friends
They
Theycould
couldbe
beclients
clientsin
inthe
thefuture
future

-19-

EVALUATING THE CANDIDATES PERFORMANCE


Key to Effective Hiring Decisions

Candidates are evaluated on three key dimensions using a six-point scale


Success-oriented
Success-orientedbehavior
behavior
Analytical
Analyticalskills
skills
Presence/communication
Presence/communication

1-2
1-2
3-4
3-4
5-6
5-6

BCG
BCGhire
hire
Borderline
Borderline
BCG
BCGreject
reject

Recruiting is asking for quantitative grading supported by as much


qualitative commentary as necessary

Gather the data during the interview

Take the time to think through the evaluation and develop an


independent view before meeting with your partner

Your evaluation should be much more thorough than


simple opinion

Be
Beas
ascomprehensive
comprehensiveas
aspossible
possible
Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

-20-

CONDUCT INTERVIEW WITHIN LEGAL GUIDELINES (I)


Questions That You Should Not Ask

National origin

Candidates (or parents or spouses) nationality, ancestry, lineage,


or parentage

Whether candidates parents or spouse are native-born or


naturalized citizens

Name of next of kin

Candidates (or familys) birthplace

How candidate learned a second language


Religion and political beliefs

Religious and political beliefs and affiliations


Race

Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

Candidates (or familys) race, skin color, or complexion

-21-

CONDUCT INTERVIEW WITHIN LEGAL GUIDELINES (II)


Questions That You Should Not Ask

Gender

Change of name, maiden name, or original name


Current or previous marital status
Preferred form of address (Miss, Ms., or Mrs.)
Spouse
Number, name, or ages of children or dependents

Age
Convictions
Handicap
Military history

Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

-22-

INTERVIEWING STYLE SUGGESTIONS


Living by the 80/20 rule

Ask questions 20% of the time

Listen 80% of the time

Avoid editorializing and commenting on candidates answers


tells candidate your values and priorities

Avoid signs of agreement or disagreement

Framing questions and sequencing themes

Keep questions simple and easy to understand

Tie changing themes

Controlling the interview

Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

Direct the flow of the interview

Handle the overly talkative candidate

Restate/clarify questions when not interpreted/answered correctly

-23-

TYPES OF GOOD INTERVIEW QUESTIONS


Type

Description

What it shows

Example

Open ended

Question where candidate must


elaborate to answer

Details, richness -- helps the


candidate show not tell

How do you succeed in


working under pressure?

Mirror
statements

Repetition of candidates key


substance and then wait for
expansion and/or explanation

Details, richness -- helps the


candidate show not tell

So your approach when


something is difficult to
work harder.

Past
performance

Question asking candidate to


reference his/her experience

How candidate is likely to


respond to further similar
circumstances

Give me an example of...


Tell me about a time
when...

Negative balance

Question asking candidate to


describe a negative experience

How candidate deals with


failure/frustration

Can you give me an


example of when
something did not work out
quite so well?

Negative
confirmation

Asks for more examples of


negative experience

Determine if negative traits are


aberrations or indicators

Thats very interesting.


Lets talk about another
time when you had to...

Loaded

Asks for a situation where two


divergent approaches were both
considered

Good indicator of candidates


decision-making approaches
and judgment

What would be your


approach to situation
where...

Half-right
reflexive

Partially correct statements that


ask the candidate to agree

If a candidate is willing to push


back, resilience

Ive always thought


customer service should
start after the bills been
paid - havent you?....

Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

-24-

NONVERBALS ARE CRITICAL INDICATORS


Be Aware

Body languageone of the most significant listening skills

35% of communication from words, 65% from nonverbal(1)

Others say only 7% of the meaning is from words(2)


Auditory channel

Specific words spoken

Sound of voice

Rapidity of speech, frequency and length of pauses


Visual channel

Facial expression

Posture

Gestures
Note discrepancies
Be aware of your own body language

1 Randall Harrison, Nonverbal Communication: Exploration into Time, Space, Action and Object, in Dimensions in Communication Readings
2 Albert Mehrabian, Communication Without Words, Psychology Today, September 1986, p. 53
Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

-25-

AGENDA
Overview
The case interview

Interview techniques

Suggested approaches
Evaluation criteria

Success-oriented behavior

Analytic, problem-solving

Presence, communication
Designing your case
Appendix: vocabulary for describing candidates

Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

-26-

Candidate Evaluation
Candidate:____________________________
Date:_________________________________

Interviewer:___________________________
Interview round: ____1st ____DR
Did you test?

