Case-based Interviews: How Marketers Should Prepare

Any seasoned marketing executive is more than likely familiar with a job interview process and different types of interviews out there. However, one specialized kind of interview has been on a notable rise in the marketing executive search world: the case-based interview.

When organizations conduct a marketing executive search, they look for candidates who are able to demonstrate their analytical skills, problem-solving abilities, and the capability to think strategically and logically. Case-based interviews allow marketing recruiters and employers to test their ability to effectively process real-life business problems and come up with strategic solutions.

This is particularly important for marketing executive searches, as employers need to gauge how candidates can apply their skills toward real-life business cases. Ultimately, the way you come up with a solution for a case and how you communicate it  will substantially contribute to your interview success… or failure.

The Rise of Case-Based Interviews in Marketing Executive Search

How Marketing Executives Can Successfully Master Case-Based Interviews

Three Types of Case-based Interviews in Marketing Executive Search

  1. A simple business question: a vague question a marketing recruiter or an interviewer can ask you. While the question is simple, with little details available, the answer is expected to be elaborate. Example: “Should we go into Latin America?”
  2. A specific business question: a very detailed question specific to the business. It generally addresses a business-specific issue or pain point.
  3. A presentation-style question: an interviewer can ask you to present a solution to the interview panel or to a larger group of people.

During case-based interviews, employers generally test your IQ and your EQ. They need to assess your emotional maturity and how you react in a difficult situation. Therefore, how you handle the case is just as important as what you say about it.

5 Steps to Success

Regardless of the type of a case-based interview, there are key measures to take to succeed in it:

  1. Break the question down into manageable pieces to better tackle each one and communicate how you think through them.
  2. Walk the interviewer through how you solve each one of those pieces. Each area you’ve broken it down into is essentially a separate business problem.
  3. Do the math. Marketing recruiters and employers want to see that you can logically use numbers to validate your hypothesis with a strong support of data.
  4. Define the problem after you have analytics to support your solution so the interviewer can fully understand the process you went through in solving it.
  5. Clearly communicate the solution once you have defined the problem and have the data to support it. It’s important to remember that in many cases you’re communicating with C-level executives so demonstrating emotional maturity is key.

Prepare Like You Mean It

marketing executive search marketing recruiters

Ultimately, the success of a case-based interview depends on how well you’re prepared for it and how much you practiced it. Make sure to take time to find examples of relevant case-based interviews and run through them. Consider practicing with a peer, which is the most effective way to prepare for a real-life scenario.

Practicing with numbers will certainly help you avoid freezing up when asked to provide data and analytics. Run simple formulas through your head so it comes more naturally. Practicing an entire case-based interview will ensure you’re able to demonstrate critical thinking and communication skills that high-level executives are looking for.

You Know You Face a Case-based Interview When…

There are certain industries and executives with specific backgrounds that are more likely to use case-based interviews. Businesses in management consulting, financial or technology services are certainly likely to conduct them, as well as interviewers that come from a high-level institution, such as Harvard or Emory.

Step by Step How-to

To get detailed information on how to successfully take on case-based interviews and what to expect after, make sure to watch this video:

Bonus Tips for Success

  • Ask questions to comprehensively understand the case you’re given
  • Take notes throughout the interview
  • Develop a logical framework and hypothesis you can clearly explain
  • Collect your thoughts and prepare yourself before explaining
  • Use the case as an opportunity to learn about the business
  • Structure your solution into a logical story
  • Keep up with trends in relevant industries
  • Project confidence and enthusiasm