Consulting Interview Questions
The consulting industry attracts many of the top graduates from universities across the globe. It is a professional services industry that had a reputation for paying generous salaries and be a good place for young professionals to learn many of the core skills required for professional careers.
Consulting interview questions can be categorized into two buckets; fit / experience or technical.
There are five types of technical questions that consulting firms ask:
Case interview maths
Case interview maths questions rely on math skills that you learnt at a young age such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and percentages.
Although not complex, the questions involve large numbers and cannot be answered with a calculator. Under the pressure of an interview situation it can be difficult for candidates to recall methods that they learnt 10+ years ago.
For example, candidates would be expected to be able to multiply daily revenues of £70,000 by the 365 days in a year to work out annual revenues.
Candidates that practice their maths abilities prior to interviews are often considered exceptional candidates as competent maths skills are a good indicator of quantitative abilities.
Taking the time to practice case interview maths before taking a consulting interview is an easy way to differentiate yourself from other candidates.
Brain teasers are common in many industry interviews and are equally common in consulting interviews.
It is easy to draw a blank on brain teaser questions as they often require a certain approach or perspective to solve and find the right answer.
There are different types of consulting brain teaser questions including riddles, lateral thinking, root cause analysis, practical questions and more.
They are popular due to their requirements for both creative thinking and a logical approach.
Market sizing interview questions are very common in consulting but are occasionally used in other industries too. Sometimes known as guesstimates, they are popular as they require a mix of logic, maths and common sense.
In consulting interviews, market sizing questions can be asked as a standalone question or as part of a case interview question.
All top consulting firms will test their candidates with a market sizing question at a stage of the interview process. This is because new graduates will be expected to be able to calculate market sizes quickly and confidently in their role. It is common for consultants to calculate market sizes for their clients.
Market sizing questions can be easily practiced and candidates can stand out from the crowd with a quickly answered market sizing question. If it is asked during a wider case interview then being quick with the market sizing question can buy you up to 20% more time on the other sections.
An example market sizing question would be:
What is the size of the Canadian pillowcase market in 2021?
Case interview questions
Case interviews are almost entirely unique to the consulting industry but every consulting firm uses them. This is because they are a close resemblance to the thinking and methodology required of consultants, so much so that most consulting case interview questions will be based on real life project examples that the firm has completed.
A case interview is a business case that involves a strategic problem such as entering a new market or increasing profitability and as the interviewee you are asked to recommend an appropriate strategy. An example question might be:
A Brazilian e-commerce company is seeing a decline in revenues, the CEO has asked you to determine why and recommend how to reverse this trend.
The questions require a structured and methodical approach to ensure that all possibilities are considered, the root cause is found and the recommended way to reverse the current trend is based on sound reasoning.
Structured case interview
The structured case interview requires the same skills and approach as the case interview question, however the case information is in written form.
This means that candidates are required to read and digest the context and data of a case interview in order to answer the strategic questions rather than work through the case with the interviewer in the room.
The interviewer presents you with an information pack detailing a company’s current situation and what you should address in your review of the company.