Do interviewers "go easy" on diversity candidates in comparison to non-diversity candidates?

Anonymous Monkey's picture
Anonymous Monkey

Hey all,

I have an interview coming up with Oliver Wyman. It is a final round interview and I am very nervous that I am underprepared. I received the interview because I am a diversity candidate.

Does anyone know if the interviewers go "easier" on diversity candidates in comparison to non diversity candidates? I am going to prep as much as possible before the interview but I was just curious if anyone had any insight on this?

Thanks.

Comments (44)

May 9, 2018

What happened to the original intent of these programs - leveling the playing field? You being a diversity candidate got you an interview. That's perfectly fine with me, but why should the interviewer go "easier" on you just because you're a diversity candidate? How's this different from asking for a handout?

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Jul 27, 2018

I think the purpose of diversity roles like AA has been abused. It should be for people with low income who are smart but really don't have the resources to answer all the same questions (which I'm fine with), what I have seen, is people who are well off but happen to be an URM. Diversity programs are good if they find the candidates from poorer backgrounds who still strive to do well, but it seems to be the worse target kids.

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Jul 27, 2018

This is largely correct. Nothing further to add.

The answer to your question is 1) network 2) get involved 3) beef up your resume 4) repeat -happypantsmcgee

WSO is not your personal search function.

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Aug 7, 2018

I agree that poorer minorities should be the main, maybe even only target for these programs, but preparation is a large issue. These spots do go to some poor kids but they're in the minority. Most will be socially awkward and have a hard time succeeding outside of class, because they put nearly all of their time and energy into focusing on academics just to even be noticed coming out of their class. If you exclude race, less spots will go to minorities in favor of whites or overrepresented minorities. If you don't include middle class to upper middle class URM, more URM, the ones who have much more developed social skills, will lose out on spots, which will probably hurt representation further. Therefore, the current standards seem to work best.

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May 9, 2018

What the real BS is, is giving people interviews just because they are a minority or have some underrepresented background. Seems like these companies are the same politically correct social justice warriors that the university system is filled with. Merit is being pushed aside in the name of affirmative action and preferential treatment based on background and skin color.

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Best Response
May 9, 2018

Merit is a pretty sketchy concept when you're talking about an entry level finance job where your main value add is your willingness to do bitch work that others don't want to do. Add to that effects like "culture fit", and nepotism (familial, academic institution, fraternity, etc) and you end up with a scenario where "merit" ends up being closer to "similarity to the people already there" than "ability to do the job well", and it becomes pretty clear why diversity programs make things more fair. This becomes complicated a bit when you take into account research that shows that tight knit teams tend to perform better, and the fact that for salesy things the similarities actually are a merit of a sort, but at least for industries like non-buy side finance where most of your time is spent trying to eat somebody else's lunch and not actually adding value to society this also makes the case for industry wide diversity policies (whether they be self implemented or imposed by the government).

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May 9, 2018

everything is that you are clear with your arguments and have confidence in yourself

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May 9, 2018

First off, you should stop saying you got the interview just because you're a "diversity candidate". There must have been other things in your resume to get you that interview as well. (The diversity portion is not the sole reason you got it.)

I'm not sure they will go easier on you necessarily because then that would impact the firm. Don't most interview try to stress you to see how you do under pressure?

@TheROI- So preferential treatment never occurred because you were in the same frat? Or because your father "knows" someone higher up?

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May 9, 2018

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May 9, 2018
universitystudenti:

I received the interview because I am a diversity candidate.

My guess is this is a troll. Given how hard you have to work to get an interview at a firm like Oliver Wyman, I find it hard to imagine someone would cite diversity as the only reason he got an interview. This is probably just trying to get people riled up, but I guess I can't be sure.

No, an interviewer won't make the interview easier, but the diversity factor might help when it comes time to decide who gets an offer.

May 9, 2018

I hadn't read your replies when I commented. Your original post sounded off to me - now it sounds more reasonable.

The diversity aspect isn't going to make the interview easier, just like it won't make the work any easier if/when you get the job. Everyone will need to prove they're baseline capable of completing their job responsibilities and representing the firm well. Beyond that, when it comes time to choose from all the qualified candidates, you'll have an extra feather in your cap: adding another shade to OW's beautiful corporate rainbow. But it's nothing more than a +1, and it won't trump even a hint of doubt of your abilities, nor will it lift you over candidates who are multiple degrees better.

Funniest
May 10, 2018
universitystudenti:

After attending this event they told all the attendees that we will all get final round interviews.

Lmfao. Participation ribbons for everyone. Jesus absolute-fucking-Christ.

