Case Study Based Interview Tools

Case studies and testimonials are useful to have on hand. They help you earn a prospect’s trust, show them what life would be like as your customer, and validate that your product or service works. 

Consider creating a library of customer stories your sales team can use to share targeted and relevant content with your prospects via your website and sales proposals.

To build this library, you'll need case study interview questions that will surface valuable details and insights. The following list of 100 case study interview questions will help you build a narrative using the “Problem - Agitate - Solve” method. Use these prompts to get started and add more specific case study interview questions for your business or products.

How to Ask Your Customer for a Case Study

Before you can start putting together your case study, you need to ask your customer's permission. These email templates will come in handy.

If you have a customer who's seen success with your product, proactively send them this request:

Thank you & quick request

Hi [customer name],

Thanks again for your business -- working with you to [solve X, launch Y, take advantage of Z opportunity] has been extremely rewarding, and I'm looking forward to more collaboration in the future. 

[Name of your company] is building a library of case studies to include on our site.  We're looking for successful companies using [product] to solve interesting challenges, and your team immediately came to mind. Are you open to [customer company name] being featured? 

It should be a lightweight process -- [I, a product marketer] will ask you roughly [10, 15, 20] questions via email or phone about your experience and results. This case study will include a blurb about your company and a link to your homepage (which hopefully will make your SEO team happy!)

In any case, thank you again for the chance to work with you, and I hope you have a great week.

Best,

[Your name]

If one of your customers has recently passed along some praise (to you, their account manager, your boss; on an online forum; to another potential customer; etc.), then send them a version of this email:

 

Hey [customer name],

Thanks for the great feedback -- I'm really glad to hear [product] is working well for you and that [customer company name] is getting the results you're looking for.

My team is actually in the process of building out our library of case studies, and I'd love to include your story. Happy to provide more details if you're potentially interested.

Either way, thank you again, and I look forward to getting more updates on your progress.

Cheers,

[Your name]

You can also find potential case study customers by usage or product data. For instance, maybe you see a company you sold to 10 months ago just bought eight more seats or upgraded to a new tier. Clearly, they're happy with the solution. Try this template:

 

Hey [customer name],

I saw you just [invested in our X product; added Y more users; achieved Z product milestone]. Congratulations! I'd love to share your story using [product] with the world -- I think it's a great example of how our product + a dedicated team and a good strategy can achieve awesome results.

Are you open to being featured? If so, I'll send along more details.

Thank you,

[Your name]

The Ultimate List of Case Study Interview Questions

Case Study Interview Questions About the Customer’s Company 

  1. Would you give me a quick overview of [company]?
  2. Can you describe your role?
  3. How does your role and team fit into the company and its goals?
  4. How long has your company been in business?
  5. How many employees do you have?
  6. Is your company revenue available? If so, what is it?
  7. Who is your target customer?
  8. How does our product help your team or company achieve its objectives?
  9. How are our companies aligned (mission, strategy, culture, etc.)?
  10. How many people are on your team? What are their roles?

Case Study Interview Questions About the Customer’s Business Case

  1. How long have you been using our product?
  2. How many different people at your company use our product?
  3. Are there multiple departments or teams using our product?
  4. How do you and your team currently use the product? What types of goals or tasks are you using the product to accomplish?
  5. If there are other teams or departments using our product, do you know how they’re using it?
  6. What was the most obvious advantage you felt our product offered during the sales process?
  7. Were there any other advantages you discovered after using the product more regularly?
  8. Are there any metrics or KPIs you track with our product? What are they?
  9. Were you tracking any metrics prior to using our product? What were they?
  10. How has our product impacted your core metrics?

Case Study Interview Questions About the Decision Process

  1. How did you hear about our product?
  2. How long had you been looking for a solution to this problem?
  3. Were you comparing alternative solutions? Which ones?
  4. Would you describe a few of the reasons you decided to buy our product?
  5. What was the criteria you used when making the decision to buy our product?
  6. Were there any high-level initiatives or goals that prompted the decision to buy? For example, was this decision motivated by a company-wide vision?
  7. What was the buying process like? Did you notice anything exceptional or any points of friction?
  8. How would you have changed the buying process, if at all?
  9. Who were the decision makers from your team that were involved in the buying process?

