Skip to main content


Interview Prep

Mock Interview/Interview Clinics

Schedule a mock interview with Career Services staff  and/or attend interview workshops to receive feedback and prepare for your upcoming interviews.

InterviewStream

Upcoming interview? Need some practice? Through a virtual mock interview platform, InterviewStream is the perfect tool to help you prepare for a variety of interview questions.

Dress for Interview Success

Guidelines for professional attire and appearance.

Jump to Behavioral based interview questions

Situation

You should define the general context of the situation, describe others involved (if any), and mention the problem you had to overcome. Use examples from past internships, class projects, community service, or other work experience.

Ex: During winter quarter, I participated in a team of three for a case competition that required our team to assess Boeing’s marketing strategy

Task

Explain what you were supposed to do. Describe the key objective and specific issues addressed in the situation above. In examples where you were working as a group, be sure to explain both the overall task of the group and your specific role so the interviewer knows how you contributed to the project.

Ex: My team had 48 hours to create a strategic plan to improve Boeing’s marketing approach. We were given information about Boeing’s past marketing development and needed to build upon their previous work or suggest a new advertising plan of our own. We decided to create an ew advertising plan. for which I was responsible for creating the budget.

Action

Describe what you did to accomplish your task. This should be the most substantial part of your response. Explain what actions you took in the situation to complete the task and achieve your end result. Include any skills you used—soft or hard skills—in your answer. Be sure to keep the focus of your answer on you. If you use an example where you worked in a group, focus on your individual participation.

Ex: I researched competitors and analyzed their financial reports to determine the industry average for advertising expenses. I then looked to Boeing’s advertising budget from last year to allocate appropriate expenses to our advertising plan. I also created a net present value analysis to show the value of our advertising plan to the business over Boeing’s previous advertising campaign.

Results

Identify your accomplishments. Describe the outcome that happened as a result of the actions you took. Include descriptions of the objectives you successfully completed and what you learned from this entire experience. Where possible, quantify your results. Numbers make your results seem more tangible to employers. Also remember that many behavioral interview questions try to see how you responded to negative situations. In those cases, focus on any positive outcomes or learning experiences you had.

Ex: My team and I made it to final rounds and placed first out of 25 teams for the Boeing case competition. Through the experience, I was able to sharpen my analytical skills, and understand how to present data in a way that would help others make decisions. I also learned how to work effectively in a team under a high-stress situation.

Top 25 Behavioral Based Interview Questions

1. Tell me about yourself.

2. Why should we hire you?

3. What is your greatest strength?

4. Give an example of when you had to work with someone who was difficult to get along with. Why was this person difficult? How did you handle that person?

5. What role have you typically played as a member of a team?

6. When thinking about leadership styles, what kind of supervisor do you work best for? Provide examples.

7. Give an example of a time you had to make an important decision. How did you make the decision? What factors did you have to consider?

8. Give an example of how you provided leadership and direction under unusually difficult circumstances.

9. Tell me about a time when you were approached by an unhappy customer, co-worker or team member. What was your response?

10. Give a specific example of a time when you used good judgment and logic in solving a problem.

11. Give an example of a time in which you had to be relatively quick in coming to a decision.

12. Tell me about a time when you came up with an innovative solution to a challenge your company/class/organization was facing. What was the challenge and the outcome?

13. Tell me about a time when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to get a job done.

14. Describe a time when you were not very satisfied or pleased with your performance. What did you do about it?

15. Often our work environments require that numerous tasks to be completed simultaneously, which can put demands on us. Give an example of when you were in this type of situation and how you resolved it.

16. Describe a task or project for which you were responsible for that best demonstrates your ability to analyze information.

17. Recall a time from your work experience when your manager or supervisor was unavailable and a problem arose. What was the nature of the problem? How did you handle the situation?

18. By providing examples, convince me that you can adapt to a wide variety of people, situations and environments.

19. Tell of some situations in which you have had to adjust quickly to changes over which you had no control. What was the impact of the change on you?