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May 9, 2018

Unless you have no prior experience, a shitty resume, shitty grades, no common sense, did zero preparation, and are ugly then you wouldn't know whether or not you were selected for the sole purpose of being a diversity candidate. Who would divulge this information to you? HR? Your interviewer?
No one is going to go easy on you. Turn on the fire hydrant, open your fucking mouth, and learn as much as possible in the days leading up to your interview.

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May 9, 2018

More entitlement feeding on coddling.

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May 9, 2018

Also thought this was a good trolling effort.

This is OW, not IBD interviews.

OW is an analytical, nerdy firm.

They don't have a reputation for selecting people based on anything but the analytical smarts and nerdy fit.

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May 9, 2018

Pretty sure you're talking about me and my reading comprehension (my bad if you're not) so just to be petty: I'm a quant so "analytical and nerdy" means something a little different to me and from where I'm standing consulting and the standard (at least here) IB path look pretty similar (though to be fair consulting does seem a little bit better). Even in the quant world where the need for demonstrated technical aptitude and non-trivial brain teasers make merit a bit easier to define, this stuff still makes a difference (pretty sure I got my first job partially because I sounded a lot like my boss when we first talked on the phone). And if we're talking reading comprehension, do you really think the guy I was responding to was making a fine point about the difference between recruiting for consulting and ib, or do you think he was having the same knee jerk reaction that all the conservative white doods here seem to have whenever diversity programs are brought up (I may be presuming too much but I think it's the same reason you assume the op is a troll and not just asking for legitimate info/advice from a perspective you're not used to seeing).

Now watch op actually be a troll, wouldn't I look silly...

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May 10, 2018

They won't "go easy" on you but you are really only competing against diversity candidates for however many diversity quota positions they are trying to fill. Therefore, if the diversity candidate final round pool is weaker than the general pool, you can land an offer performing lesser than a non-diversity candidate.

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May 23, 2018

-

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May 24, 2018

They'd better not go easy on you. That would defeat the entire purpose of even conducting the interviews to identify the best candidates. You go to a target school and have a high GPA. You're likely to get multiple offers from prestigious firms and probably don't need to "prep" for anything aside from relaxing and making sure you don't come across as socially awkward.

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May 24, 2018

deleted

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May 24, 2018

Does anybody here actually have firsthand experience on a firm "going easy" on them or not? Would be curious to hear real experiences rather than speculation.

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May 24, 2018

I conduct interviews and have never gone easy on a candidate in a "diverse" classification nor have I ever been instructed to.

I, personally, think a lot of this is a self-preservation thing and comes down to people trying to blame something external to themselves. I consider it in the same general category as "I got a bad performance review because I'm a woman/gay/all the colors of the rainbow". No, you got the bad performance review because you didn't meet the criteria for a good one.

P.S. Congrats on the offer OP! That's a great one and I hope you have lots of great ones to choose from.

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May 27, 2018

This is so insulting and you're giving diversity candidates a bad name. You sound so obtuse stating you received the interview because you're a diversity candidate. And why the heck would the go "easier" on diversity candidates? You're just ugh and I hope you don't get the job simply because you aren't prepared.

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May 27, 2018

.

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May 28, 2018

It is not a true statement to say if you are a minority then you will receive an interview. Saying otherwise is simply false. While companies have targeted recruiting for underrepresented minorities, there are no guarantees that an interview will result. I just finished my FY year at a top business school and took part in some targeted recruiting. Most people did not receive an interview as a result of being an underrepresented minority even though they took part in the targeted recruiting.

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May 27, 2018

Have a couple friends who did the final round for OW diversity forum candidates... definitely went easier. Asked questions like "have you done a case interview before?" and "do you know what fixed costs are?" bruh

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May 30, 2018

.

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May 30, 2018

That may be true, but OW's regular internship cycle has been pushed to July (earliest out of all the major firms) which effectively makes 0 difference in terms of how much more a regular cycle candidate should know versus an early cycle. When my friends and I went through the regular internship cycle this past fall, none of us were ever asked questions along those lines.

Obviously we'd have to see how internship case interviews are conducted in July to have a definitive viewpoint of whether they go "easier" for diversity forum candidates, but I highly doubt OW will ask those same questions during the regular process just because they pushed the recruiting timeline up a few months.

Though as for the difference in behavior for FT interviews vs internships... that could very well be the case.

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May 29, 2018

This smells heavy of troll dung.

If you're any type of diversity candidate, you know damn well there is no difference in the interview portion nor in the assessment, ESPECIALLY at a consulting firm. The diversity programs are to help provide access to an underrepresented pool. The criteria you're judged against is going to be 90% how you do in a case interview. And there is no possible way that you were all skipped into final round.