1. Success-oriented behavior

Topic:________________________________

____Yes ____No

BCG
reject

Borderline

BCG
hire

Industry:______________________________

Comments:

Key Dimensions

Score (6-1)

Tolerance for ambiguity

____

Toughness/resilience

____

Initiative/motivation

____

Demonstrated results/leadership ____


2. Analytic skills

Comments:

Framing/organizing problem

____

Prioritizing issues

____

Identifying relevant information ____


Drawing conclusions from facts ____
Identifying key implications
and next steps

3. Presence/communication

Comments:

Listening skills

____

Oral skills/articulation

____

Charisma/spark

____

Credibility/maturity

____

Total (add three scores


above)
4. Overall recommendation

Maybe

Probably

Hire
Reject

5. Other information: (competition/personal issues, etc.)

Definitely

____

Next interview issues

Candidate Evaluation
Candidate:____________________________
Date:_________________________________

Interviewer:___________________________

Fill
Fillout
out
completely

Interview round: ____1st ____DR


Did you test?

1. Success-oriented behavior

Topic:________________________________
completely

____Yes ____No

BCG
reject

Borderline

BCG
hire

Comments:

Critical
Critical evaluation
evaluation
dimensions
dimensions
You
Youmust
mustscore
score each
each
6
5
candidate
candidate from
from1-6
1-6on
on
all
all dimensions
dimensions
Ample
Ample space
spacefor
for
comments,
comments,use
useit!
it!
We
will
use
your
We will use yourinput
input

2. Analytic skills
Comments:

3. Presence/communication

Probably

Hire

Recommendation
Recommendation
Must
Mustbe
be consistent
consistentwith
withReject
key
dimension
scores
key dimension scores

Definitely

Score (6-1)

Tolerance for ambiguity

____

Toughness/resilience

____

Initiative/motivation

____

Use to remind you of


____
testing

Framing/organizing
whatproblem
we are
Prioritizing issues

____

Will help evaluate


Identifying relevant information ____
aggregate score
Drawing conclusions from facts ____

required
Identifying keyNot
implications

to be
completed, but if
you
and next steps
____
do, we will use the data

Total
Total box
box
Add
Add scores
scores to
to help
help Total (add three scores
rank
the
candidate
rank the candidate
above)
Maybe

Key Dimensions

Worksheet
section
Demonstrated
results/leadership
____

Comments:

4. Overall recommendation

Tracking
Industry:______________________________
Trackingdata
data

Listening skills

____

Oral skills/articulation

____

Charisma/spark

____

Credibility/maturity

____

Next interview issues

IfIfthere
there is
issomething
something else
else
which
needs
to
be
which needs to be
tested,
tested,let
letus
us know
know

5. Other information: (competition/personal issues, etc.)

Any
Anyother
otherinformation
informationyou
yougather
gatherwhich
whichis
is pertinent
pertinent
to
the
decision
process,
other
offers,
interviews,
to the decision process, other offers, interviews,
locations
locations

Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

-28-

KEY EVALUATION CRITERIA


Success-oriented behaviorDoes the candidate possess the behavioral
characteristics indicative of success at BCG?
Tolerance for ambiguity
Toughness/resilience
Initiative/motivation
Demonstrated results/leadership
Analytical skillsDo they exhibit a strong set of analytical abilities and thought
processes?
Framing/organizing the problem
Prioritization of issues
Identifying relevant information
Drawing conclusions from facts
Identifying key implications and next steps
Presence/communicationDo they have the presence and communication skills
to succeed as a BCG consultant?
Listening skills
Oral skills/articulation
Charisma/spark
Credibility/maturity
Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

-29-

AGENDA
Overview
The case interview

Interview techniques

Suggested approaches
Evaluation criteria

Success-oriented behavior

Analytic, problem-solving

Presence, communication
Designing your case
Appendix: vocabulary for describing candidates

Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

-30-

NEED TO DESEGREGATE SUCCESS-ORIENTED


BEHAVIOR FROM COMMUNICATION
Example: Kellogg Interviewers

SOB/communication measures
highly collinear
6

SOB
4
(same
interviewer)
3

Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

13

13

20

28

28

Variance

Number

Percent

1.4

11

7.5

62

42.2

72

49.0

3
4
Communication
(same interviewer)

-31-

TESTING FOR SUCCESS-ORIENTED BEHAVIOR


Tolerance for ambiguity

Works comfortably with unclear expectations

Able to think and act his or her way through an unstructured situation

Comfortable with incomplete or fuzzy information

Toughness/resilience

Stands up to pressures and stress of BCG-type environment

Possesses strong emotional stamina and flexibility


- rebounds from setbacks quickly
- possesses emotional composure

Initiative/motivation

Initiates discussion

Bias toward action

Demonstrated results/leadership

Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

Track record consistent with requirements for success at BCG

Results-oriented

Credibility/maturity
-32-

Reference

TOLERANCE FOR AMBIGUITY


Creating the situation: Describe a moment in the case when it was not clear what the case team
should do
Poor definition of problem
Not enough information to answer the question

Your role
Resist structuring the problem for the
candidate
Forces them to tell you what they
would do

Poor performance
Not able to define a direction
Continually resorts to asking for more
definition
Good performance
Can define how they would approach
problem
Formulates hypothesis without
concern for gaps
Superior performance
Clearly defined logic for proceeding
Comfortable with situation

Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

-33-

Reference

TOUGHNESS/RESILIENCE
Creating the situation: Describe a moment in the case when the client directly or indirectly
challenged the work
In giving the description, make it clear how much you personally were on the line
Your role
Keep the challenge alive as they work
through the case
- why would you do that?
- what if the client didnt like your
suggestion?
Note

This must and can be done without creating


a stress interview
Be friendly and encouraging
Make it clear you dont think there is a
right answer
Thank them
Praise them, when appropriate
Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

Poor performance
Doesnt respond to the challenge
- withdraws and concedes
Quickly gives up their ideas
- OK, I guess youre right
Good performance
Proactively defends position
- with constructive suggestions
Falls back to original thoughts to
explain why ideas are right
Superior performance
Clear logic for resolving the problem
Can work through the situation in best
possible manner
- doesnt resort to conflict
Will use logic to challenge alternative
opinions
-34-

Reference

INITIATIVE/MOTIVATION
Creating the situation: Can be tested throughout the interview
Their role in discussion
How do they approach the case

Your role
Observation

Poor performance
Lets interviewer dominate process
Doesnt contribute unless asked
Disinterested in actions and outcomes
Good performance
Takes the lead and runs with it
An excited advocate for ideas
Superior performance
Drives process further than expected
Very interested in actionable results

Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

-35-

Reference

DEMONSTRATED RESULTS/LEADERSHIP
Creating the situation: Evaluate at the beginning of the interview
Candidate should be able to organize a cogent, results-oriented story about why he/she
would do well at BCG
Your role
Provide an opportunity for the student
to lay out his/her story
Resist prompting; make the student
take advantage of an open-ended,
unstructured situation

Poor performance
Does not see the opportunity to
organize his/her facts
Becomes long winded
Doesnt focus on major themes,
messages
Good performance
Has a message or story
Not cogent or compelling
Superior performance
Well-organized, fact-based, compelling
story
Cogentcan be communicated in 3-5
minutes
Links demonstrated results with key
BCG needs
Provides multiple sources of facts
(i.e., GPA, analytics in old job, results
of work or academic experience)

Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

-36-

AGENDA
Overview
The case interview

Interview techniques

Suggested approaches
Evaluation criteria

Success-oriented behavior

Analytic, problem-solving

Presence, communication
Designing your case
Appendix: vocabulary for describing candidates

Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

-37-

TESTING ANALYTICAL SKILLS


Framing/organizing
Ability to identify key issues which he/she needs to deal with in order to
solve the problem
Prioritizing issues
Ability of interviewee to assess the issues, prioritize them and form a
coherent plan of attack
Identifying relevant information
Ability to dig deep enough to find the detailed information which leads
to a meaningful answer
Drawing conclusions from facts
Ability of interviewee to use information given and manipulate it
accurately into a logical conclusion
-

ability to identify the key displays or data dimensions needed to


reach a solution

ability to derive relationships among different dimensions of data

Identifying key implications and next steps


Ability to predict relationships and outcomes based on sound reasoning

Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

clear logic to conclusion

delineation of alternatives

-38-

Reference

FRAMING/ORGANIZING THE PROBLEM


Creating the situation: Provide a brief introduction to a situation and ask candidate to formulate an
approach
Structuring of the case problem
Formulation of an analytical approach to a module
State the problem the way the client stated it to you

Your role
Serve as a resource of high-level
factual information
When necessary, provide more
information
- suggestions or questions
Keep focusing the candidate back to
defining rather than solving issues
Maintain a running list of the issues
they have raised
Fill in contextual details

Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

Poor performance
Narrow definition of problem
Boilerplate analytical templates
e.g., marketing problem
Good performance
Broad problem definition
Approach relevant to situation
Good questions to identify subtleties
of situation
e.g., financial, marketing and sales
components
Superior performance
Broad definition with subtleties drawn
out

-39-

Reference

IDENTIFYING RELEVANT INFORMATION


Creating the situation: Define a case module (focus on one issue) and ask the candidate to take you
through how they would address the issue
Execution of an analytical module
Your role

Poor performance

Define the task as you would for a new


consultant

Outlined general types of information


needed

Provide them the information you had


when the module began

Little thought to appropriate depth or


methodology

Serve as a resource where appropriate

Good performance

- how big is market?

Lay out information required

- does data exist?

Identify options to find data

Probe to determine depth of thought


process
- what do they mean?
- how would you do that?

Some thought on resources required


Superior performance
Organized vision of information
required
Methodology for defining appropriate
level of rigor
Quick hits to determine feasible and
infeasible approaches

Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

-40-

Reference

DRAWING CONCLUSIONS FROM FACTS


Creating the situation: Ask the candidate to take you through an actual analysis. Frame the problem
with a set of data and ask specific questions
How would you estimate the scale curve for their business?
Your role
Clearly define the question you want
them to address
Be prepared to define the concept you
are asking about
Provide a set of information which
allows them to reach an answer

Poor performance
Gets lost in the data
Not facile with facts
Doesnt check answer
Wrong answer with poor approach
Good performance
Pulls relevant data into analysis
Can manipulate the data and concept
Clear approach (and hopeful, answer)
Superior performance
Defines approach clearly
Manipulates data into answer
Effectively displays or communicates
information
Can extrapolate concept effectively

Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

-41-

Reference

DRAWING CONCLUSIONS FROM FACTS


Suggested Approaches

Synthesis
Synthesis of
of information
information
Provide
Provide aa set
set of
of information
information and
and get
get the
the
candidate
candidate develop
develop the
the analytical
analytical relations
relations

Example:
Example: provide
provide information
information on
on
markets
and
competitors
markets and competitors

Look
Look for
for

How
How much
much can
can they
they pull
pull from
from the
the
data?
data?
-- sales
sales
--

-- market
market share
share
--

-- relative
relative share
share
--

Ability
Ability to
to communicate
communicate aa conclusion
conclusion
Look
Look for
for how
how the
the candidate
candidate expresses
expresses
their
their ideas
ideas
Possible
Possible choices
choices
-- scale
scale curves
curves
-- experience
experience curves
curves
-- cost
cost de-averaging
de-averaging
-- demand
demand curve
curve
-- market
market segmentation
segmentation
Be
Be prepared
prepared to
to
Explain
Explain these
these concepts
concepts
See
See ifif they
they can
can fit
fit data
data to
to the
the
concept
concept

-- fair
fair share
share

Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

How
How would
would they
they display
display it?
it?

