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Handling the Consulting Interview Fear Factor

Most candidates find interviewing with top management consulting firms intimidating—these are prestigious institutions known for their ruthless selection process and incredibly high competition to enter.

It can become a problem when top candidates are so intimidated that their fear affects their interview performance. The good news is that there are things you can do to avoid this scenario.

In this article, we share three strategies you can use to reduce the chances of fear and nerves getting the better of you during your interviews.

Key Takeaways:

  • Practice interviews to build confidence – aim for 25 practice cases with other people.
  • Get familiar with the firm and the people before your interview through online research, information sessions, and by interacting with consultants at recruiting events.
  • Keep in mind that your consulting interviewer wants you to succeed.
  • Leverage CaseCoach’s experienced coaching team to experience doing a case in a realistic interview setting.
  • Pretending to be confident, even though you don’t feel like it, can still produce similar results as real confidence.

Practice interviews to build confidence

Confidence is purely based on evidence of your ability, or in other words, evidence of your past performance. The more evidence your brain has of being able to handle case interviews successfully, the more confident and secure you will feel in the interview.

We recommend you do at least 25 live practice case interviews with other people to build the skills and confidence you need to succeed. You’ve probably heard this before, but preparing for consulting interviews is no walk in the park and requires consistent and dedicated learning and practice. To book practice sessions with other candidates, just head to the Practice section on CaseCoach. It’s free!

And don’t forget the fit interview! The questions about your experience, track record, and motivations are equally as important as the case interview, so make sure to dedicate some of your prep time to these questions as well.

Get familiar with the firm and the people before your interview

A lot of the fear faced by candidates comes from a lack of familiarity with both the firm they have applied to, and the people they expect to interact with throughout the interview process. The only way to remedy this is to get familiar with the firm and the people you’re likely to meet before your interview.

You can do this through online research, information sessions and in material shared by your recruiter. Recruiting events are another great way to know both the firm and it’s people (And potentially your interviewers). Speak to consultants at recruiting events and ask lingering questions to know as much as possible before your interviews.

Looking for the best preparation to ace your case interviews?
CaseCoach’s Interview Prep Course includes all the video lectures, sample interviews, case material, and practice tools you need.

Remember that the interviewer is on your side

Some candidates have the notion that their consulting interviewers would try to trip them up at several points during the interview as a means to test them. This couldn’t be further from the truth!

Your interviewers want you to succeed. There is nothing worse for an interviewer than spending the day interviewing candidates and having made no offers to show for it.

Your interviewers might challenge you, but that’s generally to see how far you can go and to give you the opportunity to shine. But if you stumble, you can trust that they will do everything they can to help you get back on your feet.

Do mock interviews in a realistic setting

It is difficult to be afraid of a situation you’ve faced severally beforehand. Coaching sessions with ex-interviewers from your firm can simulate the interview experience and help you get over your nerves before your interview date.

Make sure to book a coaching session with one of our top-tier former consultants at CaseCoach. Testing your skills in a realistic setting with a consultant is the best way to put your preparation to the test and to learn what it really takes to land an offer.

Fake it ‘til you make it!

Pretending not to be afraid is a surprisingly efficient strategy! A good watch on the topic of confidence is the TED talk “Your body language shapes who you are” by Amy Cuddy, Professor and Researcher at Harvard Business School, where she describes how positive body posture can help build confidence.

Finally, if you’re struggling to feel confident on the day, instead of focusing on the life-changing nature of the interview, focus on the opportunity to meet fascinating people and solve fun cases. Not only will it help you relax, but it will also help you be positive and engaging while you lead the case.

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