Wayfair Case Interviews: The Only Post You Need to Read
If you’re interviewing for a business role at Wayfair, your interviews will typically consist of two rounds of interviews. According to Wayfair’s interview website, Wayfair asks two types of interview questions: behavioral interview questions and case interview or case study questions.
- First round interview: One 30-minute behavioral interview
- Second round interview: Three 45-minute interviews. Two of these interviews are case study interviews or case interviews and one interview is a behavioral interview.
As you can see, case interviews make up a significant portion of the interview process. In order to land a job offer at Wayfair, you’ll need to pass all of your case interviews.
While Wayfair’s case interviews may seem ambiguous and intimidating at first, know that they can be conquered with the right preparation and enough practice.
If you have an upcoming interview with Wayfair or are expecting one, we have you covered. In this article, we’ll cover:
- What is a Wayfair case interview
- Why Wayfair uses case interviews
- The 4 steps to ace any Wayfair case interview
- Wayfair case interview examples
- Wayfair case interview tips
- Resources to prepare for your Wayfair case interview
What is a Wayfair Case Interview?
Case interviews, also known as case study interviews, are a special type of interview that are traditionally used by consulting firms. However, many companies with ex-consultants use them to assess an interview candidate’s capabilities.
A case interview is a 30- to 45-minute exercise in which you and the interviewer will work together to develop a recommendation or answer to a business problem. Case interviews place you in a hypothetical business situation in which you will have to use data and information to make a recommendation.
The business problems that you’ll be given in a Wayfair case study interview are likely real challenges that Wayfair faces today:
- How can Wayfair improve its profitability?
- What are Wayfair’s best opportunities for growth?
- How should Wayfair respond to an emerging competitor?
- What adjacent markets should Wayfair consider entering?
- Are there companies that Wayfair should consider acquiring or partnering with?
Although you can be given a wide range of business problems, the fundamental strategies and techniques to solve each problem is the same. With enough practice and repetition, you’ll be able to solve any Wayfair case interview.
Why Does Wayfair Use Case Interviews?
Wayfair uses case interviews because they assess a variety of different characteristics and traits that are needed to successfully complete job duties and responsibilities. The idea is that if you do well in your case interviews, you’ll likely do well on the job.
Wayfair’s case interviews assess five major qualities:
- Logical, structured thinking: Can you structure complex problems in a clear, simple way?
- Analytical problem solving: Can you read, interpret, and analyze data well?
- Business acumen: Do you have sound business judgment and intuition?
- Communication skills: Can you communicate clearly, concisely, and articulately?
- Personality and cultural fit: Are you coachable and easy to work with?
Case study interviews are very effective in assessing interview candidates because they assess all of these qualities in just a 30- to 45-minute exercise.
The 4 Steps to Ace Any Wayfair Case Interview
There are four major steps to solve any Wayfair case interview.
1. Understand the case
The case will begin with the interviewer giving you the case information. While the interviewer is speaking, make sure that you are taking meticulous notes on the most important pieces of information. Focus on understanding the context of the situation and the objective of the case.
Don’t be afraid to ask clarifying questions if you do not catch something. Also, repeating the information back to the interviewer is a helpful way to confirm your understanding of the case.
Finally, make sure to verify the objective of the case. Not addressing the right business question is the quickest way to fail a case study interview.
2. Structure the problem
Develop a framework to help you tackle the business problem. A framework is a tool that helps you structure and break down complex problems into smaller, more manageable components. With a framework, you’ll be brainstorming different ideas and organizing them into different categories.
It is completely acceptable to ask the interviewer for a moment of silence so that you can collect your thoughts and think about the problem.
Once you have identified the major issues or areas that you need to explore, walk the interviewer through your framework. They may ask a few questions or provide some feedback.
3. Solve the problem
Once you have developed a framework, you can begin to solve the problem. To solve the case, you’ll likely need to answer a mix of quantitative and qualitative questions.
When solving quantitative problems, make sure to walk the interviewer through your approach before doing any math. Check if the interviewer has any further information for you before making your own assumptions. Finally, neatly label your calculations and write out all numbers so that the interviewer knows exactly what you are doing.
