Consulting job is a great choice, especially for experienced people. To use your practical experience to help the others to solve their problems and to succeed is not only a well paid job, but also a mission with meaningful purpose. Good choice for you!
However, in order to become an consultant, especially in one of the well known companies offering these positions, you need to ace the consulting interview and manage to answer all the difficult questions. This interview differs to typical interview. There will be nearly none “yes-no” or “one sentence long answer” questions. You need to prepare for something else.
Consulting is a specific job, and as a good consultant, you need to have an ability to solve problems, even when having insufficient information and resources. Exactly this is the place where you use your previous experience and practical knowledge.
Consulting interview questions = case studies
This is it. Questions are short case studies. You get certain variables, project or a problem and a time frame. Your task will be to offer the solution and communicate it to the interviewers. They test you exactly from things that are going to be your daily bread in a new consulting job. Think about it…
You can for example receive reports from the company, such as profit and loss account and cash flow statement. Your task will be to analyze these and find the areas of improvement for the client. This is one of the typical questions in consulting interview.
In order to solve the problem, you should focus not only on finding the right solutions, but also on the right presentation of your solution to the interviewers. They should understand it. What more, they should feel like they would like to “buy it” from you.
At the end of the day, profit is what matters. Customers need to be satisfied with the consultants and with their advice. They need to “buy” this advice from them and interviewers are more than aware of this while testing you in an interview.
Tell them the truth, but do not touch them personally
Good consultant is able to find this magical margin, where he tells the managers what mistakes they have made and what they need to change immediately, but at the same time keeps them feeling good and professional about their abilities and about their work. In order to make this impression in the interview, do not address the consulting interview questions personally. It means, do not tell about mistakes of specific people, or do not criticize anyone or anything.
Simply come to the point, define mistakes and areas where improvement is necessary. That’s all they want to hear in order to hire you.
If you want to prepare even better for this meeting with an employer, you should find some case studies and practice with it. You can locate it on the web. Or, you can just think about problems you faced in your previous occupations and how did you handle it. Put your thoughts on the paper and try to present it to a friend or to anyone else. Doing so, consulting will become more natural for you and you will be most likely chosen in the interviews. We wish you good luck!
PS: Check also some project management interview questions (exact case studies attached) or read other pages of InterviewPenguin.com, in order to enhance your chances in an interview.