-42-

Reference

IDENTIFYING KEY IMPLICATIONS AND NEXT STEPS


Suggested Approaches

Framing
Framing an
an analytical
analytical answer
answer
Ask
Ask the
the candidate
candidate to
to outline
outline the
the
business
business implications
implications of
of analytical
analytical
conclusions
conclusions
Look
Look for
for
Can
Can they
they synthesize
synthesize their
their analysis
analysis
and
other
relevant
information
and other relevant information
into
into actionable
actionable recommendations
recommendations
-- i.e.,
i.e., analytical
analytical market
market
position
position
++ economic
economic conditions
conditions
++ business
business strengths
strengths
== rational
action
rational action plan
plan

Generating
Generating high-level
high-level recommendations
recommendations
Summarize
Summarize the
the key
keyconclusion
conclusion of
of the
the
study
studyand
and ask
ask for
for recommendations
recommendations
Look
Look for
for
Well-developed
Well-developed logic
logic which
which
incorporates
the
information
incorporates the information
-- in
in aa relevant
relevant fashion
fashion
-- in
in aa reasonable
reasonable fashion
fashion
The
The ability
ability to
to think
think beyond
beyond the
the
conclusion
to
the
implications
conclusion to the implications
-- next
next steps
steps
-- alternatives
alternatives

Do
Do they
they capture
capture the
the subtleties
subtleties
which
which show
show good
good judgment?
judgment?
-- risk
risk
-- alternatives
alternatives

Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

-43-

AGENDA
Overview
The case interview

Interview techniques

Suggested approaches
Evaluation criteria

Success-oriented behavior

Analytic, problem-solving

Presence, communication
Designing your case
Appendix: vocabulary for describing candidates

Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

-44-

PRESENCE/COMMUNICATION
Listening skills

Answers the questions you ask

Remembers data provided during case discussion

Reads nonverbal communications

Oral skills/articulation

Getting to the point

Cogently structures logic, rationale

Charisma/spark

Energetic

Enthusiastic

Credibility/maturity

Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

Someone you would be comfortable sending alone to the client


-45-

AGENDA
Overview
The case interview

Interview techniques

Suggested approaches
Evaluation criteria

Success-oriented behavior

Analytic, problem-solving

Presence, communication
Designing your case
Appendix: vocabulary for describing candidates

Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

-46-

DESIGNING A CASE WHICH EVALUATES ALL KEY


CRITERIA REQUIRES CAREFUL PLANNING
The object is to test all criteria during the course of a coherent, topical
discussion

You must have a clear idea how to get to each point

There must be a way to distinguish between poor, good and


excellent performance
-

no right or wrong answer; levels of performance

The case must be flexible to cope with a wide variety of situations

Varying approaches

Varying candidate background and experience

Avoid brainteasers and trick questions. The case is a BCG selling point

Exhibit multifaceted, interesting dimensions of our work

Use
Use the
the evaluation
evaluation form
form as
as aa guide
guide to
to developing
developing the
the case
case
Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

-47-

NOT EVERY CASE YOUVE WORKED ON WILL MAKE A


GOOD CASE INTERVIEW
Go through your own experience

Locate a situation that clearly required

High-level prioritization of issues

Discrete analyses and interpretation of quantitative facts

Preliminary conclusions leading to next steps

Identify levels of performance for each key area

Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

Know what the obvious answers are

Know what is good progress

Know what is outstanding insight

-48-

RIGOROUSLY DESIGN YOUR CASE


Methodology, Facts, Exhibits

Draft a written outline of the case

Problem statement

Framework(s)

Quantitative facts

Numeric tests
Prepare yourself to conclude the case discussion

Insights they didnt get to . . .

. . . Without making them feel stupid . . .

. . . Or implying that our point of view is right


Prepare concise, written exhibits if you want to use them in the interview

Sanitized case exhibits

Get them to doodle


Develop a grade sheet for you to use during each interview

See
Seenext
nextpages
pages for
forone
oneexample
example

Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

-49-

For
ForInterviewer
Interviewer
only
only

Example

RETAIL-MEX: BACKGROUND AND KICKOFF

Retailer in Mexico -- Retail-Mex


Kind of like a small Sears but no other

Auto

Home/garden

Sports/Toys

~450 stores across Mexico, $3 Billion in sales


Historically little competition
However, rumor that Wal-Mart is coming
Retailer says, Is this a problem?

