Getting a Consulting Job in an Interview

Working as a consultant is a dream of many experienced professionals. Utilizing the experience you accumulated over the years in business in your quest to help the others to solve their problems, and to succeed in their ventures, is an amazing job.

However, to get this job in an interview with one of the prestigious consulting companies or agencies is no piece of cake. This interview differs to typical interviews.

You can expect many behavioral questions, short case studies, and also some tests. A long discussion of your past projects, successes and failures, can also follow, especially if an executive from the company leads the interview.


Case studies – the fundamental stone of this interview

The most important questions will consist in short case studies. We will give you some data, and describe a problem.

Your task will be to analyze the problem, design a solution (in brief), and present it to us. This is a great way of assessing your readiness for the job, and your real level of experience. How can such a short case study look like?

  • We will give you profit and loss account and cash flow statement of a client. Your task will be to analyze the papers and find the areas for improvement.
  • We will describe a situation of a client who wants to enter new market with a new product. Your task will be to do a quick market analysis, and give your opinion on the challenges and threats they will face while entering the market.

While addressing the case studies, try to focus not only on finding the right solution, but also on the right presentation of your solution to the interviewers.  They should understand it. They should like it. They should, because that is what they will expect from you in job–to deliver the presentations their clients like.


Tell them the truth, but do not touch them

Good consultants can find this magical balance. They know how to tell someone something unpleasant (e.g. pointing to the mistakes the management has made) in a way that their message does not touch the recipient personally.

Try to focus on numbers rather than persons. Speak without emotions. Do not blame anyone. Focus on the future, not on the past…


Behavioral questions

Apart from short case studies, behavioral questions form the major part of this interview.

We will ask you how you approached various situations and problems in the past, trying to understand how you will approach them in the future, while working for us. The questions you can expect:

  • Describe a situation when you reached a goal and tell us how you achieved it, and why it was important for you to achieve the goal.
  • Describe a situation when you had to motivate someone in work, or when you struggled with your own motivation.
  • Describe a situation when you did not agree with the opinion (or decision) of your superior, and knew that they were wrong. How did you handle that?
  • Describe a situation when you faced a particularly demanding problem or challenge in your personal life. How did facing this challenge affect you in your job?
  • Describe the biggest failure of your professional career.
  • Describe a time when you struggled to build a relationship with someone important. How did you eventually overcome that?
  • Give me an example of a time when you had to explain something fairly complex to a frustrated client. How did you handle this delicate situation?


If you would like to see some great answers to common behavioral questions, have a look at our Interview Success Package. Thank you!