Many companies have a case study analysis and presentation as part of the final interview or assessment process.
A case study is a great opportunity to show case your analytical and constructive skills, typically on a 1:1 basis so you aren’t competing with others in a group scenario.
Case studies are designed to allow us to assess you on the following competencies:
|Interpretation (Ability to dissect and evaluate information as presented)|
|Ability to construct a presentation in a logical and structured manner|
The topics of case studies that you may undertake are endless, topics may be influenced by the industry, country, social or economic climate you are currently in. For example: An oil and gas company may draw influence on topics from environmental or sustainability topics whereas a Telco or IT company may draw influence on topics from emerging technologies or customer service.
If you have studied engineering, they may ask you to develop a design or if you studied finance, you may be asked to analyse a business proposal alongside a profit and loss.
Case study formats may be based on a traditional analysis of words on paper, or it may be analysis of an existing investigation, video, interview or problem puzzle.
Whatever the topic and format, approach them all in the same way- with rigour, structure, careful and logical thought.
Scoring methodology can vary depending on the metric scale used. Every activity you undertake will be scored either in a number or scale methodology, often accompanied by notes and then rolled up into an overall score. This overall score is usually benchmarked against other applicants. Every part of this process is a competition with others and yourself, so ensure you do treat it like a competition.
The good thing about most case studies is that they are provided to you prior to the face to face interview or assessment centre, however often they are also given to you on the day itself and you will have an allocated time to prepare for it.
If it is given to you prior, ensure you don’t leave it to the last minute to prepare for, as you will most likely end up stressing yourself out and probably not do a good job of preparing. Prepare in stages, start by analysing the request, then research and evaluate the information you can find on the topic, prepare a logical and structured presentation and then practice and memorise as many times as you can. A great presentation will give you leverage and can really help increase your overall score or outcome, so take full advantage of this opportunity.
If you receive the case study on the day of interview or assessment centre, don’t freak out! Be calm, and follow all the steps as mentioned above, but do everything in a much faster fashion as you will have limited time. The important thing to remember is that you consider the facts carefully, don’t overview anything that’s important, use dot points and logical structure to be efficient and ensure you can justify and verify why you chose the outcome / conclusions you drew upon. A good tip is to assess the amount of time you have been given to prepare the case study versus the potential weighting it has on your outcome. For example, if you have been given 5 minutes to prepare and analyse, the likelihood is that the case study doesn’t hold that much weight in the outcome and is really just a hurdle to see how you present and deal with stress. If you are given between 15-30 minutes to analyse and prepare, we would consider this to hold more weigh in the overall score and outcome, I would really ensure you pay close attention to how to construct and validate your answers.
Our top tips for case study and presentations are:
- Ensure you read the instructions carefully and take notes
- When constructing your presentation ensure it is logical and presented in a sequence that others can follow
- Ask yourself if the idea you are presenting is really clear and easy to understand or are you the only one who it makes sense to? Is it easy to interpret?
- Use props (power point, charts, flowcharts etc if have time to prepare prior) to help your presentation. But ensure if you do, that you check if you have access to technology on the day.
- When presenting, speak clearly in a concise manner and practice with any one you can. Be confident in your idea so others can also believe in it and you! SLLOOWWW down if you know you talk fast.
- Ask others to critique your presentation and take the feedback constructively, don’t take it personally. Actively use this feedback to improve your presentation and dialogue. It’s also worth asking others if you have a filler words such as ‘um’ or ‘i think/ i guess’ or ‘maybe’ and actively pay attention to try to not say that word.
- If you are questioned based on your idea, you must be able to explain why you chose this idea or concept, so think about this prior. We bet you will be asked at least 1-2 questions at a minimum, so be ready to converse!
- Remember this is part of the overall assessment so treat it like every other one, be professional, prepared and confident.
Practising your communication, presentation and analytical skills will really help you feel more comfortable going into the day itself. Be confident, know the role, company, industry and use this knowledge wisely. Don’t let nerves take over and remember preparation and practice lessen nerves more than you can imagine.
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