The case study is one of the last stages of an interview process. It involves candidates getting given a brief, usually a business or organisational scenario where you have to demonstrate your analytical, reasoning and communication skills.
The case study is designed to access your ability to recognise the problem, and find a solution that is the best for your business. The case study can be presented in the form of a presentation, but usually the candidate will present their findings to the interviewer. The key is solve the problem, stick to the brief and don't go off track!
Case studies are not intended to test your business acumen but more to test your commercial awareness - testing for key business concepts Eg. revenue, fixed and variable costs, profit, market share, customers, product lines, competitors and stakeholders.
When taking part in a case study, it will require you to solve the problem during the interview. It will not require extensive knowledge of specific industries or processes and there might not be a right or wrong answer. Sometimes, your questions and thought processes will be more important to the interview than coming up with an actual situation.
How to prepare for a Case Study
To prepare for a case study, you can review some practise cases online. These examples might give you an idea of what to expect in the case study portion of the interview. On the day of the interview, make sure to stay relaxed and be yourself.
Listen to the interviewer and ask questions
The interviewer will begin by outlining the problem. Take your time to align your thinking, ask any questions you may have and communicate your reasoning to the interviewer. The interviewer might also provide you with hints, so don't be afraid to take notes.
Generate a hypothesis and explore options
Make suggestions on how to solve the key issues you have identified. The interviewer will be looking for the same things that a client would expect when working with the business.
Demonstrate business judgement
Given that there is only limited information available, the interview will ask you some difficult questions about your feedback, to test your capability to use your judgement and back up your reasoning.
Don't panic if the answer is not apparent
There is no right or wrong answer in a case study and you are not expected to know everything about the business. The objective of this type of interview is for the interview to learn about your approach to solving business problems, so make sure you discuss your line of thought with them.
The best way to view the case study is that it is just another part of the recruitment process, it isn't something to worry about. Hiring Managers just want the best possible fit for their business and case studies as a great way to assess that.
Remember to keep your cool and don't overthink the question or scenario. Follow the tips above to prepare effectively and move one step closer to securing the position!