Organizations conduct job interviews to gauge a consultant’s expertise in the field. The hiring manager also assesses your personality and leadership style to determine whether or not you’re an excellent fit for the team. Consultants undergo a rigorous interview process, answering various technical, general, and behavioral questions.
Most companies hire consultants on a need basis, meaning you may have to sit through several interviews every year. Therefore, you have to keep your interview skills sharp. One way to prepare for interviews is by going through common consultant interview questions. Luckily, we have compiled a set of 15 key questions that you can use to prepare for the interview.
What Is a Consultant?
A consultant is a specialist who provides professional advice or recommendations to organizations and individuals in a specific field. Consultants conduct research, assess pros and cons, analyze statistics, monitor industry trends, and compile reports for presentations. Furthermore, you can become a data consultant, a strategy consultant, operations consultant, HR consultant, and more.
Consulting firms hire a wide range of consultants to attend to different types of clients. Since consulting is a competitive career path, hiring managers focus on the most qualified candidates. Read on to uncover some of the common interview questions in the consulting industry.
Answers to the Most Common Consultant Interview Questions
Consultant interview questions primarily gauge your expertise in the industry and relationship with clients or your workmates. The interview covers different types of questions, from fit questions to market sizing questions. Below is a list of 15 common consultant interview questions and sample answers.
Top 5 Technical Consultant Interview Questions and Answers
Technical consultant questions address issues related to market sizing, a particular value proposition, segmentation, or data analysis. These types of questions require a structured answer since they focus on specific facts or scenarios. As technical brainstorming questions, they assess your problem-solving and analytical skills.
Below are some common questions to expect from your hiring manager.
What Will a Potential Customer Consider When Purchasing a Laptop?
This is a value proposition question that assesses how fast you grasp consulting concepts. Take your time and give a structured response that highlights the value of the client’s product to the customer. To provide a convincing answer, focus on crucial factors like performance, design, build quality, and price range.
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How Many iPhones Does Apple Sell Annually?
This is a market sizing question that estimates the amounts of units sold or the market reach. Hiring managers will ask this question to assess how you make inferences. Use a reasonable answer to this question, focusing on a top-down or bottom-up approach. Remember, you should walk the interviewer through the steps as you calculate the number of iPhones.
Start with the number of people in the United States, estimate the percentage of people using mobile phones, and then narrow it down to iPhones. In addition, calculate the probability of people buying a new iPhone annually and multiply the numbers to arrive at an answer.
How Would You Estimate the Number of Television Ads Aired Daily in the United States?
Like the previous question, this is also a market sizing question to test your ability to make accurate estimations. Again, follow the previous formula, separating TV channels, estimating the average ad duration, and using the figures to derive an exact answer. Keep in mind that the goal is to walk your interviewer through your thought process.
What Are the Different Types of Laptops on the Market?
This question is also known as a segmentation question. Segmentation questions are follow-up questions that test your understanding of the market. To appear knowledgeable, you can ask the interviewer to specify a segment.
For example, ask whether you should focus on type, screen size, end-use, or geography. Once you get a response, give a structured answer focusing on all crucial segments.
Our Client Is Having a Challenging Time Growing His Winery Business. How Would You Advise Him?
Brainstorming questions are a must in a technical consulting interview. They test your data analysis and problem-solving skills. For this type of question, it is okay to ask a silly question or two as you try to gather data. After all, the interviewer is trying to analyze how you collect data before advising a client.
Ask for the relevant company information to analyze typical and unusual trends with respect to prices and customer demographics. Then, align the brand to current industry trends and report your findings to the interviewer.
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Top 5 Behavioral Consultant Interview Questions and Answers
Behavioral interview questions feature situational questions that bring out your personality and work ethic. The interviewer will pay close attention to your body language and responses. Moreover, the behavioral interview will help the interviewer decide whether you blend with the team and company clients.
When Was the Last Time You Successfully Led a Team?
The most common consulting interview question will focus on your leadership style. Your role entails working with a team of researchers and analysts to compile accurate industry information. Provide an example of when you worked with a group or showed initiative on a project. Don’t forget to detail your involvement and describe what the leadership experience entailed.
How Would You Handle a Client Who Can’t Settle on a Business Model?
Indecisive clients are part of the consulting industry. The interviewer will ask this question to analyze your interpersonal skills, patience, and powers of persuasion. In addition, you can use this question to highlight your problem-solving abilities, negotiation skills, and teamwork skills.
You can talk about how you would highlight the pros and cons of each model, work to understand the client’s vision, and use the resources of your team to align them with a suitable model.
If You’ve Had a Falling Out with a Colleague, How Did You Handle It?
This type of question focuses on conflict resolution. You can start by stating what the conflict was about and your actions to resolve the problem. Then, explain the effect of this conflict on your work and how the resolution led to a better outcome.
How Do You Handle Failure?
A consultant must be resilient and innovative. Therefore, this question will test your reaction to failure and how you reinvent yourself after failing. Select a significant time when things didn’t go according to plan and explain the process to the interviewer.
Highlight how the setback happened, in what way you were responsible, your reaction, the impact, and the steps you took to resolve the problem. Consultants must always be willing to take responsibility for their actions and develop speedy solutions to every setback.
Do You Focus on One Project at a Time, or Do You Juggle Multiple Different Projects?
It is not uncommon for consultants to handle more than one client at a time. In fact, as a consultant, you should be ready to multitask on various projects. This question is primarily to test your efficiency and how you handle pressure. Answer honestly, providing a clear reason for your work preference.