I. How would you think about this question?


Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

-50-

For
ForInterviewer
Interviewer
only
only

Example

RETAIL-MEX: CASE
II. One piece of information we got early was this one. What do you think of
these profit numbers?

What if I told you that wms prices are 80% of RMs

III. Another aspect is expenses

What do you see?

Why do you think it is that way?

IV. Lets think more broadly about what it takes to be a successful retailer

Name some

How can we organize them -- around size......focus

What is the strength of each of the corners

Where are dept stores - what is their problem

Where is RM? - what do you think they should do?

V. Give all we have talked about, how would you advise Retail-Mex

Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

What are the advantages they have to exploit

Where do they need to make changes in the way they do business?


-51-

To
Toshow
showto
to
candidate
candidate

Example

GROSS MARGIN COMPARISON


% of Sales
Wal-Mart

Retail-Mex

Sales

100%

100%

Cost of Goods

70%

60%

Gross Profit

30%

40%

Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

-52-

To
Toshow
showto
tocandidate
candidateifif
s/he
s/hehas
hastrouble
troublewith
with
previous
page
previous page

Example

GROSS MARGIN COMPARISON (II)


% of Sales
Wal-Mart

Retail-Mex

Adjustment to WM prices
R-M today

Sales

100%

100%

$ 1.00

Cost of Goods

70%

60%

.60

Gross Profit

30%

40%

.40

Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

Adjusted $

Adjusted %

-53-

To
Toshow
showto
to
candidate
candidate

Example

EXPENSE COMPARISON
% of Sales
Wal-Mart

Retail-Mex

Store Costs

11%

20%

Distribution

2%

5%

Information
Technology

1%

2%

Other

2%

4%

Total Expenses

16%

31%

Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

-54-

Example

EVALUATION SHEET

For
Forinterviewer
interviewerto
to
evaluate
candidate
evaluate candidate

Name:_________________________________________

Good

Better

Best

What testing

I. Is this a
problem, how
think about

Price

Product line
overlap
Mix of goods
w/diff GM

Customer overlap
EDLP
Costs

Ambiguity,
framing problem

II. Gross Profit

Mix; adjustment
fine with help

Mix and price;


adjustment fine
without help

Mix and price;


adjustment
flawless

Conclusions from
facts, relevant
info

III. Expenses

Id main
components of
each; discussion
in general

Svc level, rent,


locations
goes right to
SO

Scale and
efficiency

Prioritizing,
conclusions from
facts, relevant
info

IV. Matrix

I lead but with me

Even contribution

Almost creates
framework and
guides me

Initiative,
motivation,
framing problem,
charisa/spark

V. Pull all
together

Summarized main
points
price/overlap
cost/scale

One level higher


know
customer and
niche
define goal

Plus gives long


and short term
next steps
identifies hope

Drawing
conclusions from
facts, identifying
key implications
and next steps

Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

-55-

TEST YOUR CASE

Test your case informally and refine as needed

Use two or three colleagues

Can you test all key points?

Does timing work?

Formal review of the case will be done with recruiting

Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

For associate interviewers: individual feedback sessions with


Hugh and Amy (we will be contacting you to set up)

For consultant interviewers: develop case with assigned coach


(see memo), follow up with Jill and Ken

-56-

AGENDA
Overview
The case interview

Interview techniques

Suggested approaches
Evaluation criteria

Success-oriented behavior

Analytic, problem-solving

Presence, communication
Designing your case
Appendix: vocabulary for describing candidates

Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

-57-

VOCABULARY FOR DESCRIBING CANDIDATES


Background (I)

It is critical that your descriptions of


candidates are thoughtful, accurate,
and understandable...
As interviewers, you will be asked to
describe candidates to others
In written form and sometimes
orally
Your descriptions will be used to
assess a candidates likelihood of
success at BCG
And, thus, whether s/he deserves
an offer

Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

...However, it is difficult to describe a


person and how s/he thinks
Most of us do not have a large
vocabulary around this topic
Words we tend to use (e.g., nice,
smart) have different meanings to
each of us -- thus, are useless

-58-

VOCABULARY FOR DESCRIBING CANDIDATES


Background (II)

To help build your vocabulary, and, therefore, the usefulness of your


feedback we have two suggestions

Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

Carefully review pages 32-45 of this document to understand


definitions of evaluation terms
-

be sure to test for these attributes during your interview

be ready to describe candidates performance along each


dimension

Explore the following pages of vocabulary and challenge yourself


to describe candidates with these more specific terms
-

remember, we are not looking for a specific set of adjectives...