When answering qualitative questions, try to structure your answer in a logical way to make it easier to brainstorm or communicate your point of view.
For both quantitative and qualitative questions, make sure to go beyond just answering the question. Think about how your answer impacts the answer to the case. Always try to tie the implications of your answers to the case objective. This will help you develop a hypothesis for what a potential recommendation could be.
4. Make a recommendation
In the last step of the case interview, you’ll present your recommendation and provide the major reasons that support it. You do not need to recap everything that you have done in the case, so focus on only summarizing the facts that are most important.
It is also good practice to include potential next steps that you would take if you had more time or data. These can be areas of your framework that you did not have time to explore or lingering questions that you do not have great answers for.
Wayfair Case Interview Examples
Example #1: Wayfair saw a 10% increase in its internet traffic in the month of September this year compared to September last year. What possible reasons could have aided in this increase?
Example #2: Wayfair has three shipping methods that they use to deliver products to customers. They are considering changing the shipping price of one of these methods. What is the impact of this change in price on profits?
Example #3: Wayfair is considering providing customers with promotional discount coupons to increase sales during the upcoming holidays. What are the pros and cons of doing this? How long should the promotion be run, if it all?
Example #4: How can Wayfair make customers that had a previously negative experience with them come back?
Example #5: How would you estimate how many sofas are sold in the United States?
Example #6: Wayfair released a promotional code that could be used by customers over a two week period to get discounts on their purchases. However, usage of this promotional code was far below Wayfair’s expectations. What could be causing this?
Example #7: How would you determine when to run a price promotion?
Example #8: Wayfair is deciding between two different catalogs to customers. One catalog costs $0.50 to produce, is 50 pages long, has a 5% conversion rate, and the average converted customer brings in $315. The second catalog costs $0.95 to produce, is 100 pages long, and a converted customer brings in $300. What does the conversion rate of the second catalog need to be in order to make the same amount of profit as the first catalog?
Wayfair Case Interview Tips
There are a number of things you should do to give yourself the best shot at crushing your Wayfair case study interviews.
1. Familiarize yourself with Wayfair’s business model
If you don’t understand Wayfair’s business model, it will be challenging for you to do well in their case interviews. Therefore, you should know how Wayfair sells its products to customers, how Wayfair makes money, and what their major operational costs are.
2. Read recent news articles on Wayfair
Often, the cases that you get in a Wayfair interview are real business issues that the company faces. If you catch yourself up on the latest news regarding Wayfair, you’ll be able to get a sense of what Wayfair’s biggest challenges are and what major business decisions they face. There is a good chance that something you read in the news could be the topic of your case interview question. Additionally, this will help strengthen your business acumen.
3. Familiarize yourself with e-commerce metrics
Some of your case interviews may involve working with e-commerce metrics. Therefore, become familiar with common metrics such as conversion rate, average order value, profit margin, and website traffic.
4. Practice answer-first communication
When answering questions in a case study interview, focus on answer-first communication. Whenever possible, provide the answer to the question first and then provide the reasons that support your answer. This will make your answers more concise, structured, and easy to follow.
5. Practice solving case interviews
The best way to get better at case study interviews is to learn the right case interview strategies and then practice solving cases. Consider using the resources in the next section to prepare for your Wayfair case interview in the most efficient and effective way.
Resources to Prepare for Your Wayfair Case Interview
If you’re looking for the best way to learn and practice case interviews to pass your upcoming Wayfair interview, give our one week case interview course a try. The material in the course has helped 6,000+ students land offers at top-tier consulting firms such as McKinsey, BCG, and Bain, so it’ll be more than enough for your Wayfair interview.
Try the course for free today.
If you are considering alternative resources to use, below are the two books we recommend. They are available in digital or paperback format on Amazon.
- Hacking the Case Interview: Learn exactly what to do and what to say in every step of the case interview. This is the perfect book for beginners that are looking to learn the basics of case interviews quickly.
- The Ultimate Case Interview Workbook: Hone your case interview skills through 65+ problems tailored towards each type of question asked in case interviews and 15 full-length cases based on real McKinsey, BCG, and Bain interviews. This book is great for intermediates.