Preparing for an Interview

Interviews with us tend to be quite conversational. We do ask some of the standard implementation-focused problem-solving or behavioral questions, but we give more weight to your approach towards your industry. What forces are at play within your field? How might we study those forces? How might we use theories from industry, academia, and popular culture to explain the phenomenons we see on an everyday basis?

We love hearing about new ideas and angles on topics. We celebrate diversity and value all experiences – this is the opportunity to let us know some vision of the future you would like to realize. It can be personal, societal, etc.

Strategic foresight is a nebulous concept to many. To put it simply, we examine emerging perspectives, anticipate large scale changes that might affect businesses and society, and identify creative solutions for the future. We look for candidates who can think boldly but is also keenly aware of what is practical – what are the people, business, and government forces that are driving or inhibiting change?

We believe a well-informed perspective requires a foundational understanding of business and research. While the interview focuses on your topics of interest, we have found candidates who demonstrate a good understanding of research and business to have more robust perspectives. Entry level candidates interviewing for a role on the research or operations track are expected to demonstrate a strong understanding of one of the two areas. Experienced hires are expected to demonstrate an excellent understanding of both areas.

Research

Thorough research helps us understand a problem more fully and provides inspiration for further inquiry. Each field has its own research methods, but there are a few resources we recommend to everybody.

  1. Minto, Barbara. The Minto Pyramid Principle: Logic in Writing, Thinking, & Problem Solving. Prentice Hall, 1758. ASIN: B01NH055HY.
  2. Singleton, R. A., Jr., and Bruce C. Straits. Approaches to Social Research. 3rd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. ISBN: 0195105257.

Additional readings can be found on MIT’s OpenCourseWare: Doctoral Seminar in Research Methods I by the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Business / Operations

A basic understanding of business and business models helps us understand why companies operate the way they do. At a practical level, it also helps you understand company priorities and become a better cross-functional collaborator.

Some roles will require a more formal case interview, but we recommend these texts to everybody, including creatives, because they give a quick snapshot of the problems companies face as well as the common responses.

  1. Cosentino, Marc Patrick. Case in Point 11: Complete Case Interview Preparation. Burgee Press, 2020. ISBN: 0986370762.
  2. Lin, Lewis. Case Interview Questions for Tech Companies: 155 Real Interview Questions and Answers. Impact Interview, 2016. ISBN: 0998120413.
  3. Rumsey, Ryan. Business Thinking for Designers. Ebook available at: https://www.designbetter.co/business-thinking-for-designers

Feel free to explore the case interview resources by McKinsey, BCG, and Bain as well.

A sincere thank you for your interest in Unbuilt Labs. We look forward to hearing from you!