Case Study Interview Questions About the Buying Team and Internal Advocates

  1. Are there any additional team members you consider to be advocates for our product? For example, does anyone stick out as a "power user" or product expert on your team?
  2. Is there anyone else on your team you think we should talk to?
  3. Are there any team members who you think might not be the biggest fans of our product or who might need more training? 
  4. Would you share some details about how your team implemented our product?
  5. Who from your company was involved in implementing our product?
  6. Were there any internal risks or additional costs involved with implementing our product? If so, how did you address them?
  7. Is there a training process in place for your team’s use of our product? If so, what does it look like?
  8. About how long does it take a new team member to get up to speed with our product?
  9. What was your main concern about rolling this product out to your company?
  10. What have people been saying about our product since they've started using it?

Case Study Interview Questions About the Environment Before the Purchase

  1. What was your team’s process prior to using our product?
  2. Were there any costs associated with the process prior to using our product?
  3. What were the major pain points of your process prior to using our product?
  4. Did our product replace a similar tool or is this the first time your team is using a product like this?
  5. What other challenges were you and your team experiencing prior to using our product?
  6. Were there any concerns about how your customers would be impacted by using our product?
  7. Why didn't you buy our product or a similar product earlier?
  8. Were there any "dealbreakers" involved in your decision to become a customer?
  9. Did you have to make any changes you weren’t anticipating once you became a customer?
  10. How has your perception of the product changed since you’ve become a customer?

Case Study Interview Questions About Customer Success

  1. By using our product can you measure any reduced costs?
  2. By using our product can you measure any improvements in productivity or time savings?
  3. By using our product can you measure any increases in revenue or growth?
  4. Are you likely to or have you recommended our product to a friend or colleague?
  5. How has our product impacted your success? Your team's success?
  6. In the beginning you had XYZ concerns; how do you feel about them now?
  7. I noticed your team is currently doing XYZ with our product; tell me more about how that helps your business.
  8. Have you thought about using our product for a new use case with your team or at your company?
  9. How do you measure the value our product provides?
  10. What will it take for you and your team to get the most value out of our product?

Case Study Interview Questions About Product Feedback

  1. Is there anything about the product you would like to see changed or improved?
  2. Do you have any feature requests or suggestions for our team?
  3. What is your favorite feature or part of our product? Why?
  4. What is the feature or part of our product that you or your team use most frequently? Why?
  5. Have you used our customer support resources? If so, do you have any feedback from your experience?
  6. Have you checked out any of our support content or training resources recently? What do you think?
  7. Are there any content or support documents you would like to see us work on and share?
  8. Do you have any overall feedback or advice for us as a company?
  9. Are there other members of your team who might have feedback for us?
  10. Could we be doing anything else to keep you happy?

Case Study Interview Questions About Willingness to Make Referrals

  1. How do other companies in this industry solve the problems you had before you purchased our product?
  2. Have you ever talked about our product to any of your clients or peers? What did you say?
  3. How likely are you to recommend our product to a friend or client?
  4. Can you think of any use cases your customers might have for our product?
  5. What is your advice for other teams or companies who are tackling problems similar to those you had before you purchased our product?
  6. Do you know someone in X industry who has similar problems to the ones you had prior to using our product?
  7. I noticed you work with Company Y; do you know if they are having any pain points with these processes?
  8. Does your company participate in any partner or referral programs? 
  9. Can I send you a referral kit as a thank-you for making a referral and give you the tools to refer someone to us?
  10. Are you interested in working with us to produce additional marketing content?

Case Study Interview Questions to Prompt Quote-Worthy Feedback

  1. How would you describe your process in one sentence prior to using our product?
  2. What is your advice to others who might be considering our product?
  3. What would your team’s workflow or process be like without our product?
  4. Do you think the investment in our product was worthwhile? Why?
  5. What would you say if we told you our product would soon be unavailable? What would this mean to you?
  6. How would you describe our product if you were explaining it to a friend?
  7. What do you love about your job? Your company?
  8. What was the worst part about your process before you started using our product?
  9. What do you love about our product?
  10. Why do you do business with us?

Case Study Interview Questions About the Customers’ Future Goals

  1. What are the biggest challenges on the horizon for your industry?
  2. What are your goals for the next three months?
  3. How would you like to use our product to meet those challenges and goals?
  4. Is there anything we can do to help you and your team meet your goals?
  5. Do you think you will buy more, less, or about the same amount of our product next year?
  6. What are the growth plans for your company this year? Your team?
  7. How can we help you meet your long-term goals?
  8. What is the long-term impact of using our product?
  9. Are there any initiatives that you personally would like to achieve that our product or team can help with?
  10. What will you need from us in the future?
  11. Is there anything we can do to improve our product or process for working together in the future?

