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McKinsey interviewers: what factors cause you to advance a candidate to the next round or reject them? How can one best prepare for the interview?

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an ex McKinsey interviewer told me for the case portion: - conceptual problem solving: how well do u understand the different factors that affect the case. Basically, being mece and specific in your framework. Also, your creativity in brainstorming questions - analytical problem solving: how well can you break down a problem into inputs you need? Eg calculating breakeven point. What data do you need to find that number? - quantitative problem solving: your math skills under pressure PEI is looking for concise storytelling that demonstrate leadership, empathy, grit, and other characteristics of a colleague that is both hard working and easy to get along with

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Important to remember we work in very small teams (EM+1 to EM+3 is standard). Core thing you’re trying to crack is the question “Would I want to work with you on a project?” So read your interviewer - be able to get along and work with them to get to a good solution at the end of the day. It is not a test, just a way for you to demonstrate your problems-solving style. If you keep a check list of “I need to do mental math, I need to ask about their best project, I need to do xyz” that is a recipe for disaster Bc it is not authentic. It makes it clear you don’t see them as someone you think of as a member of the firm (or that you would see again someday) and are being transactional vs. being real. I try to tell folks... Pretend you already have the job. By the time you get invited to interview, we assume you are talented and smart enough to do the job. Frame this discussion as just the Monday morning meeting, where you flew into some random airport and met this person for the first time. And you two are building a hypothetical answer / game plan for your next 2 months worth of working together, and you’re having a convo at lunch or at the bar explaining who you are. — Also, there is no quota. We put in our evaluation for each interview independently. If you interview 8 folks in a day, might pass all 8, 0, or anywhere in between. I triangulate all the evidence you demonstrate of above skills (quant, qual, hard/soft, what you express about yourself in pei) and think about do you have the natural talents and approach where I’d like to work on a team with you. Or if we don’t do content work that overlaps, would I refer you to my friends & feel confident in associating my reputation with yours.

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Following.

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Not an interviewer, but my approach was to get to the point in case prep where I actually looked forward to solving the problem, and put the best examples of yourself forward for PEI (our website shows what we look for). And I mean best, make sure you stand out in both sections. Also, the basics for interviewing will always apply. Don’t be a robot, be conversational, be confident.

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