Case Study Questions (Definition, Types And Examples)

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 6 November 2022

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Companies use a variety of evaluation tools and methods to test a candidate's skills. To evaluate the practical application of business knowledge, many companies ask questions related to case study during interviews. Your answers to these questions can help an interview understand more about your knowledge and experience. In this article, we explain what case study questions are and why they are important, explore the different types of these questions and discuss how to answer these questions successfully.

What Are Case Study Questions?

Case study questions are business-oriented situations or challenges presented during the interview for which candidates require to provide solutions. These questions assess a candidate's business acumen, analytical skills and problem-solving capabilities.

Such questions may be entirely fictitious, based on real-world client challenges or refer to actual businesses. Crucial information that can help answer such questions might be missing, and you can ask the interviewer for more clarity. This is also a part of the evaluation, as the ability to identify valuable information and insights is something a hiring manager may test. Consider how you can effectively answer these questions, with a focus on offering relevant and logical solutions.

Related: 14 Product Manager Case Study Interview Questions

Which Job Interviews Include Case Study Questions?

Interviews for the roles of management consultant, business analyst, investment banker and related fields usually include case study tests. Consultancy and professional services firms ask such questions for nearly all roles. Candidates appearing for interviews in these roles can prepare for different case study questions based on their specialisation or recent events in the industry. Companies usually pose these questions in person during the verbal interview or present them after the conversation in a written format.

Related: Top 16 Interview Questions and Answers

What Are The Different Types Of Case Study Questions?

You can classify most case study interview questions into the following categories:

  • Estimation questions: Such questions assess your ability to estimate the market size or make educated guesses using limited information and common knowledge.

  • Business case questions: These questions evaluate business acumen, analytical skills and decision-making based on the information you have. A hiring team might use real or theoretical client issues.

  • Logic and reasoning questions: More generic and mostly related to non-business topics, these questions are almost like brainteasers that test reasoning and creativity skills.

  • Visual interpretation questions: Interviewers could provide a chart or graph based on real or fictional business data and ask you to derive conclusions.

  • Value proposition questions: These questions evaluate the ability to understand customer preferences and behaviour, besides business fundamentals, research methodology and intuition.

There are other types of questions that do not fit in any of these categories and several that overlap between two or more. The purpose of such classifications is to identify the diverse kinds of questions that are commonly asked during an interview so you are better able to prepare effective answers.

Related: Interview Questions For HR Executive Positions With Answers

Common Case Study Interview Question Examples

Here are some examples of different study interview questions:

Estimation questions

Estimation questions vary in scope and type. These questions test how strong your fundamental knowledge of the industry is and whether you can think quickly. In most cases, companies provide no further information, although the interviewer may clarify a doubt or point you towards the solution. The goal is not to get the exact answer from you, but to see how close your answer is to the correct one. Here are a few examples of such questions:

  • How many departmental stores are there in India?

  • How many smartphones would be sold globally next year?

  • What is the total weight of an aeroplane when it takes off?

  • How many litres of oil does the world population consume every day?

  • How many tyres are sold in India each year?

  • Between cars and motorbikes, which one has higher sales in India?

Related: How To Perform Case Interview Prep For A Job Interview

Business questions

Business case study interview questions are more pointed and present a more descriptive challenge, usually related to a business issue. Many companies use real-world data and information from their existing clients to frame such questions. Such questions require you to follow up with several questions of your own to seek more context and information. Here are a few business case interview questions:

  • A company is thinking about purchasing their competitor company. Would this be a sound business decision?

  • A premium soap making company that has the largest market share is incurring losses despite high product prices and revenues. Why is this happening?

  • A brick-and-mortar retailer with a national presence wants to venture into e-commerce. How is the company required to go about it?

  • A new cafe is struggling to attract customers. What can the owners do to increase footfalls and revenue?

  • A small manufacturing company that makes a popular household product is threatened by a new competitor backed by a large business. How is it required to maintain its market share?

  • An internal study found that tracking software on official devices is eroding employee trust, but the company thinks it is necessary to maintain productivity. What is the company required to do?

Related: What Is The Bottom Of The Funnel? With Ideas And Tips

Logic and reasoning questions

These seemingly irrelevant brainteasers might sound out-of-place during an interview, but they serve an important purpose. Such questions help companies evaluate your ability to apply logic, think creatively and deduce solutions. They test the ability to think rationally under pressure. Some common logic-based questions are:

  • Why are the covers of manholes always round and never square?

  • A train station has two escalators going up to the platform but only one going down. Why so?

  • How would you weigh an elephant without using scales?

  • How do you put a blue whale in a fridge?

  • You have three switches in front of you, and the corresponding lights for each switch are in a different room. How do you match each light to its switch when all the lights are off?

  • You buy potatoes, onions and tomatoes worth ₹42. The potatoes cost half the price of the onions, and the onions cost half the price of tomatoes. What is the price of all three individually?

Related: Logical Questions and Answers (With Examples)

Visual interpretation questions

Graphical interpretation questions assess your ability to comprehend visually represented data. You may receive bar graphs, line charts, pie charts or scatterplot graphs to comprehend the data, make comparisons or find solutions to specific business questions. Be sure to read the title, axis label, scale and footnote while answering such questions. Look for patterns and abnormalities in data to support your answer. A few examples of visual representations you may require to assess include:

  • Data related to disease cases before and after mass vaccinations

  • Data for customer satisfaction plotted against customer service interventions

  • Information about future growth projections

  • Data about revenue and profitability

  • Data regarding employee engagement levels

  • Visual representation of a movie's commercial and critical success

Related: Types of Graphs and Charts

Value proposition questions

Value proposition questions usually revolve around customer needs, preferences and choices. They aim to understand whether you can identify the right customer data points and trends to establish the customer value proposition. Answer these questions in a structured manner with customer data and proposition in focus. Be sure to back up your recommendations with a sound data collection and analysis method as well. Here are examples of value proposition interview questions:

  • What would a customer consider when purchasing a new television?

  • Which market segment would respond to a new 100% pure fruit juice product?

  • What is the biggest thing that holds someone back from investing their savings?

  • Identify the customer profile best suited for a marketing campaign about cost-effective laptops.

  • Describe a customer's decision-making thought process when applying for a loan.

  • How does a customer make sure that they are getting the best discount deal?

How To Answer Case Study Interview Questions?

Here are a few tips to help you answer case study interview questions:

  1. Write it down. In addition to listening carefully, be sure to take notes in case of a verbal question. If it helps, build a graphic representation of the problem using flow charts or tree diagrams.

  2. Ask for clarification. Avoid making assumptions and ask follow-up questions if you feel the need. Frame your questions carefully to get the information you need.

  3. Break down the solution into steps. Create a step-wise framework for your solution and structure it into a story. List recommendations and future steps clearly.

  4. Vocalise your thought process. The point of this exercise is to understand your approach and thought process to the problem. So, avoid internalising your thoughts and engage the interviewer in business conversations to explore your hypotheses.

  5. Take your time. These questions often are not a measure of your speed, so think before speaking. Presenting your analysis with thought can reflect positively on you, contributing to your successful employment.

  6. Do not panic. If you cannot find a solution despite your best efforts, do not panic. Ask for more time or information and stay confident in your abilities.

  7. Be flexible. If the interviewer challenges your solutions and recommendations, be willing to defend them as long as your logic is sound and based on the right assumptions. Be open to re-examining your approach and ideas to include new perspectives.

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