 

Case Study Interview Examples: Questions and Answers

You will need to prepare for an interview where case study questions will be asked. While preparation is required for every job interview, extra time is required to adequately prepare for case study interviews.

Providing an answer to a case study question involves much more than simply recounting the issues and problems set forth, it includes identifying the most important issues, employing sound and logical analysis, developing an action plan for addressing the problem(s) and making recommendations. Depending on the firms you're interviewing with, and the industry you work in, case study questions can be presented in verbal or written format, and address a number of topics.

In case interviews, it's not uncommon for interviewers to exclude important details when asking candidates to resolve hypothetical business problems presented. It's okay to ask interviewers for more information, and it's expected. They want to see if you can identify what information is important, and what is not.

Occasionally, interviewers provide no detail at all to test your analytical skills when adequate resources are unavailable. In these situations, it's okay to make assumptions, but they must be based on sound logic and analysis of information that is provided.

Interviewers asking case study questions are primarily concerned with how effectively you can analyze a problem, determine key factors, brainstorm ideas, and propose workable, pragmatic solutions that are supported by your analysis.

Answering Case Interview Questions

In the case interview, coming up with the "correct" answer isn't nearly as important as the process you use for getting there. When answering a case interview question, you want to showcase your ability to analyze a situation or business dilemma, identify the important issues, and develop sound conclusions that flow from your analysis. For this reason, it's important to use a logical framework for breaking down and analyzing the case. Some of the more common business analysis frameworks that can be employed include Porter's Five Forces, Value Chain Analysis, Four P's of Marketing, and SWOT Analysis. The framework you decide to use should be a function of the type of case you're presented.

Where a specific framework for analysis isn't readily available or applicable, a general framework or analytical approach can be applied. The most important thing is that your approach to answering the case interiew question is structured and logical.



Regardless of the type of case you're presented, there will likely be a few main parameters and several factors that influence those parameters. The first thing you want to do is identify the parameters and factors, the then determine which are key to the case output.

For example, assume the case involves a company's declining profitability. From your initial review of the case information you determine the main parameters to consider are total revenues and total costs.

After defining the two main parameters, you'd then drill down further to the factors influencing each of the parameters you've identified. You determine the factors influencing total revenues are average price of goods sold and volume of goods sold. And for total costs, fixed costs and variable costs.

With both the case parameters and factors clearly identified you give yourself the ability to steer the conversation and begin to identify possible solutions. To identify areas of concern, you'll want to explore the history of the four influencing factors. At the end of your discussion with the interviewer you may determine that it's rising variable costs that are having the biggest impact on profitability. You'll then drill down even further to determine what is causing variable costs to rise and come up with more specific recommendations.

Building a graphic representation (tree, decision diagram, etc.) of parameters, factors and other influencing elements will help you structure your thought process, keep from missing key aspects of the case, and make a strong argument for the recommendations you'll make.

Using a framework or structured approach to developing a recommendation for a case study interview question provides the added benefit of giving the interviewer something to take back and present to his or her superiors to make the case that you're the right person for the job.

Whatever you do, don't force-fit frameworks. If a particular framework doesn't apply to the case, don't use it. Most frameworks incorporate universal concepts that can be applied to various business issues. Use the concepts you've learned in school or through prior work experience to support your analysis of the case. Show your interviewer that you understand these business concepts well enough that you can apply them to the specifics fo the business issue being presented in the case.

Below we're going to present several case interview questions organized by question type. To perfect your ability to perform well in case interviews, we recommend reviewing each question and then developing a logical framework or approach for answering each one.

Standard Case Interview Questions

As is the case in real life, there is usually no single correct answer to standard case interview questions. As long as you're able to prove your case, using sound analysis and by demonstrating an understanding of the main case issues, you're likely to do well. Below are some common standard case interview questions that provide great practice for case interviews.

  • What would be your approach for introducing a product into a foreign market? What are the risks and benefits to consider i.e. producing in your own country vs producing in the new country, etc?

  • Company ABC is struggling, should it be restructured? Identify the three main problems it's facing. What is the most important problem the company is facing? How would you recommend the company address this problem? How would you turn this company around? Provide your reasoning for your recommendation(s).

  • A toy company has been experiencing decline sales for the last two seasons. Research suggests that introducing several new product lines is the solution. Develop a marketing strategy for the company's largest product line, including pricing, product packing, etc.

  • A large chain of retail clothing stores is struggling with profitability. Bases on your review fo the company's financial statements, what problems can you identify? Can this company be turned arounds? How would you go about deciding?

  • A new Eddie Bauer Store is being opened up in London. Discuss all the marketing issues regarding the opening of this new location.

