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Different types of case studies are used in assessment centers. Companies may use a case study interview or a written exercise (In-Tray and E-Tray exercise). Case studies are used to measure your analytic skills, problem-solving abilities, communication skills and ability to deliver quality and results. These exercises also help to determine how you prioritize and organize your work.
During a case study interview, individuals or a small group of candidates are presented with a business case and then given time to evaluate the information and brainstorm a solution. These studies rely on real-life or hypothetical scenarios and are likely to involve a quantitative aspect that includes financial understanding, statistics, and other data. Candidate(s) have to give a recommendation or solution that refers to the integration of the presented information. Consultancy and business management companies use these tests as part of their selection process.
These tests usually do not require any prior knowledge. Nevertheless, before taking these tests, it is recommended to check the particular company's website, recruitment literature and the industry's overview and recent news to have an idea of what to expect during the exercises. Furthermore, you can identify some of the competencies the company is likely looking for, and try to work them into your case study.
- Don’t panic and try to relax. We know this is easier said than done, but you will have a better performance if you are relaxed. The interviewers are professionals, and they want you to succeed and perform well.
- Take your time. Do not feel rushed to provide an answer immediately, work through the issues and ask the interviewer(s) for a moment to think or clarify anything you do not understand.
- Apply a structured approach to the problem to prioritize the issues and objectives. Filter the data and focus on the most relevant information.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions. The case interview is meant to be interactive, going back and forth between you and the interviewer(s). Questions are expected, but make sure to ask your questions in a logical – not random – progression.