Deloitte is one of the “Big Four” – the world's four largest accounting and consulting firms. Competitive recruitment processes aside, successful candidates must pass through challenging consulting interviews called “Case Interviews”.
In this article, you will be guided through the building blocks of Deloitte’s Case Interviews, with special tips, techniques, examples, and more!
Deloitte case interviews are often candidate-led. The candidate will be leading or taking control of every step ahead to solve the case. This includes structuring the problem, drawing frameworks, asking for data, synthesizing findings, and proposing solutions.
The Deloitte case interview occurs in the last stages of Deloitte’s recruitment process. Candidates will encounter two Deloitte case interview types: individual case interview and group case interview.
What does Deloitte look for in candidates?
During the Deloitte case interviews, candidates are expected to demonstrate three crucial traits of a consultant: problem-solving skills, analytical ability, and strategic and logical thinking.
Problem-solving skills: The point of hiring consultants is that they can break down business problems better than anyone else. The entire consulting industry rests on consultants' unique analytical problem-solving abilities.
Analytical ability: Strong analytical ability enables consultants to analyze complex business problems and generate meaningful insights. They can apply these skills to break down problems by identifying patterns, trends, and root causes, making them more manageable and easier to tackle.
Strategic and logical thinking: Strategic and logical thinking enables consultants to make informed decisions, anticipate future change, and navigate complex business landscapes to deliver optimal solutions for their clients.
Deloitte case interviews occur in the last stage of the recruitment process
Deloitte recruitment process consists of three main stages: (1) online application, (2) online tests, and (3) interviews.
The whole process can take up to 2-3 months, for a job starting 6-12 months after application. Newer offices can speed up the process to meet the demands.
Online Application: The most important thing in this first stage is to prepare an outstanding consulting-style resume. Our free consulting resume templates helped thousands of candidates reach their consultant dream.
Online Tests: As part of the online application, you will have to sit through five tests. These include: Cognitive Test, Verbal Reasoning Ability Test, Numerical Reasoning Ability Test, Logical Reasoning Ability Test, and Psychometric Questionnaire.
Interviews: The candidate will go through two interview rounds. The first round will generally be a phone screen/face-to-face initial interview with a Talent Acquisition team member. The second round will be individual and group case interviews. The number of interviews depends on the service line and position candidates apply for.
In Deloitte case interviews, candidates usually have to go through one or two 30-60 minute individual case interviews and one 1-hour group case interview.
Deloitte individual and group case interview
Deloitte individual case interview is the standard type of case interview. Candidates will receive the case from the interviewer, which they need to define the issue and give solutions. Usually, there will be two cases for a 45-60 minutes session.
Deloitte group case interview is similar to other group case interviews at BCG, Bain, and three other Big Four firms. A group case interview will usually go through five stages:
Stage 1: You will be assigned to a group of 3–6 applicants.
Stage 2: The group will be given a case and relevant information to solve.
Stage 3: You will be given 10 minutes to examine the case and prepare alone or in collaboration with another team member.
Stage 4: The group will discuss case questions for 20 minutes while the interviewers observe and take notes.
Stage 5: The interviewers will ask questions about the cases in the next 20 minutes.
The Deloitte case interview is often a candidate-led case interview. The interviewer will present the issue and require the applicant to lead and control every stage to solve the case: structure the problem, develop frameworks, request data, synthesize results, and provide solutions.
Candidate-led cases focus on one big problem
In candidate-led cases, you have to figure out how to solve a big case. This is opposed to interviewer-led cases, where the interviewer presents smaller questions about the case to the candidate.
You should take a top-down approach - break the problem into small parts of the issue tree and tackle each one at a time.
Candidate-led cases are flexible
In a candidate-led interview, the candidate can choose their own suitable approach.
The interviewer usually forms a “universe” of data on the client and their problems for you to explore. If your issue trees and solutions seem to go beyond the given information (in a good direction), the interviewer can “make up” new information on the spot to help you solve the case in your way.
Candidate-led cases focus less on being right
In a candidate-led interview, you put less emphasis on giving a definite “correct” answer and focus more on creating a structured, reasonable approach.
