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Inspired by recruiting

This Ironman is just as passionate about recruiting as he is about triathlons
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I invest a lot of time in recruiting as it is a passion of mine to help find the best talent we can. Currently, I lead MBA campus recruiting for the Marketing & Sales practice in North America and experienced professional recruiting for our US Southern offices. While a lot of recruiting happens on campus, McKinsey hires an increasing number of working professionals with expertise in everything from digital and analytics to design, data science, and operations and implementation.

My favorite part of being an interviewer is hearing candidates describe how they’ve made a difference to other people. Their examples range from delivering major transformations at Fortune 100 companies to helping to build schools in developing nations. It is so inspiring.

Be open-minded

During interviews, my expectations are the same for candidates as they are for myself; come in with an open mind, stay focused and leave all pre-conceived notions at the door.  For candidates, that could include thoughts about what the interview itself or our work and culture may be like.  For me, it is a reminder to focus on the conversation in the room and not think about my own work.

Second time’s a charm

One of my favorite moments during recruiting started when I conducted a first round interview with a candidate from a MBA program. Her performance during the interview was one of the best I have ever seen, so I was very excited about her candidacy and left the conversation energized.  Unfortunately, she didn’t make it through the next round and we were not able to extend her an offer.  Fast-forward a year. She reappeared on my slate for a final round interview.  Her performance the second time was as impressive as our first meeting, and thanks to her dedication and patience, I am proud to call her a colleague today. Her story shows you’re never given just one chance at McKinsey.


Reflecting back to my interviews, I offer two pieces of advice: first, remember to relax and take a breath. It’s simple, yet so effective.  Second, remember you are talking to another human.  I was nervous and a bit robotic during my interviews, following the methods I had practiced over and over again. I’m sure this was fine for me, but less pleasant for my interviewers. It is important to understand your interviewer wants to have a conversation with you to get to know you as a person, not just work through a case check-list you have memorized.  Make the personal experience stories you share and the problem-solving you do in the case real; bring me into the situation and make it come to life.

More about Steve

Steve is an associate partner based in Atlanta who focuses on helping organizations drive growth by improving frontline sales. Steve holds an MBA, with honors, from Goizueta Business School at Emory University, and a B.A. in global communications from Roger Williams University. Before joining McKinsey, he worked in Sales & Marketing roles for companies such as The Boston Beer Company, HONEST Tea, and Coca-Cola.

Steve is passionate about travel, food and triathlons. Given that travel is on hold these days, he is expanding his cooking abilities by trying to recreate flavors he has enjoyed through his global travels. He is also (formerly) an avid triathlete and Ironman finisher. He is training to get back into the sport and to work off his food hobby.

Learn more about interviewing at McKinsey