The Bain Experience Interview: What Does It Assess?
In the experience interview, Bain is looking to learn more about you.
Unlike a case interview, there are no right or wrong answers to these questions, though answers that show that you understand the type of work that Bain does and its firm values will make you a stronger candidate.
Spend some time on their website looking at consultant profiles, the types of business problems they solve, and what they look for in candidates as preparation for this interview.
Bain wants to understand who you are so they can assess whether you’ll fit in well with their organization and succeed at the type of work they do.
They want to understand:
- Whether you’re a hard worker.
- What kind of teammate you’ll be.
- Whether you have the analytic skills required to succeed in consulting.
- Whether you can lead a team and take initiative.
- Whether you can create measurable change in an organization.
- What your strengths and weaknesses are.
Bain actually does a great job of telling you what they look for in their experience interview here. This video includes sample Bain experience questions and answers, as well as an evaluation of the answers by a senior Bain consultant.
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How Does the Experience Interview Differ from the Traditional Bain Fit Interview
Actually, the Bain experience interview is not really that different from the traditional fit interview.
Mostly, the name has changed, though your interviewer will want to really understand the examples you give in response to these questions.
Sometimes, they’ll ask follow up questions to dig deeper into the examples you’re sharing and so that they can assess how your answers fit into working at Bain.
Sample Bain Experience Interview Questions
These experience interview questions are consistent with the types of questions typically asked in management consulting fit or behavioral interviews. However, as the name suggests, they focus more on your experience. They include:
- What work experience from your resume did you most enjoy?
- What was a work experience you enjoyed less?
- What’s the analytic achievement you’re most proud of?
- Picture a team you’ve worked on. What constructive feedback would your team members give you?
- What would be the hardest part of coming to Bain & Company for you?
- Tell me about a time when you’ve changed someone’s mind.
- Tell me about a time when you demonstrated significant initiative and leadership.
- What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
8 Tips for Preparing for the Bain Experience Interview
1. Prepare stories based on your experience that answer sample Bain experience interview questions.
Keep your answers short and quantify your/your team’s contribution whenever possible. See our page on Consulting Behavioral Interview Questions for our framework on how to create effective stories.
2. Don’t be shy about your accomplishments.
Bain and other management consulting firms are looking for smart people who can make their clients’ organizations more effective and more profitable. Don’t underplay your past successes.
3. Don’t avoid answering the interviewer’s question.
You could pick a story to tell based on your work or volunteer experience that sounds like it’s answering the interviewer’s question, but doesn’t really. This isn’t a good idea. They’ll note it and wonder why you’re dodging the topic. Relate your story and answer directly back to the question.
4. Don’t turn a weakness into a strength.
The point of the “constructive feedback” question is to probe whether you’re aware of your weaknesses/areas for development and as a result are you able to improve as a person through being aware of the problem and working to improve. The key is to be honest here. voiding the question by answering with a weakness that is really a strength–something like “I work too hard” or “I never give up”–will make an interviewer think you’re avoiding the question or that you aren’t aware of your own weaknesses.
5. Avoid focusing on “me” too much in questions about team results.
Yes, it’s important that you contributed to the success of your team, but it’s also important that you are someone who can work effectively with others and share credit for successes.
6. Expect follow-up questions that dive deeper to really assess your personal experience stories.
If you’re talking about a team’s success, the interviewer might probe on how much you accounted for that success. If you’re talking about changing someone’s mind on an important issue, they might follow up by asking about why the person was so against making the change. Have a tight story, but be ready to expand on it if asked to do so.
7. Practice your answers using Loom or with a live partner.
Loom is great because you can review your answers. Tighten and strengthen them as much as possible before your interview day. Also, use your review of these videos to check your body language and make sure you’re not talking too fast. Practicing with a case partner is also great because this will increase your comfort communicating your points live, in an environment similar to your interview. If you have the option, practice with a live partner and record your session so you can objectively review yourself later.
8. Relax in the interview and let your confidence shine through.
With all this preparation in your back pocket, you’ll be ready for any question your Bain interviewer can throw at you. So enjoy the conversation and the opportunity to learn about the management consulting industry. Your passion for this career is as important as your stories.
In this article, we’ve covered:
- What Bain is looking for in their experience interview,
- How the Bain experience interview differs from the traditional fit interview,
- Sample experience interview questions, and
- Our 8 tips on how to prepare.
Still have questions?
If you have more questions about the Bain experience interview, leave them in the comments below. One of My Consulting Offer’s case coaches will answer them.
Other people prepping for Bain experience interviews found the following pages helpful:
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