An “acceptable” margin of error is allowed in the candidate-led interview since you must break down the problems by yourself without much assistance from the interviewer.
To solve the Deloitte case interview, you need to develop an issue tree to break down your case. To create a suitable issue tree, you can use common frameworks for case interviews: Profitability framework, Business situation framework, McKinsey M&A framework, 4P/7P marketing mix, and Porter’s five forces model.
To further enhance your case interview performance, you can apply five effective tools (or mini-frameworks): External vs. Internal, Quantitative vs. Qualitative, Costs vs. Benefits, 2x2 Matrix, and SWOT analysis.
Five common frameworks for case interview
Profitability framework is mostly used to mathematically break down problems before switching to the qualitative framework for solutions. To use the profitability framework, candidates will split profits into revenues and costs.
Business situation framework is used to analyze a company situation in four areas - Company, Competitor, Customer, and Products (3C-1P). This 3C-1P framework is flexible for many purposes; however, it may be too generic and need customization depending on the situation.
McKinsey M&A framework is used to assess a proposed merger and/or acquisition on three aspects: standalone values of each involved company, their synergy, and other factors. This framework is MECE and promotes customizations, and is one of the best M&A frameworks.
4P/7P marketing mix in marketing for tangible work analyzes the 4P - Product, Price, Place, and Promotion; while in service marketing, three other Ps will be added in - People, Process, and Physical evidence. This framework focuses on the marketing aspect, hence unsuitable for multi-function strategies.
Porter’s five forces model analyzes the industry surrounding a business in five aspects - Suppliers, Customers, Competitors, New entrants, and Substitutes. This framework is used to get an industry overview and understand the client’s context.
Five effective tools for case interview
External vs. Internal method is quick and easy to segment information about a particular entity. The internal branch concerns what is inside or intrinsic to the entity, and the external branch concerns outside factors.
Qualitative vs. Quantitative mini-framework is used for evaluations. Dividing items into two MECE groups reduces confusion and minimizes the risk of missing an essential item.
Cost vs. Benefit in the decision-making process is very straightforward - if the benefits of an option outweigh its costs, that option can be chosen.
2x2 Matrix is a decision-making tool where options are examined using two criteria, each forming an axis of the matrix.
SWOT analysis mini-framework is seldom used in case interviews for being too generic. However, it can be used to evaluate a company’s positioning within the industry context quickly.
You can check our free article on Case Interview Framework to understand the common framework used in the case interview.
Step 1: Familiarize with interviewer-led case examples
Deloitte has several sample cases on its website with guides and tips. You can also examine examples of similar candidate-led case interviews from BCG and Bain to familiarize yourself with the case flow and how to interact with the interviewer.
Step 2: Practice consulting math
Consultants work with quantitative data dozens of times a day. Pulling out a calculator every time they need to calculate something takes too long, and doing so in negotiations looks terrible.
This is why interviewers place such high emphasis on the mental math skills of prospective consultants.
In the beginning, consulting math can be difficult for some; nonetheless, I have a few tips for you to ease the process and still practice effectively:
Use Your Head: Do all your daily calculations mentally unless an EXACT answer is required.
Flatten the Learning Curve: At the start, scratch paper and a 5% margin of error help; once you are confident, discard the paper and narrow down the margin.
Establish a routine: Allocate some time for daily practice. This may seem hard at first, but you can feel the improvement once you’ve overcome the inertia.
Step 3: Develop Business Intuition
Having business intuition significantly sharpens your performance in case interviews.
Working on intuition is a gradual process that takes practice every day. You can improve your business intuition in two ways:
Written Sources: I suggest reading business papers daily; you can also visit McKinsey, Bain, and BCG websites for their excellent articles. Beware though – it’s not the pages you read that count, but the insights you draw from them.
First-hand Experience and Observations: Don’t just come to your workplace to work; examine what senior managers are doing – what’s the rationale for their decision, and how has it impacted the organization?
