How To Prepare For A Consulting Interview | Interview Preparation Tips

Updated: Nov 15, 2021

  1. How to Prepare for a Consulting Interview

  2. Online Assessments - What to Expect

  3. Prepare for a Case Interview

How to Prepare for a Consulting Interview

If you’ve got a consulting interview coming up, and you’re searching for job interview tips to help you prepare and perform on the day, you’ve come to the right place. As experts in consultancy interview preparation, we are going to empower you with the very best job interview techniques and reveal what an online assessment might involve and how to smash a case interview. As knowledge is power in consultancy, you’ll know more than most, just how important it is to prepare and be ready for any question that might come your way.

So whether you’re applying for a marketing consultant role, a productivity consultant or perhaps an international business consultant, we’re here to help get you ready for the big day.

Interview Preparation for Junior Consultants

If you’re fresh out of university, you’ll likely be applying for a junior consultant position. Unlike experienced consultants, junior consultants won’t be expected to be industry experts, but you should possess a good level of knowledge in your field and be able to provide advice, guidance and support depending on the industry you’re in.

Since you won’t be able to discuss your previous work experience during a job interview, a recruiter will analyse two key factors. Your IQ and your emotional intelligence. This will give you the chance to demonstrate your problem-solving skills, how you would approach an industry dilemma and how you analyse and weigh up possible solutions. So, let’s prepare for your consulting interview in relation to your IQ and EQ.

IQ Test

Your analytic abilities will typically be put to the test during a consulting interview, so you should aim to mentally prepare a few days before by refreshing your problem-solving skills with mental challenges, logical questions and mathematical puzzles. Getting the IQ questions right is only part of the answer. Being able to explain how you came to the answer is an important skill to demonstrate. This will come naturally to those who studied maths, computer science, accountancy or economics at university, but for everyone else; it’s time to step up your maths skills and focus on logical thinking.

We have a wide range of resources online to help you practice for an upcoming consulting interview so go and check out our online brain teasers.

Emotional Intelligence Analysis

Another key element that a consultancy recruitment company will take into account during a job interview is your level of emotional intelligence. Many consulting opportunities will require individuals to take on a client-facing role, and this means being able to read the room, predict a client’s needs and build up a strong business relationship. Being sensitive to how other people feel, their pain points, needs and desires will help you reason, recommend and convince other people. This is by far one of the most powerful communication skills to have in any industry and is highly valued by recruiters. While you can highlight your EQ on your CV, you should also be aware of how to answer interview questions relating to emotional intelligence.

Prepare answers to the following questions with clear and concise examples;

  1. Tell me a time when your mood impacted people around you?

  2. How would you deliver bad news to someone?

  3. How would you deal with working with people that you don’t like or disagree with?

  4. Do you think confrontation is good or bad?

Additional Knowledge

Although you won’t be expected to be an expert, you can give yourself an edge over other candidates by discussing your knowledge, industry awareness and passion for your field of interest. Do you listen to podcasts, Ted Talks or follow industry leaders on social media? Investing your own time into learning and self-development is something important to point out during a job interview. Not only will this help you to become more relatable to the recruiter, especially if you find common ground, but it also shows your thirst for knowledge.

Have you spent time travelling overseas? Often international awareness and cultural knowledge will help you to be perceived as a well-rounded professional during an interview. If you’ve spent time living abroad or volunteering overseas, create an opportunity during a job interview to discuss it, and how it has helped you develop your social skills and expand your knowledge of different cultures and societies. Since the world is becoming more connected than ever before, an employee who can bring travel experience to the team is certainly advantageous.

Are you bi-lingual? Additional language skills will also give you the edge over others, so make sure to point this out during a job interview, in case it has been overlooked on your CV.

Are you an entrepreneur? Many consulting firms are now looking for candidates with ambition and an entrepreneurial spirit, as this shows a strong work ethic, as well as showing initiative. Even if it was a failure, those who have launched a business have already demonstrated their ability to carry out risk assessment, market research, and problem-solving skills.

Online Assessments - What to Expect

If you’ve been asked to complete an online assessment prior to your consulting interview, here’s what to expect.

Typically this is used to test mathematical skills and will involve maths and logical thinking. Even entry-level jobs now require a basic level of numerical ability, and this is largely due to the fact that we now live in such a digital-first world. Consulting and giving your opinion will often start by reviewing data within a spreadsheet or interpreting website traffic.

With most online assessments, you will be asked to complete questions within a certain amount of time. So make sure to put your phone away and find a quiet place to work, where you won’t be disturbed. While the clock countdown can put people under pressure, try and take your time when reading the questions and focus on the answers you give. The moment you start clock-watching, you’ll start to stress out and panic, which will inevitably lead to human error.

Many of the top consulting firms are using game-based online assessments to filter out candidates. So, you might be asked to take part in a Pymetrics game. This type of online assessment combines neuroscience with machine learning to identify top talent by testing skills such as focus, attention, fairness, effort, generosity, reasoning and risk tolerance. To prepare for a Pymetrics test, take a look at our top tips here.

Prepare For A Case Interview

During a consulting interview, you might face a case study. This is becoming a popular tactic to catch candidates off guard, but you can prepare for this potential job interview curve ball. A structured case study is when the interviewer hands over an information pack detailing a company’s current situation. You’ll be given a short amount of time to assess the company, get to grips with the data and provide your personal and professional recommendations.

Be warned, you won’t have enough time to read the entire case study, so you need to use your time wisely. Focus on the main points and read between the lines as much as possible. Spend time on the data, the company’s objectives and the problem(s) they’re facing. Come up with key points and recommendations but make sure to have evidence to back up your answers.

The following phrases will help you to form simple and straight-forward answers;

  • Based on the data you have provided, I would recommend …

  • After taking a quick overview of your current situation, my first thoughts would be …. based on….

  • While I would like more time to investigate the problems you are facing, my initial observations are….

You can also practice and prepare for your upcoming consulting interview and case studies here.

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