Playing For Time In The Case Interview

Playing for Time

(Source: Flickr)

If you get stuck during a case question then there are four (4) things you can do to regain momentum.

  1. If the interviewer has just given you some information then you can say something like “let me take a second to consider that information”. You can safely stay silent for up to 90 seconds or so while writing down and reviewing the key facts of the case. Although don’t take longer than you need.
  2. You can summarize where you are up to so far. Summarizing your position can help you pull your head above water and see the bigger picture. It will also buy you some time to think while you are talking.
  3. Consider the Three C’s Framework (customer, competition, company). Is there an obvious element of the case that you haven’t considered?
  4. Ask the interviewer for help. If you are truly stuck, then it is better to ask for help than to spin your wheels and create a prolonged and awkward silence.

[For more information on consulting interviews, please download “The HUB’s Guide to Consulting Interviews“.]