.....but using precise terms will help those who need to make
judgments

-59-

CANDIDATE EVALUATION VOCABULARY


Four Dimensions Worth Discussing

Extrovert
Engages in activities that involve many people;
enjoys brainstorming, talking things through;
comfortable initiating conversation, small talk

Introvert
Prefer solitary activities; prefer one-on-one
interaction; needs thinking time to digest an
issue; may avoid small talk

Conceptual

Factual

Comfortable with complexity and uncertainty;


enjoys future-oriented activities; hypothesis
driven; likes to talk ideas, concepts, options

Prefers clarity, simplicity, certainty; enjoys


present-oriented activities; results oriented;
practical; likes to talk facts, makes things
happen

Objective

Subjective

Content oriented --primarily driven by logic


and reason; able to identify flaws and
inconsistencies; able to discuss 2nd and 3rd
order implications
Structured
Prefers to have things planned; prefers clearly
defined schedules and goals; framework driven;
organized; output oriented; likes to narrow
options; enjoys the end goal

Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

Relationship oriented -- tries to understand


problem in context of how the person (client)
perceives it; in tune with peoples feelings and
perceptions; driven by gut feeling
Unstructured
Prefers to leave things open-ended; prefers
loosely defined schedules and goals; flexible in
thinking; less focused, loose structure, slower to
get to output, likes to expand number of options;
enjoys the journey

-60-

INTERVIEWER TRAINING
October 10, 1997

***UNUSED SLIDES***

Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

-62-

AGGRESSIVE RECRUITING CONTINUES


1996-97 North American Hiring Targets
Number of hires
Office
Atlanta

Summer
6

Boston

29

26

Chicago

29

17

Dallas

Los Angeles

18

12

San Francisco

Toronto

10

123

84

New York

Washington
Total

Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

Full time
5

-63-

BOSTON OFFICE KEY CONTRIBUTOR TO THE


AMERICAS' RECRUITING EFFORT

Americas Total

Boston Staffed

No.

Person Days

Person Days (% of Americas)

1R interviews

3,160

676

25%

DR interviews

1,000

429

25%

Marketing and
Sell Events

153

705

30%

Source: North American recruiting databases


Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

-64-

TYPES OF INTERVIEW QUESTIONS


Type

Description

Example

Closed ended

Yes or no answers
Provides no significant information

Can you work under pressure?

Open ended

Asks for detail

Im uninterested in hearing about . . .


How do you succeed in working under pressure?

Past performance

Premise that past predicts future behavior

Give me an example of . . .
Tell me about a time when . . .

Negative balance
quite so

Look for chinks in the halo

Can you give me an example of when something did not work out
well?

Negative confirmation
to . . .

Determine if negative traits are aberrations or

Thats very interesting. Lets talk about another time when you had

indicators
Reflexive
area, dont

Interrupter that allows interview to proceed


in a different direction

With time so short, I think it would be valuable to move to another


you?

Mirror statements

Repetition of candidates key substance and then


wait for expansion and/or explanation

So your approach when something is difficult is to work harder.

Loaded

Situation where two divergent approaches were


both considered (good indicator of candidates
decision-making approaches and judgment)

What would be your approach to a situation where . . .

Half-right reflexive

Partially correct statements that ask the candidate


to agree

Ive always thought customer-service should start


after the bill has been paid. Havent you?

Leading
that?

Providing too much information before asking

We believe that the client comes first. How do you feel a bout

a question
Question layering
situation

Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

Like peeling an onion, probes meaning of answers

Describe a time you worked under pressure. How did the pressure
arise? What can be done to avoid the situation from reoccurring?

-65-

TEST YOUR CASE

Test your case informally and refine as needed

Use two or three colleagues

Can you test all key points?

Does timing work?

Formal review of the case will be done with Recruiting

Inter-Train-Sept97-AHG

Write-up

One-on-one feedback session with Recruiting

-66-