Just from the line of questioning you have you seem woefully unprepared for what's about to hit you. I helped run my firm's diversity program, and if what you described is the way OW is running their's, they need a serious revamp on wtf they're doing.

Now, in the unlikely event you aren't a troll, reach out and I can give you some case tips tailored to their style, and general tips on how to not make these programs look as ridiculous as you're making them sound.

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May 30, 2018
IBTeaching:

This smells heavy of troll dung.

If you're any type of diversity candidate, you know damn well there is no difference in the interview portion nor in the assessment, ESPECIALLY at a consulting firm. The diversity programs are to help provide access to an underrepresented pool. The criteria you're judged against is going to be 90% how you do in a case interview. And there is no possible way that you were all skipped into final round.

Just from the line of questioning you have you seem woefully unprepared for what's about to hit you. I helped run my firm's diversity program, and if what you described is the way OW is running their's, they need a serious revamp on wtf they're doing.

Now, in the unlikely event you aren't a troll, reach out and I can give you some case tips tailored to their style, and general tips on how to not make these programs look as ridiculous as you're making them sound.

  • IBT

I think he's a troll and it just plays into the erroneous narrative that minorities are just given jobs and/or interviews.

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May 30, 2018

The OP is not trolling. My friend who interviewed for OW after the diversity forum was greatly caught off guard by how conversational the cases were and how "easy" they were compared to traditional case interviews (they did not go very deep with analysis at all).

It could be perhaps that OW's interview style compared to most case interviews just comes off as easier, however. May not necessarily be attributed to diversity.

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May 30, 2018

You are an idiot. As a black person in consulting you stupid. I'd never go easier on someone I was interviewing diverse or not. I want to work with the best people. With that said, I try to recommend diverse candidates to interview at my firm.

The answer to your question is 1) network 2) get involved 3) beef up your resume 4) repeat -happypantsmcgee

WSO is not your personal search function.

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May 30, 2018

deleted

Jun 8, 2018
bfin:

With that said, I try to recommend diverse candidates to interview at my firm.

If your barometer for some meaningful element of "diversity" is skin color, then I'm afraid you're the idiot; if, on the other hand, your focus is color-blind diversity of thought, then you are truly woke.

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Jul 27, 2018

I don't consider myself "woke" or an idiot merely just someone who doesn't believe every project team I work on should be a group of 20 somethings from 5 different colleges and 3 different teams.

The answer to your question is 1) network 2) get involved 3) beef up your resume 4) repeat -happypantsmcgee

WSO is not your personal search function.

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Jun 13, 2018

Diversity programs are valuable because they DO help level the playing field for minority groups who have generally not had the societal advantages that non-minority groups have benefited from their whole lives. There's value in having diversity on your team because diversity of life experience is inherently valuable and puts your team/company more in-touch with your consumer base - just ask PepsiCo. That being said, there's literally no incentive for companies, especially consulting firms, to go easy on "diversity candidates". If you can't perform the job to the level of satisfaction that is demanded by clients, they're not gonna hire you. It's really just that simple. In my experience, being a diversity candidate helped me get my foot in the door to talk to companies, but none of them gave a shit about that once I started interviewing. If I were interviewing another diversity candidate, I would be more inclined to grill them harder than a normal candidate precisely because of the comments on this thread; people will think they got their job because they fill a quota, so you'd better be fucking good at what you do if you want to shake off that opinion.

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Jun 13, 2018

It all depends what your idea of "diversity". If these programs are just designed to make every fifth person hired a diversity hire, but that person hired is still from a top school, does it really make a difference? Meaning, if both your parents went to Harvard or Penn, and had connects, does it really matter if you're white or black?

Real hiring diversity would be if a top bank made an effort to find fringe candidates who majored in finance/stats/econ who might not fit the mold or know exactly what IB is, but could get the job done.

Real, real diversity would be if companies/employees actually embraced diversity hires, and didn't just do it to put it on their website.

At the end of the day, diversity is really just counterintuitive, because we don't practice it in probably 95%-99% of our lives. You don't go searching for people who aren't like you or don't have similar interests just to have diverse friends; you don't go to restaurants you don't like just to be diverse or consume different entertainment to be diverse. Also, we don't really call for diversity in lot of other jobs. If we were really trying to be diverse, shouldn't the NBA/NFL (for example) have people of all sizes/races/genders?

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Jun 13, 2019

I love how we have deteriorated from MLK preaching to not hire someone based on the colour of their skin to literally hiring someone based on the colour of their skin lmao.

The only people complaining about lack of diversity are people who can't cut it with their ability. Simple as that. (I'm black btw)

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Jun 13, 2019
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Jun 13, 2019
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