20. Describe a situation when you needed the cooperation of many diverse people in order to succeed. How did your approach vary from one person to the next?

21. Where do you see yourself in the next 5 to 10 years?

22. Sometimes it’s easy to get in “over your head.” Describe a situation where you had to request help or assistance on a project or assignment.

23. Describe how you prioritize your time between multiple classes, school projects and outside activities.

24. Tell me about a time when you failed to meet a deadline. What things did you fail to do? What were the repercussions? What did you learn?

25. What steps have you taking to overcome a weakness?

Phone interviews are used to pre‐screen candidates before inviting them to an in‐person interview. Follow these suggestions and you will be on your way to acing your next phone interview.

Find a good environment

A quiet environment is much more conducive to a good phone interview. Try to schedule a room in PACCAR, in Foster Career Services or make the call from your room so that you can concentrate and eliminate any background noise. Check your phone’s reception before the call to ensure you have good cell service.

Be well prepared

Have a copy of your transcript, resume, and the job description in front of you. Prepare notes and questions about the position and/or company so you have discussion opƟons if there is a lull in the conversation. If given the opportunity, ask questions—this is as much of a chance for you to screen the company as it is for the company to screen you.

Listen carefully

Actively listen when you are asked a question and think before responding. It is perfectly acceptable to take a couple seconds to fully understand a quesƟon and form a quality answer instead
of saying what first comes to mind—just let the interviewers know you are taking a moment to think. This will also help eliminate “ums” and “uhs” in conversation.

Stay on topic

Without non‐verbal cues, it is difficult to read how your interviewer processes your answers. You want your answers to be direct and to the point, and avoid rambling. Use the S.T.A.R. method for a guideline for your responses.

Dress up

Even though the interviewer will not physically see you, dressing for the interview like you normally would for an in-person interview will help you feel more confident and professional.

Smile

Smiling while you speak enables you to maintain a natural and upbeat tone without becoming monotone in pitch. It also helps convey excitement and energy over the phone. Tone and voice quality carry a much more significant weight in phone interviews than in‐person interviews because that is all the interviewer has to focus on.

Guides

Vault

Books

Case in Point: Case Interview Preparation by Marc P. Cosentino
Crack the Case: How to Conquer Your Case Interviews by David Ohrvall
Management Consulting: A Complete Guide to the Industry by Sugata Biswas and Daryl Twitchell
The Harvard Business School Guide to Careers in Management Consulting by Maggie Lu
http://Imahal.com/careers/management/interviews/interviews_case_strategies

Company Websites

Boston Consulting Group
McKinsey Corporation
Bain
The Monitor Group
Deloitte

Other Websites

Inside Consulting
Novantas case interviews online
Case Interview
Glass Door

Sample Consulting Interview Questions (Brainteasers and Case)

 

Brainteasers

How much revenue does the SeaTac airport generate in a year?

How many lattes were sold in Seattle last year?

How many gas stations are there in the State of Washington?

How many computers are there on the University of Washington’s campus?

How many one dollar bills would it take to completely cover the Empire State Building?

How many male jeans were sold in the US last year?

If you have a box of 312 red and white socks (split 50% red and 50% white), how many socks would you have to pull out until you get one complete pair?

If I gave you a die, and for every roll you earned $1 (a 1=$1, 6=$6), how much would you be willing to pay to play the game?
a. What if I allowed you to roll it a second time, how much would you pay to roll it again?
b. What if I let you roll it indefinitely?

It is 3:15 on a clock, what is the angle between the minute and hour hand?

If there is a pond with a lily pad in the middle, and the lily pad doubles in size every minute, and the pond is completely covered by the lily pad in an hour, how long will it take until 1/4 of the pond is covered?

Cases

Your client is a Telecom company and they are thinking of entering the business services market. What are the different ways they could enter? What are the pros and cons of each? Which do you recommend?

Your client is a glass manufacturer and is thinking about adding a new type of product. Do you think they should add a new type of glass bottle? What would be the costs associated with this move? Will it be profitable?

