Consultancy interviews challenge candidates to prove their worth. They are also unique compared to other types of interview yet they do tend to follow a consistent format. This means that there is no excuse for not being prepared.
Key components of a consultancy interview
1) Don’t leave preparation until the last minute
Most consultancy firms offer a wealth of resources to help you prepare. It is important that you use them. These range from educational videos, practice problem-solving tests and mock case assessments. You can check out the resources that Bain & Company have to offer here.
The case interview allows the interviewer to assess how the candidate thinks. You will analyse and resolve real-life business problems. Reading through examples will help you develop an understanding. Practising these problems aloud will improve your performance. Find a former or current consultant to practice cases with. They will be able to provide you with a wealth of relevant feedback.
2) Learn what the position entails
It is important to know exactly what the role entails. There are different aspects of the job that could be seen as an advantage or disadvantage. Frequent travel may be desirable to you but it can mean spending extended periods of time away from home. It is important to tell the interviewer that you have considered these factors.
3) Consider why you have applied to the firm
If you are looking to break into consultancy for the first time, prepare to answer why. Likewise if you are looking to move firm you’ll need to explain your reasoning to the interviewer. Think carefully about your answer but let your passion shine through. It provides you with the opportunity to stand out from other candidates.
No two leading consultancy firms are exactly the same. It is important that you understand these differences. It is acceptable to have applied to other consultancy firms as it is a very competitive field. It is important that you communicate the reasons behind your choices.
4) Plan your questions in advance
Curiosity won’t kill you, but it might impress your potential employer.
An interview is a two-way street and it is your opportunity to find out as much about the company as you can. This allows you to make an informed decision on whether to choose to work there or not. It also demonstrates to the interviewer that you are taking the interview seriously. Asking relevant and considered questions will make you more memorable.
Here are some examples of questions you could ask:
- What attracted you to this consulting firm?
- How would you define the firm’s culture?
- What has been the most challenging client issue that you’ve faced?