Step 4: Learn the fundamentals and frameworks
It might be tempting at first to go straight for the frameworks – if you make this common mistake, prepare for some unpleasant surprises in the interview. Frameworks need a lot of customizations to fit with real cases, and to customize effectively, you need that fundamental knowledge.
Of course, don’t draw an issue tree for all your daily problems – that’s just overkill, but remember to take a structured approach and picture an issue tree in your head while searching for your keys.
Step 5: Perform mock interviews
The best way to get good at something is to do it.
Best to find yourself a former consultant to help you practice; they’ve been through countless case interviews, both real and mock, and they know what’s required of a candidate, so they’re the best people to run your simulations with.
Study your cases down to the smallest details. Replay them repeatedly, take notes of the interviewer’s feedback, and look for other areas you can improve.
Want to learn more about interviewer-led cases and other secrets to smash through any case interview? Check out our Case Interview E2E Secret Program – Intuition, math, tips, and techniques for consulting case interviews, all in one comprehensive package! Book a coach who will show you how to improve your performance for more personalized practice.
Nine tips for the perfect Deloitte individual case interview
Tip #1: Understand the procedure of a candidate-led case interview
There is a five-step procedure to approach the PwC candidate-led case interview.
Taking the case: You need to take notes on all information regarding the clients and the case situation. Keep your notes organized to refer back to them easier.
Clarifying: You will have time to gain more information and/or clarify the points you haven’t fully understood about the cases.
Structuring: You will need to break down the case business problem into smaller components to create the issue tree, allowing you to solve it in an effective and cohesive manner.
Hypothesizing: You must develop the hypothesis based on evidence and available data about the problems and find the root cause. If the initial hypothesis in a branch of the issue tree no longer makes sense, go to the next branch. If the hypothesis matches, stick to it to find the root causes and solutions.
Pitching: The pitch is your case interview's final product, where you summarize all findings and recommendations to solve the case. You need to deliver the pitch in a structured, top-down manner.
Tip #2: Have a perfect case opening
There are four reasons to make a good case opening while you deliver your case interview:
First, it shows you have complete control of the upcoming problem-solving process, which is critical in candidate-led cases.
Second, you can demonstrate your whole leadership and relationships with proactiveness - aligning yourself with PwC's five qualities mentioned above.
Third, a good case opening creates a great first impression. Consultants are expected to perfect everything from the beginning to the end, so this could make a good head start for a 30-minute interview.
Finally, this is an opportunity to align during the interview. After the interviewer has outlined the case details, explain the case to the interviewer in your own words to ensure you grasp the issue and align with the interviewer.
Watch more: How to open a case perfectly?
Tip #3: Map your next moves
Pause occasionally to summarize where you are and where you’re going next. It gives you a sense of direction and authority; additionally, you get plus points in the interview for an organized approach.
This also gives your interviewer a chance to help you with your mistake. If your interviewer gives you advice, take it – assume it’s intended to be helpful.
Tip #4: Be consistent with your intended hypotheses
Always speak with the current hypothesis in mind, and that hypothesis must be in the issue tree. The sole purpose of the hypothesis-driven approach is to have your efforts and problem-solving steps guided and structured.
Therefore, to avoid being overwhelmed by piles of data in your case interview, do a sanity check by returning to your issue tree. If your action does not correspond to your present place on it, go back immediately!
Tip #5: Deliver your pitch in one structured manner
This is the most important tip because you need to show that you own the consultant qualities - being structured and straight to the point. Present your analyses in a perfect, insightful, top-down, concise, and captivating final pitch.
Find a way to structure the problem; this will guide your discussion with the interviewer. Briefly explain the framework you plan to use, allowing the interviewer to comment. In general, the simpler the framework, the better. Once the interviewer endorses your framework, stick to it.
To structure your speech:
Begin with a summary line that states the key takeaway/intention.
Separate what you want to say into distinct sections. As much as possible, avoid jumping back and forth between items.
Number your items so you and your interviewer can keep track of them. It's even better to specify how many things you'll be discussing beforehand.
Make your recommendation based on the conclusions you reached from your discussion, even if you are unsure with so little data and time to discuss all the issues.