To perform well on standard case inteview questions you should be able to:

  • Take in information quickly and remember what you hear.
  • Identify key issues, prioritize and logically solve problems.
  • Make quick, yet accurate, decisions.
  • Manage time efficiently.
  • Perform under pressure.
  • Be aware of resource constraints.
  • Identify customer needs.
  • Be original and creative.

Market Sizing Case Interview Questions

A market sizing case interview question is one where you're asked to determine the size of market for a particular product. These types of case interview questions are popular, and actually not difficult to answer if you practice. The following a few examples of market sizing case interview questions.

  • Please provide the total weight of a fully loaded Jumbo Jet at the time of take off.
  • How many light bulbs are there in the United States?
  • How many photocopies are taken in the United Kingdom each year?
  • How much beer is consumed in the city of New York on Fridays?
  • How many people sell AMWAY products in the United States?
  • If there are 7,492 people participating in a tournament, how many games must be played to find a winner?
  • How many golf balls will fit in the Empire State Building?
  • How many car tire are sold in Canada each year?
  • Given thhe numbers 5 and 2000, what is the minimum number of guesses required to find a specific number if the only hint you're given is "higher" and "lower" for each guess made?
  • How do you determine the weight of a blue whale without using a scale?

The following are tips for answering market sizing case interview questions:

  • Take time to think before you answer the question.
  • If given a pen and paper, take notes and write down key information. Use the paper to make calculations, write down ideas and structure your answer.
  • Ask additional questions if you feel you are missing information. The interviewer is often expecting you to ask to find missing information.
  • Use lateral thinking and be creative. There isn't always just one right answer. Just make sure your answer is backed up by sound logic and numbers that make sense.
  • Make sure you know your math. At minimum you'll need to perform some basic arithmetic or mathematical calculations.
  • These quesitons are often used to test your ability to structure, as well as your ability to think laterallly, make logical links and communicate clearly.
  • Make mental calculations quickly by making sensible estimates and rounding numbers up or down.
  • Does your answer make sense? If you're answer doesn't make sense, chances are you've made a bad assumpation, estimate or calculation. Go back and carefully check your work and provide a new answer.
  • You can use business frameworks (SWOT, Porter's Five forces, etc.) or mind mapping to support your analysis and answers, as long as it makes sense.
  • Many market sizing questions revolve around issues being faced by an organization or industry. Commercial awareness can be very important to answering market sizing questions.

Logic Problems

Questions involving logic problems are designed to test your ability to think quickly and logically. These questions also require you to be able to perform numeracy quickly, while under pressure. The following are a few logic problems followed by their answers. Review the questions, develop your own answers, and then check your answers to see how well you did.

1. At 3:15, how many degrees there between the two hands of a clock? (J.P. Morgan interview question).

2. A fire fighter has to get to a burning building as quickly as he can. There are three paths that he can take. He can take his fire engine over a large hill (5 miles) at 10 miles per hour. He can take his fire engine through a windy road (7 miles) at 9 miles per hour. Or he can drive his fire engine along a dirt road which is 8 miles at 12 miles per hour. Which way should he choose?

3. You spend 21 dollars on vegetables at the store. You buy carrots, onions and celery. The celery cost half the cost of the onions. The onions cost have the cost of the carrots. How much did the onions cost?

4. You spend a third of all the money you have on a piano. Half of your remaining money you use to buy a piano chair. A quarter of the rest of your money you use to buy piano books. What porportion of you original money is remaining?

5. Why are manhole cover always round, instead of square?

6. In the Chicago subway system there are two escalators for going up but only one for going down to the subway. Why is that?

7. You find three boxes at the store. One contains onions. Another contains potatoes. The third contains both onions and potatoes. However, all three of the boxes are labeled incorrectly so it's impossible to tell which box contains what. By opening just one box (but without looking in) and removing either a potatoe or onion, how can you immediate label the contents of all the boxes?

8. There are 8 bags of wheat, 7 of which weigh the same amount. However, there is one that weighs less than the others. You are given a balance scale used for weighing. In less than three steps, figure out which bag weighs less than the rest.

9. There are 23 rugby teams playing in a tournament. What is the least number of games that must be played to find a tournament winner?

