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Getting a Consulting Job in an Interview

Last updated on June 14th, 2018 at 01:01 pm

Would you like to work as a consultant?

Would you like to use the experience you have accumulated over the years in business, in your quest to help the other managers and business owners to solve their problems, and to succeed in their ventures?

Consulting is an amazing job. But to succeed in an interview, and get hired in one of the prestigious consulting companies, or agencies, is no piece of cake. Prepare for an interview that will differ from anything you’ve experienced before in your job search.

You can expect to deal with tough behavioral questions, short case studies, and also some written exams, such as IQ or personality testing. A long discussion of your past projects, successes and failures, and lessons you have learned along the way, will likely follow. The interview will become even more tricky if an executive from the company leads the meetings.

 

Case studies – the fundamental stone of the interview

The most important questions won’t be questions. Instead of answering a question, you will have to address a simple (or even a complex) case study, working with data and variables that we will provide.

Your task will be to analyze the problem, design a solution (in brief), and present your findings and suggestions. This is a great way of assessing your readiness for the job, and your real level of experience in a given field. 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 may 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 findings and suggestions.

The interviewers should understand it. They should like it. They should, because that is what they will expect from you in your job–to deliver the presentations that the client will like, and accept.

 

Tell them the truth, but do not hurt their ego

Good consultants know how to tell someone something unpleasant (e.g. pointing out the mistakes the management has made recently), without hurting their ego. This is a skill, and it needs to be learned.

Try to focus on numbers, speak without emotions, and do not blame anyone for mistakes you discovered. Focus on the future, not on the past…

 

Behavioral questions

Besides the case studies, behavioral questions will form the major part of your consulting job 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.

Speak systematically. Tell us about the milestones you set, the plans you created. Explain how you engaged other people in helping you reaching the target. Mention the obstacles you had to overcome, and explain how you overcame them.

Tell us why it was crucial to achieve the goal, and explain it from the point of view of your former employer, or client–what it meant for them, for their business.

 

Describe a situation when you had to motivate someone in work, or when you struggled with your own motivation.

Show us your leadership skills. Tell us how you identified the problem of motivation, and how you managed to address the problem.

Struggling with your own motivation? Everyone has been through the difficult period. Show us that you understand the connection of your personal and professional goals, that you know why you wake up to work every morning. Explain the inner fire that burns within you, and keeps you going when you feel tired, or lack 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?

Show us that you respect the hierarchy in the company, but, at the same time, always give your honest feedback to your colleagues.

Tell us that you are not impeccable, that you make mistakes, and are ready to give, and to receive criticism in a most appropriate way.

 

Describe the biggest failure of your professional career.

Every single person who eventually experienced great success, had experienced many failures. Tell us about your failures, and what you learned from failing. Demonstrate how your biggest failures prepared you for your biggest successes.

Show us that you are not afraid to fail, and that you can admit your mistakes. Show us that you are a complete personality, someone we can rely on.

 

Other behavioral questions

  • 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?
  • 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?

 

Do more than your competitors  do

Struggling to answer the behavioral questions? Not sure how to make the best possible impression on your interviewers?

You are not alone in this battle! Have a look at the Interview Success Package, the product I prepared for all job seekers who are truly serious about their interview preparation.

Do not let this chance to slip between your fingers, just because interviewing for a job is not your greatest strength. I will show you great answers to all difficult behavioral questions, and you will learn learn how to impress your interviewers.

Ready to succeed and get a consulting job?

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