If you’re looking for a job as a consultant, you already know what type of interview to expect: a case interview. The interview questions for consultants differ depending on the company to which you are applying. Typical consulting interviews include a mix of behavioral and case-specific questions.
What Exactly is a Case Interview?
A case interview is a fictitious business scenario posed during an interview to decide how a candidate feels about a specific issue and fix it. The main thing to remember about a case interview and the case interview process is that it is intended to mimic life as a management consultant on the job.
It simulates all phases of a three- to six-month relationship in around 30 or 40 minutes. A case interview question can be focused on a creative business scenario your interviewer has encountered in the past, or it can be made up to assess your skills.
The questions can range from simple to perplexing. Acing the case interview is a critical component of landing a job in management consulting.
After all, businesses employ experts to help them solve business, operational, or industry-specific problems.
Case interview questions enable an interviewer to learn about your thinking and handle a client challenge if hired.
Case interviews are also used in investment banking and other fields where strategic business thinking is needed.
What exactly is a behavioral case interview?
Managers use a behavioral-based interview to assess candidates’ past actions in various contexts to predict their potential success.
In the behavioural-based interviewing process, prospective employers ask applicants open-ended questions about particular circumstances they have faced in the past and then probe to obtain better and more informative answers.
As a result, better-recruiting decisions are made, resulting in lower costs.
How to prepare for a Consulting Interview?
Perform a mock interview.
Case interview questions necessitate some planning—request as many practice case questions as possible from friends or family members.
Listen and take notes during the interview, and ask clarifying questions as needed.
Asking questions will help you think through the problem and will demonstrate that you are paying attention. It will also assist you in engaging with the interviewer and developing a positive rapport.
When answering a case interview question, state your thought process aloud and work through the problem with a pencil and paper.
While you must provide an answer, the question is more concerned with assessing your thought process. As a result, speak your thoughts aloud.
Keep up with industry trends.
Most of your case questions (and some of your other questions) will be about the industry you will be working in.
As a result, before your interview, make sure you’re up to date on industry news.
Never underestimate the power of nonverbal communication.
Don’t forget to practice the fundamentals of effective interviewing.
Make sure you’re ready to greet your interviewer with a firm handshake, make friendly eye contact, and smile when appropriate. Interview questions can be overwhelming at times, but remember that you still want to be personable.
Here’s some background on the types of interview questions you may be asked during a consultant job interview. There is also guidance about how to prepare for an interview and a list of basic interview questions.
Before your interview, go through the list and consider how you will react to the questions.
Consultant Interview Question Types
Any of the questions you will be asked are standard interview questions for any work. This may include inquiries into your job experience, your strengths and weaknesses, or your abilities.
A consultant can work with one or more clients simultaneously, so expect to be asked about time management. Since consultants are often hired to assess and solve organizational problems, you will be asked questions about your communication and problem-solving abilities.
You will almost certainly be asked a series of behavioral interview questions as well. There are concerns about how you treated previous job circumstances.
For example, you could be asked how you handled a problem with a demanding boss.
Other questions may be from a situational interview. These sound a lot like behavioral interview questions.
On the other hand, situational interview questions are about how you will approach a hypothetical job scenario in the future.
For example, an interviewer can inquire about how you will handle a project with a tight deadline.
On the other hand, the case interview question is the most popular form of consultant interview question. A case interview question is when the interviewer presents you with a business scenario or a brainteaser and asks you to solve the dilemma.
These types of questions demonstrate to the boss that you can apply logic to solve complex problems.
Consultant Interview Questions
Case Interview Questions
When answering a case interview question, make sure to show the interviewer how your logical thought processes function.
Feel free to ask questions if you need additional knowledge to solve the issue.
It’s also a good idea to bring a notebook or drawing pad to the interview so you can sketch diagrams, charts, or an issue tree to help you work through the problem.
You are consulting with a small company that sells a well-known commodity. A significant rival launches a similar product that incorporates cutting-edge technology.
What should a small business do in response?
How many tennis balls does a football stadium hold?
Calculate the scale of the pencil industry in the United States.
How quickly is the demand for X expanding?
Your client is a snowploughs service.
Snowfall has been reduced by 20% over the last two years.
What would you advise them to do, and why?
Questions about yourself
Interviewers ask applicants personal questions to determine how well they will fit in with their organization’s existing teams, organizational structure, and company culture.
Prepare by researching the employer ahead of time so that the answers will be well aligned with the company’s processes and specifications.
What is your leadership style?
Describe how you usually hold a sales meeting.
What types of consultancy projects do you usually work on?
What has been the subject of your last four or five projects?
What has been the typical number of clients at one time?
Do you prefer to work on a single project at a time, or do you tackle many projects at once?
How do you keep track of your progress on a project?
A strong understanding of emerging industry trends can indicate that a job candidate is invested in and passionate about his or her industry and profession.
Prepare facts about your industry to demonstrate your ability to proactively identify emerging business or market issues and effectively control organizational risk exposure.
In the following year, we hope to save 20%.
How can you assist us in achieving this goal?
What characteristics distinguish a good consultant in this industry?
What do you believe are the major issues confronting this industry?
What are some of the most significant ethical concerns for consultants?
Why do you prefer working for our consulting firm over others?
Please walk me through the life cycle of a recent project you worked on from start to finish.
What were your accomplishments/deliverables?
What worked well and what didn’t?
Questionnaires for Behavioral Interviews
Using the STAR interview response technique to describe a past situation, the task or problems involved, the action you took, and the result of this action is a great way to structure your answer to behavioral interview questions.
You’ll get bonus points if you can quantify the results with percentages, numbers, or dollar figures to demonstrate how you increased productivity or resolved a pressing problem.
Questions for Situational Interviews
The hiring manager wants to know how you think in a situational interview question, similar to a case question.
It’s OK to draw on experience to demonstrate how you’ve dealt with a similar situation successfully.
How would you explain to a client a complex technical issue?
Assume you have an unfavorable boss.
What would you do in this situation?
Tell me about a time when you were pressed for time.
How did you manage your time to finish the assignment?
Practice Usual Interview Questions:
Before your interview, boost your self-confidence by having a friend play the role of a hiring manager in a mock interview.
Answer frequently asked case, situational, and behavioral interview questions in practice.
Exhibit your Inner Knowledge:
Keep abreast of industry trends and use this knowledge to demonstrate the value you would bring to the organization as an industry expert.
Quantify prior Achievements:
Use percentages, dollar figures, or other statistics to impress your interviewer with the positive changes you have brought about during your consulting career.