The following are the answers to the 9 logic problems above:

Clock

If you thought the answer was zero degrees, you'd be incorrect. At 3:15, the clock's minute hand will be pointing at 15 minutes, exactly 90 degrees clockwise from vertical. At 3:15, the clock's hour hand will exactly one quarter of the distance between 3 O'clock and 4 O'clock. Each of the 12 hours on the clock represents 30 degrees (360 degrees divided by the 12 hours on the clock). Consequently, one quarter of an hour is exactly 7.5 degrees, so at 3:15 the minute hand will be at 97.5 degrees. So there is a difference of 7.5 degrees between the hour hand and minute hand at 3:15.

Fire Fighter

Driving his fire engine 5 miles at 8 miles per hour takes 37.5 minutes. Driving his fire engine 7 miles at 9 miles per hour takes about 47 minutes. Driving his fire engine 8 milles at 12 miles per hour takes 40 minutes. So he should choose to drive his fire engine over the hill.

Store

Answering this problem just requires some simple algebra. If we assume the cost of celery = x, then the cost of onions = 2x, and cost of the carrots is 4x, such that the total cost of all vegetables = x + 2x + 4x = 7x = 21 dollars. Consequently, x = 3 dollars. Hence, the onions cost 6 dollars.

Piano

You spend a third of all the money you have on a piano, so you're left with two thirds (2/3). You spend half (1/2) of the remaining two thirds on a piano chair, which leaves you with just one third of what you started with (1/2x2/3=1/3). You spend a quarter (1/4) of what you have remaining (1/3) on piano books, which leaves you with one twelth of the original (1/4x1/3=1/12).

Manhole Cover

A square manhole cover can be dropped down the hole if turned diagonally to the hole, where round covers can't be dropped down manholes.

Chicago Subway

People coming into the subway tend to arrive at different times, so the flow of people down the escalators is a more even stream. Conversely, when people get off the subway they typically all arrive at the escalators at about the same time. Consequently, two escalators are need to handle people leaving the subway, where only one is required for people arriving.

Three Boxes

Just open the box that is labeled "Onions and Potatoes". Since none of the boxes are labeled correctly, this box must contain only onions, or only poatatoes. If you remove a potatoe from this box, the box must be the "Potatoes Only" box.

One of the remaining two box has to be the "Onions Only" box. However, the only you currently have it labeled "Potatoes Only", and the other is label "Onions Only". So the box labled "Potatoes Only" must be the box that contains only onions, and the box labeld "Onlions Only" must be the box that has both potatoes and onions.

Bags of Wheat

Immediately, take any 2 of the bags and place them to the side. Weigh 3 of the remaining six bags against the other 3 bags. If these bags weigh the same, that means the bag that weighs less must be one of the two that you immediately placed to one side. If this is the case, weigh the 2 bags you placed to one side against each other to find out which one weighs less. You've now found in your bag.

However, upon weighing the sets of 3 bags against one another you find that one set weighs more than the other set, place one of the bags from the set of heavier bags aside and weigh the remaining two bags to find out which one is heavier. If they are of equal weight, the you know that the bag you place to one side is the bag you're looking for.

Rugby Tournament

In a tournament, every rugby team except the winner is eliminated from the tournament after being defeated just once. Hence, the number of games required to find a tournament winner is going to be one less than the number of teams, or 22 in this case.

Business Case Interview Questions

The following are examples of common business case interview questions:

  • How would you work with a subordinate who is underperforming?

  • You're consulting with a large pharmacy with stores in multiple states. This company has improved sales but experienced a decrease in revenue. As a result, it is contemplating store closings. Explain how you'd advise this client?

  • You are working directly with a company's management team. It is organizing a project designed to significantly increase revenue. If you were provided with data and asked to supervise the project, what steps would you take to ensure it's successful?

  • You have been assigned to work with a small company that manufactures a popular product. However, a competitor begins selling a very similar product which incorporates state of the art technology. What would you advise your client to do?
  • You have been assigned to advise a company with a large Western European market. Company management wants to open the Chinese market. What advice do you have for this company?

  • The firm has assigned you to consult a company intending to drop a product or expand into new markets in order to increase revenue. What steps would you take to help this company achieve its objective?

  • You have been assigned to consult a shoe retailer with stores throughout the nation. Since its revenue is dropping, the company has proposed to sell food at its stores. How would you advise this client?

Case Interview Resources

In addition to the guides and articles presented on our website, there are several other good resources, including workshops, mock interviews, books and interactive online resources, that will prepare you for case interviews. Some of the resources we recommend are listed below.

Books

  • Vault Guide to the Case Interview
  • Vault Career Guide to Consulting
  • Case in Point: Complete Case Interview Preparation
  • Mastering the Case Interview
  • Ace Your Case! Consulting Interviews (series 1-5)

Interactive Online Resources



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