Top 5 General Consultant Interview Questions and Answers
These are general consultant interview questions that analyze your interest, skillset, and educational background. General questions also feature industry experience questions and questions about your salary, so you should respond as extensively as you would for the technical and situational interview questions.
Was Consulting Your First Career Choice? If So, Explain.
Interviewers ask warm-up questions to create a rapport and help you relax. However, they’re also trying to understand why you’re interested in the consulting industry. You can explain your educational background, business background, and the moment you decided to pursue a career in consulting.
What Is the Role of a Management Consultant?
This question analyzes whether you’re familiar with this consulting role and assesses your management style. Management consultants wear many hats, including providing expert advice, solving business issues, improving performance, and drafting reports. Therefore, you must be aware of the duties of most, if not all, consultants before your interview.
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Why Do You Want to Work for Our Consulting Firm?
This is a common question in every interview. The interviewer wants to prove that you’re interested and ready to work for the company. Talk about the company values, its mission, your commitment to success, and why your skills and consulting background are a good fit for the position. You can also mention how working for their firm will grow your skillset.
What Skills Are Mandatory for a Consultant?
Showcase your own abilities as you respond to this question. State the most crucial skills, such as commercial awareness, IT skills, problem-solving, teamwork, and more. Don’t forget to explain the benefits of each skill in consulting.
What Are Your Salary Expectations?
This question causes serious debate. Some people prefer answering it directly, while others prefer hearing the company’s offer before negotiating. Either way, the interviewer will ask this question to determine whether the company can afford to hire you.
Research the industry salary range before your interview and align it with your skillset and business background. For example, BLS states that management analysts earn a median wage of $87,660 per year, and PayScale estimates that the average salary in the consulting industry as a whole is about $78,000.
Tips to Prepare for a Consultant Job Interview
1. Take Part in Mock Interviews
The key to a successful interview is preparation, and what better way to prepare for an interview and enhance your confidence than going through strategies for answering technical interview questions? You must understand what interviewers are looking for in your answers. During the mock interview, practice everything from listening to responding to asking questions.
2. Research the Industry and the Company
Consultant interviews involve trick questions meant to test your consulting knowledge. Interviewers will ask brainstorming questions that require extensive knowledge of the field. Therefore, conduct as much research as you can about the industry and develop scenarios to improve your analytical skills. Don’t forget to gather information about the company as well.
3. Prepare Your Resume
Your resume gives an in-depth look at your educational background, previous experience, interests, and so much more. Interviewers will ask for a copy of your resume before the interview begins, so prepare a well-structured resume highlighting your skills, achievements, and consultancy certifications.
Job seekers should consider reaching out to a professional resume writer who will analyze and polish their resumes. Short of that, they can read top resume tips online.
What Skills Should I Put on My Consultant Resume?
Your skillset can determine whether or not you’ll get a consulting job. Generally, employers hire consultants with excellent IT, problem-solving, communication, numerical, and persuasive skills. You must also excel in commercial awareness, teamwork, innovation, and attention to detail.
Commercial awareness is one of the main attributes of a consultant. You must prove that you are up to date on industry trends and know how to use them to your advantage. Moreover, when you’re commercially aware, you make better decisions that positively impact your career.
Consultants rely on software for a large part of their job. You must understand how to use different social media platforms and hold virtual meetings. You will also apply your computer skills when using task management software like ClickUp and desktop applications like MS Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. You can enhance your computer skills by joining a coding bootcamp.
Your job entails a lot of networking, negotiations, meetings, and client interactions. Therefore, you must have outstanding interpersonal skills to impress your employers. Prove that you are persuasive to clients and that you can present successful projects and work with a diverse team of consultants and analysts. Excellent communication skills also prove your confidence.
How to Find Consultancy Jobs
The consulting industry is very competitive. Statista reports that there are over 734,000 management consultants in the United States. The high number of job opportunities means more job search resources for potential consultants. You can search for jobs on social media, company websites, job search pages, networking forums, and industry-specific magazines.
It is standard for companies to advertise job vacancies on their websites or social media pages, and you should consult these resources regularly. You can also sign up for newsletters to get notified of new jobs. For example, Choice Consulting Firm in Atlanta focuses on social media consulting and frequently advertises job openings on its website.
Job Search Websites
Job search websites advertise jobs from all industries. These pages host various clients, including schools, investment banks, hotels, and other organizations. Even better, you can apply directly on the website, which will lead you to the company’s application page. You can use Indeed to find jobs, as well as other popular job search websites like LinkedIn and FlexJobs.
How fun is it to read and apply for jobs at the same time? You can purchase industry-based periodicals for consultants and explore vacancies on the career page. Consultant periodicals include McKinsey Quarterly and Consulting Magazine.
Consultant Interview Questions FAQ
These are common interview questions that interviewers will ask during your interview. They include fit interview questions, case questions, and general questions that cover different topics in consulting. For you to get a job as a consultant, you must answer all the questions convincingly.
Generally, interviewers are looking for a confident, commercially aware, and skilled professional. The interview questions will unveil your personality and give the interviewer a glimpse of your skillset. Therefore, ensure you prepare extensively for your interview.
You should answer the questions directly and honestly. If you need to elaborate, give an exact answer before expounding further. Remember, the purpose of this interview is to assess whether you have the skills to work as a consultant.
Conduct research on the company to understand its vision and what your role entails. In addition, prepare your resume, work portfolio, and all other documents related to a job application. Lastly, don’t forget to take part in a mock interview, using the sample questions and answers to boost your confidence.
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