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.

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.

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.

Genuinely connect with your interviewer

This point is particularly important for undergraduate students and anyone who finds themselves getting shy around new people.

One of the key ingredients to landing an offer from McKinsey, BCG or Bain is to genuinely connect with your interviewer. The reason this is important is that you want them to be able to imagine you working on their team, to remember you at the end of a full day of interviews, and to want to get to know you better.

But if you’re feeling nervous or intimidated, it will be difficult for you to build a genuine connection with the interviewer.

Remember that 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.

To help you feel at ease, we recommend that you spend time speaking to consultants at recruiting events, reaching out to consultant alumni from your university and even doing a few practice cases with former consultants. This will help to reduce the intimidation factor on the day.

Fake it ‘til you feel 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.

Want personalized feedback on your case skills so you can walk into the interview with confidence on the day?

Make sure to book a coaching session with one of our top tier former consultants at CaseCoach.com. Testing your skills in a real interview 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.

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