Case interviews are very tense times for the applicants. Many people have even resorted to humor and trying to establish rapport early in the case interview portion to ease their nervousness and in the faint hope that it will help them appear more likely to pass it.
Case interview rapport doesn’t need to be a poor thing, nor either is it an amazing, super-secret to getting an interviewer to like you. Knowing the ins and outs of rapport in a case interview, then, is quite important.
Easy Rapport is Great
Rapport that begins in the beginning and ends when the case interview problem-solving portion comes in is perfect if there is to be any rapport at all. Introductions and polite small speak, whilst keeping things very professional, can be a great method to break the ice and make both parties really feel much more at ease throughout this tough stage in the interview process. Clearly any inappropriate thoughts or potential statements that come to mind ought to be squashed instantly, and attempting to develop an instant and strong networking relationship is most likely futile as well.
Spreading Humor on Thinly
Being humorous is a common coping mechanism for anxiety and nervousness, and one that ought to be watched closely. During a case interview, the point would be to listen to and decipher a problem given you by the interviewer in a professional manner in order for him/her to assess how your consulting skills are. Establishing some light humor for the sake of making a connection with a client is one thing, but this is not what is being tested here. Therefore it is important to be very sparse with humorous remarks and never rely on humor to win the interviewer’s great favor.
Reading the Interviewer
Though the above is a collection of typical expert suggestions for a case interview setting, there are exceptions to each and every rule. Again, losing sight of professionalism is by no means acceptable, but getting a read on the interviewer’s demeanor prior to selecting to create a humorous comment is a good thought. For some, the comment could brighten an otherwise sour day, whilst for other people it could merely annoy them. Some interviewers even like to engage in some rapport-building small talk in the beginning to help the applicant stay calm and collected. Attempt to watch how they react to your attempts and what approach they select for themselves prior to writing off rapport or humor altogether.