How to Succeed During a Case Study for an Interview

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 3 December 2022 | Published 3 January 2022

Updated 3 December 2022

Published 3 January 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Case study interviews can seem daunting, but if you know what to expect, you can make a great impression on your interviewer. Employers use case interviews to test your soft skills and your ability to use logical reasoning. Knowing what to do during the interview might help you set yourself apart from the other candidates and ultimately lead to you getting the job.

In this article, we explore how to succeed during a case study for an interview, explain what a case study is, provide you with advice on how to answer the interviewer's questions and finally offer you 14 examples of potential questions you might encounter.

Related: What Are Case Study Interviews? (Plus Interview Tips)

What is a case study for an interview?

When conducting a case study interview, employers are testing to see if they can feel secure and satisfied putting the candidate in front of a client. Case study interviews are an important part of the hiring process. Professional service firms use this tool to test your abilities. Namely, they want to understand the extent of your analytical, reasoning, problem-solving and communication skills. Their purpose is to see how well you're able to analyse a question, identify the situation's key issues and draw strong conclusions from your analysis. Finance, management and consulting firms frequently use this type of interview.

Related: How to Sell Yourself in an Interview (With Interview Tips)

How to succeed during a case study interview

Following this advice may help you succeed during a case study interview:

1. Prepare beforehand

One way to increase your chances of succeeding during this particular section of the interview is to prepare beforehand. Employers always look for certain skills during this type of interview, so researching what kind of candidate the company is looking for can help you prepare. One way to do this is by checking the position's job description. Employers typically look for confidence, adaptability, dependability and logical thinking.

Related: Adaptability Skills: Definition, Examples and Tips

2. Practise in advance

To make sure you prepare yourself as much as possible, you might consider practising before your interview. Make sure that you understand the framework of case studies. Interviewers usually frame them as business scenarios, but prepare for as many potential situations as possible. Afterwards, you can review any questions you think the employer might ask you. Consider holding mock interviews with your friends or family members, so you can practise active listening and responding.

Related: How To Prepare for an Interview

3. Ask questions

During your interview, it's important that you behave in a way that appeals to the interviewer. You can do so by remembering to show proper manners. For example, one quality that employers look for during case studies is active listening. When the interviewer is explaining the case study and asking you questions, remember to listen attentively to everything they say. When they finish speaking, you can ask further questions to clarify the information they provided. Try to remain engaged throughout the entire process to show that you're fully present and excited to be there.

Related: What Is Active Listening? With Tips for Improvement

4. Formulate your answer carefully

When responding, it's essential that you formulate your answer carefully. Take some time to think over the information rather than answering straight away. What's necessary for you to remember is that case studies usually don't have just one correct answer. The interviewer is typically more interested in how you approach the situation and what methods you use to reach your answer. To make the best impression possible, include all important information in your approach, remember all the necessary facts, only make assumptions you can defend and use logic when formulating your answer.

Related: Inductive vs. Deductive Reasoning: Differences and How To Improve

Common types of case study questions

Before your interview, it's helpful to know what kinds of questions you might encounter. While there are several types, you're likely to encounter case questions belonging to one of these common categories:

Client questions

This type of question asks you to analyse a client's issue. The situation can be either actual or theoretical. For example, the interviewer may ask you what advice you can give to a business that wants to develop its online presence. This question tests your industry knowledge and is an important indicator of how you might perform in the presence of an actual client. Therefore, remember to display confidence and competence when answering so the interviewer sees you as someone they can trust.

Estimation questions

Estimation questions ask you to use your critical thinking skills to answer a question using only what limited knowledge you already have. This tests your ability to use logic when formulating your answer. The interviewer usually doesn't expect you to find the right answer. Rather, they want to see how you approach the question. For example, the interviewer might ask you how many passenger cars you think there are in Singapore.

Related: 9 Essential Critical Thinking Skills and How To Develop Them

Graphic interpretation questions

This question tests your analytical skills by asking you to interpret data from a graph or chart. The data might be real or fictional, but the important thing is that you're able to correctly interpret and draw a conclusion from it. Before your interview, make sure that you're familiar with the different types of charts and graphs you may encounter.

Related: What Are Analytical Skills and Why Are They Important for Employment?

Tips for answering case study interview questions

These are some tips you can keep in mind during this segment of the interview:

Take a moment to collect your thoughts

After the interviewer finishes providing you with the necessary details, it's advisable that you pause to understand and review the information. Pausing, rather than answering straight away, shows the interviewer that you're competent and engaged. It's acceptable to take a minute or two before answering the question. Before you do so, it's polite to ask the interviewer if you can have a moment to review the case and collect your thoughts.

Related: 8 Buzzwords for Interview Questions (Plus Interview Tips)

Remember to think out loud

When you're analysing a case, there's usually more than just one correct answer. Interviewers are typically as interested in your analysis and conclusions as they are in your final resolution. After all, the purpose of a case study is for the potential employer to gain insight into your thought process and analytical abilities. When you're working out the case and formulating your answers, remember to think out loud. Keep the interviewer up to date while you're taking notes, making diagrams and analysing the situation.

Concentrate on the important details

To prevent yourself from feeling overwhelmed by the amount of information, make sure that you focus on the details that are of the greatest importance. When you begin, start by prioritising the various problems and objectives. This can help you identify what issues are significant and maintain your focus. Throughout the process, remember to ask questions you may have. This can provide you with clues that may help you if you're taking the wrong approach to the question.

Be creative

While interviewers want you to use a logical framework when answering their questions, don't be afraid to think creatively. If possible, you may find a unique solution that sets you apart from the competition. Just make sure that your answer makes sense. This means supporting your answer and reasoning with logic that the interviewer can easily follow.

Related: Hard Skills Vs. Soft Skills: Definitions and Examples

Follow good etiquette

Your etiquette when participating in case interviews is the same as when you're in any other job interview. Remember to maintain eye contact, exude confidence and remain engaged throughout the meeting. Make sure to also follow the common courtesies. For example, allow the interviewer to finish speaking before providing your own input.

Examples of case study interview questions

Here are some questions you may encounter during a case study interview:

  1. What's the market capitalisation of Sunnyside Firm?

  2. How many automobiles are sold in Singapore every year?

  3. How would you redesign the mobile app of Sunnyside Firm to make it more user-friendly?

  4. How many golf balls can fit in the average elevator?

  5. How many hawker centres are there in Singapore?

  6. Sunnyside Firm has a high revenue, but their production costs are causing them to operate at a loss. What's a possible explanation for this predicament?

  7. Sunnyside Firm is struggling. What are its three main problems and how can you fix them?

  8. What's a low-cost, yet effective, way of introducing a product into a foreign market?

  9. Create a marketing strategy for Sunnyside Firm's most popular product line.

  10. What are the risks and benefits that companies might consider when entering a foreign market, as opposed to their own local market?

  11. Why are manholes never square?

  12. Your client sells clothes in various retailers throughout the country. Because their revenue is decreasing, they're also considering selling snacks and beverages in their stores. What advice can you offer them?

  13. Sunnyside Firm wants to expand its business. Do you recommend pursuing a merger, acquisition, strategic alliance, joint venture or purchase?

  14. A local business is seeing a rapid loss of profits after a major competitive threat enters its market. What advice can you give this small business on how they can respond to the new threat?

Related: Answering 'What Can You Offer That Another Can't?' Interview Question

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article is affiliated with Indeed.

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