Consulting Prep | Fit Interview — Pitfalls I

Consulting Prep  | Fit Interview — Pitfalls I


Today I will talk about the Fit Interview. A student from LBS asked me:
“What are the pitfalls?” Before I go into those pitfalls, let me frame the Fit Interview,
so you understand what it is about. The Fit Interview,
or the Personal Experience Interview, is how the interview starts. For 15 to 20 minutes, it is a discussion that is centered around
your experiences on the one hand; both accomplishments, but also challenges, and on the other hand your
interests, your motivations. And the way it works is:
I will be asking you questions. It can be questions from your CV, which I receive briefly before
entering the interview room, or it can be questions that I ask openly. For example, a question
from your CV may be: ‘I see here that you were project leader
for this company. Tell me: What was your biggest achievement there?’ Or, if I ask an open question, it can be: Tell me about a time, where you
had to solve a conflict in a team. Now, let’s go into the pitfalls that
I see candidates falling into, and that I want you to avoid. The first one is focusing
on the wrong skills. In the Fit Interview, I am looking for
two skills, and two skills alone. I’m not looking into
the problem solving skills. That’s in the case! In the Case Interview, I am evaluating your analytical, conceptual and quantitative skills, but in the Personal Experience,
it’s another skillset: It’s the behavioural skills. And there are two behavioural skills
that interest me as an interviewer. The first one is drive. It’s your goal-orientation! – it’s your entrepreneurial spirit
to find opportunities – and your persistence, your perseverance,
in the face of challenges. And the second skill that
I’m looking for is leadership: How good you are at leading people, at persuading people; at working in teams. So those are the only two skills
I care about, and I’ll give you an example of how
a candidate – brilliant candidate – did amazing in the Case Interview, but I didn’t pass him, because he fell into this first pitfall. He focused on the wrong skill
– I asked him: “Tell me about a time,
where you worked in a team.” He shared with me a story, where he was doing research
with another colleague, and they had to go through a big data set; they went to libraries
to collect a lot of data – digitised data. This candidate that I was interviewing
found a way to optimise the process, so after one week, he was done,
and he went back home. And that was the skill he told me
to show his teamwork abilities – of course it didn’t work. When you have to prove your skills, you can use experiences from your
personal life or your academic life, not only work experiences,
but focus on, for example: If you want to show a drive, in your academic life, it can be prizes
that you won, it can be your grades. In your hobbies, it can be that
you launched a musical album that shows that you persevered
and went through all the stages. And in your work, it can be that
you identified an opportunity to improve collections
at your company, for example. That’s drive!
And then leadership: Leadership, again, can be in
work related issues, where you led a project, led a team
– persuaded someone, did a negotiation, but it can also be outside, as
a volunteer organising an event or even in your school, being an organiser
or a leader of a student association. Now, very important to
keep focus on the skills, and it’s either drive or leadership, so forget about showing
analytical or conceptual; all the skills that are not relevant! In the Fit Interview, I care only
about those two skills. The second pitfall is ‘we’ instead of ‘I’. Many candidates, when they tell
their experiences, they say: ‘We did this, and then we convinced
the director of the company, and we analysed,
and we achieved this result…’ I don’t care about ‘we’! I’m interviewing you! Not your team! I’m not interested in the average
of that group of people, I’m interested in your specific skills, so please, never use ‘we’;
always frame it as ‘I’! This is what I did, and this
is the result that I got. Otherwise – remember – I will not be able to assess your role
in that specific situation.

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