Telephone Case Interview


Victor, thank you for your case interview videos and advice - a very valuable and user-friendly service. You emphasize the importance of working on paper, and sharing the written work with the interviewer (and friends of mine at consulting firms have emphasized the same).

I have a phone interview with BCG coming up in a week, and I was wondering if you have any advice on how to adjust to this dynamic.

Some of the advantages (I don't have to shave or comb) are outweighed by the disadvantages (can't share my work with the interviewer, can't see the interviewer's reactions/facial expressions, can't develop any kind of "eye-contact rapport" with the interviewer).

What are your thoughts on how to put my best self forward in a phone interview format? (there are two 45 minute interviews, back to back).

My Reply:

This type of communication format is a bit harder to work with, but still very much workable. The key is to still draw out on a piece of paper what you're thinking (even though the interview can't see it), and then used to describe what you drew.

So if you're using the profit = sales - costs framework, I would write that down and ask the interview to do the same.

Or if you're using the business situation framework, you can see please write the following four words side by side and draw a box around each one. These are the 4 key area's I'd to analyze as a part of this case, etc...

So bottom line, still draw, and then use words to describe what you drew and have the interviewer draw the same diagram on their end.

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2 comments… add one
  • Ahmad Feb 12, 2014, 3:50 am


    I have a case interview over the phone with Deloitte on Friday the 14th.

    How can I prepare for it? and what should I expect?

    I need some guidance please!

  • Brad Saunders Feb 3, 2012, 9:09 pm

    Dear Victor,

    You have certainly created a wonderful resource.

    My question is as follows: I have the option to conduct my first-round interview with Bain either on the phone or in person in New York.
    However, I live in DC and if I go to NY it would be at my own personal expense.

    I don’t mind the trouble of going there and I have no problem spending the money, but I don’t want to do it unless you think it will be truly worth doing so.

    I know the general consensus is that interviewing in person is preferable, but it seems to me that there may be some advantages to doing it on the phone as well–namely that I could create a note sheet to refer to in case I get stuck, I could take notes on my computer (I type much faster than I write by hand), and I could double-check my math with a calculator.

    What do you think about that?

    Thanks again,

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