Tip #6: Make a personalized script
Make a script of what you will say and rehearse it a hundred times. Practice all of the formulaic phrases, such as the opening or data request. With enough practice, those lines will become second nature to you.
The secret to seeming professional in a case interview is to talk in a systematic and formal manner. Using scripts also saves brainpower, which you will undoubtedly want in case interviews.
Tip #7: Keep your notes organized
Neat note-taking greatly assists with your train of thought, making storing and organizing information easier. You're also demonstrating to the interviewer that you're well-organized and meticulous.
Divide your notes into three categories to make them easier to read and interpret: data, presentation, and scratch paper. When the interview begins, take three pieces of paper and name them appropriately. Here is the content that should be on each type of note:
Datasheet: note down and process any data the interviewer gives you and your calculations.
Presentation sheets: draft things you’ll say to the interviewer.
Scratch paper: anything else you need to write, such as brainstorming ideas.
Tip #8: Avoid long pauses
Take a minute to think; don't be afraid of the silence. If you need silence to think, ask for a timeout or announce think-out-loud mode.
However, taking it too long will backfire, especially if you can’t come up with something worthy of the long wait. Use the pause prudently, and always try to think as fast as possible while still being “correct”.
Tip #9: Find and ask for more insights
Try your best to be in-depth and comprehensive with your analysis. Always ask yourself, “Am I overlooking something?” and “Can I drill down further?”.
This is also helpful when you are stuck in your analysis. You can try asking for insights from the interviewer (remember to state your purpose clearly) like this:
If you have a piece of data and don’t know what to make of it, ask for benchmarks to put the data into perspective.
If you are unsure which framework to employ, consider "segmentation" - look at how the customer or the industry often segments that item. If you need to know how they do it, ask the interviewer.
When you cannot see the problems in the case (probably resulting from the “MECE” of your issue tree), ask the interviewer nicely for a way out.
However, remember to manage your time well. If you take too long, the interviewer might force you to move on, and you will lose the time to solve the case holistically.
Four tips for the perfect Deloitte group case interview
You are being evaluated with many other candidates in group case interviews. So, how can you make yourself stand out? Here are six helpful recommendations to ace a group case interview.
Tip #1: Manage your ideas
Take your time processing the question and developing an orderly and structured response. If you allow yourself time to analyze, your answer will be more robust.
Ask the interviewer for a few minutes to organize your thoughts, but avoid excessive silence when necessary.
Try not to intervene forcefully while others are speaking in group interviews. If you have a brilliant idea, write it down. That way, the flash of brightness won't fade from your memory.
Tip #2: Decide whether your role is a leader or team member.
This is the decision that needs to be made on the spot - other candidates are going for the “leadership role” of the discussion. If you want to lead, go right at it. However, you can still demonstrate desirable consultant qualities even as a team member.
If you decide to be the team leader, emphasize your facilitator role.
It’s a good idea to be proactive in proposing what topics to discuss, in what order they should be addressed, and how much time should be allocated to each issue. You can bring the group’s focus back together if the group gets off track.
By the end of the group discussion, make a point to compile people's different points. This puts you in a position to bring everyone together and ensure all candidates are on the same page.
If you decide to be a team member, speak to add value.
Candidates will take turns presenting answers to the interviewer. Before it’s your turn, listen carefully to other people’s answers and the interviewer’s feedback.
This way, you can add valuable and helpful insights to the discussion. Remember, good points go to the quality of what you say, not the number of times you speak up.
Tip #3: Ask good questions
Asking outstanding questions will set you apart. It demonstrates that you are attentive and willing to learn more. Great questions often target one or more objectives: explaining an unfamiliar term, clarifying the issue's purpose, or expanding the team's understanding of the setting or business.
Tip #4: View others as teammates
Seeing people as colleagues puts you in a collaborative attitude, which allows you to work successfully with others. You look to be both a helpful leader and a team player in this manner.
You can be the first to answer your interviewer's question to avoid seeming timid. You can encourage co-interviewees by emphasizing their excellent ideas, adding what you believe is lacking, and explaining your reasoning.