You have 9 balls and a balance scale. All of them are the same weight accept for one. What is the least number of times you could use the scale and still determine which is of non-uniform weight?

Your client has decided to automate much of its HR function through a new website. Benefits, pay, enrollment, etc will no longer be done in a face to face setting with local HR representatives. How would you communicate this to the entire company via a memo?

Your client is a long distance telecom / high speed internet provider. Revenue is going down and competition is up. The company is looking to diversify into managed services. How can it do this and what does it need to think about?

Here is a chart of how your company’s sales force utilization, costs, etc. have changed over the past two years. Why do they look like this? What can you infer?

Your client is a sausage company. They have decided to enter the bratwurst market. Who should they target? What are the best distribution networks for them to utilize? What are the best ways for them to test their product in the market?

Case – Calculate the size of the Argentinean wine market. Show your logic.

Case – Calculate the size of the recyclable waste market in the United States. Show your logic.

Case – Name a company that has gone through the rebranding process recently, and give your evaluation.

Case Feedback – What do you think you did well during your case? (Perhaps more importantly)- What didn’t go well and why?

Estimate the Argentinean Wine Market: What are major costs and implications of starting such a business overseas?

Estimate the average waste produced in the U.S. every year: Would you invest in a company that turns this waste into energy?

Maximize cruise-line boat usage: A company has a fixed number of boats for 5 regions of the globe. Based on the season and the number of boats in that sector each boat will have a varying degree of profitability and moving a boat costs a certain price… (i.e., if you move a boat from the Atlantic to the Pacific the profit/boat in the Pacific decreases and the profit/boat in the Atlantic Increases). By far the hardest case I’ve done – What are the major costs associated with a cruise line? What is the most profitable allocation of boats?

Analyzing the acquisition of another company: You are approached with a deal to buy a coffin making company. What is the size of the coffin market in the United States (Death Market)? Good business decision?

This list of resources includes books, websites and reading materials to assist in the preparation for finance interviews.

Reading Materials

The Wall Street Journal
The Economist
The Financial Times

Books

The Harvard Business School Guide to Careers in Finance
Barbarians at the Gate by Bryan Burrough and John Helyar
Liar’s Poker by Michael Lewis
When Genius Failed by Roger Lowenstein

Websites

Damodaran Online
Career Overview: Investment Baking Careers and Job Information
New York Stock Exchange

Guide

Vault
[/su_spoiler]

Finance Interview Questions

Sample Finance Interview Questions (Common & In-Depth)

 

Common Interview Questions

How do you calculate free cash flow?

What are the three ways to value a firm, and walk me through each one?

If a company with a low P/E acquires a firm with a higher P/E, will this be accretive or dilutive?

Suppose depreciation increases, how does this flow through the 3 financial statements?

Explain the pros and cons of components of capital structure (debt/equity)?

What metrics would a CEO of a financial institution focus on in this environment?

Which has a higher beta, the beta of a refrigerator company, or the beta of a casino?

How do you calculate WACC?

How has the financial crisis affect the calculation of WACC?

If the Fed raises interest rates, what happens to the price of bonds?

Please walk me through a DCF. Where does debt fit into a DCF model?

What are the different ways to value a company?

What is the federal funds rate?

Please tell me about supply and demand? How does this concept affect the financial markets?

In-Depth Interview Questions

What are accretion/dilution, and what metrics are used to determine this?

How many years would you use as the base period for a technology firm in a DCF vs. a more mature company?

Discuss how the drop in the stock market has affected the valuation of stock options?

Suppose a firm is valued at $15 million and when I do the DCF it is valued at $10 million. What
could this difference be from? How is this impacted on the 3 financial statements?

Suppose depreciation increases, how does this flow through the 3 financial statements?

If you were a factory owner and you could either lease it or take out a loan, which would be the better option?

Walk me through an LBO model?

If I gave you $1m to invest, where would you allocate it?

Where do you think the market is headed?

What do you think will happen to the fed funds rate in the next 3-6 months?

Walk me through your entire investment banking final project of the M&A deal you pitched to the class?