Ace Your McKinsey Personal Experience Interview: Tips from Successful Candidates

If you are a job applicant looking to join McKinsey & Company, you know that the Personal Experience Interview (PEI) is a crucial part of the recruitment process. The PEI is designed to evaluate your skills, experiences, and personal qualities that are relevant to the job you are applying for.

To help you prepare for the PEI, we have compiled tips from successful candidates who have been through the process and come out on top. Here are some of their best tips:

  1. Be authentic and genuine: The interviewers want to see the real you, not a rehearsed version of yourself. Be honest and open about your experiences, and be yourself throughout the interview.
  2. Use specific examples: When answering questions, use specific examples from your past experiences to illustrate your points. This will help the interviewers understand your thought process and see how you have demonstrated the skills and qualities they are looking for.
  3. Structure your answers: Use a clear and concise structure to answer questions. Start by setting the context, then describe the actions you took, and finish with the results or outcome.
  4. Show your problem-solving skills: McKinsey values problem-solving skills highly, so be sure to demonstrate your ability to think critically and solve complex problems during the interview.
  5. Be prepared to explain your decisions: McKinsey wants candidates who can make sound decisions and explain the reasoning behind them. Be prepared to explain why you made certain decisions in your past experiences.
  6. Use a structure to follow during your interview, like the PARADE or STAR method: Both the PARADE (Problem, Anticipated consequence, Role, Action, Decision-making rationale, End-result) and the Situation, Task, Action, Result (STAR) method are an effective way to structure your answers to behavioral questions (similar in principle, although the PARADE framework is much more tailored to the PEI). Use one of these methods to provide specific and detailed examples of your experiences.
  7. Be knowledgeable about McKinsey: Research McKinsey and be familiar with the firm’s values, culture, and work. This will demonstrate your interest in the company and show that you are a good fit for the firm.
  8. Practice, practice, practice: Practice answering questions using the STAR method and with a time limit. This will help you prepare for the interview and build your confidence.
  9. Bonus point, if you feel it’s appropriate in your culture and situation: Follow up after the interview. Send a thank-you note to the interviewer(s) after the interview to show your appreciation for their time and to keep in touch.

In summary, the McKinsey PEI is a challenging but rewarding part of the recruitment process. By following these tips from successful candidates, you can increase your chances of acing the interview and landing your dream job at McKinsey.

Looking for McKinsey PEI Coaching with an expert to kick-start your prep and finally secure your McKinsey offer? Click here!

What we typically do together during our coaching:

  • Choose the best stories out of all your experiences and match them with the McKinsey PEI dimensions
  • Define and structure the overall storyline of your primary and secondary stories
  • Crystallize the core challenges to highlight in your Personal Experience Interview (by the way, this is the core part of your evaluation)
  • Fine-tune the communication of your story to McKinsey expectations
  • Running mock interviews to get a real-life experience of your PEI

Click here for more information to virtually guarantee your PEI success!