Recruiters consider fit interviews important because the results determine if you can adapt with the firm’s culture, with the pressures of the position and with the people around you. Given this fact, you must find out the right answers to nine common fit interview questions.
Most consulting applicants like you prepare for the challenging case interview. You diligently go through scripts and practice analytical issues with a friend or a mentor. However, though it’s quite significant in the screening process, it’s not the only interview you should prepare for. The recruiters will also pose questions related to your education, experience and personality. Find out the top nine interview questions or statements that are commonly asked during management consulting fit interviews.
Tell Me Something About Yourself
This broad statement can dig a variety of answers from applicants but not all of these answers are encouraged to be mentioned during the interview. To know the best answer, ask yourself, “What does this recruiter want to know about me?” Of course, it’s not the list of awards you’ve earned in elementary or high school. It’s not the trophy you’ve won during the singing contest in your community.
What the recruiter wants to know is an overview of your professional credentials that are related to management consulting. You can share how you got interested in this field, your relevant experience that can help you perform your job and your skills that will boost your application. This general background serves as the recruiter’s basis in formulating specific questions that will pull out more relevant information from you. Avoid sharing personal matters since these are not necessary anymore.
Check this NairaCareer’s blog post for more ways on how to answer this question.
What Are Your Weaknesses?
Answering this question is like being torn between the devil and the deep blue sea. For a management consulting applicant, revealing the truth might cause rejection but lying isn’t a good idea, either. To answer the question, try to rephrase it. Ask yourself, “What are my points for improvement?” This elicits a positive response, a turn-on for recruiters.
You can start describing your weakness but never leave it as it is. Add details on how you are resolving it. Emphasize that you’ve already started working on it. For instance, if you’re a management consulting applicant who’s not excellent in preparing presentations, you can say that you’re currently taking a crash course or you’re learning the application with a friend. You can mention that you’ve realized it’s not that complicated after all.
Never state a weakness that opposes any of the main requirements of the job. For instance, if you hate numbers, don’t make the mortal sin of mentioning this. You will instantly get rejected since consultants are bombarded with numbers for research and analysis.
What Was the Reason Why You Left Your Previous Job?
You are expected to tell the truth in answering this question but make sure that you focus on the act itself, not on the person nor on the organization. If you stick with the act, you get direct to the point. For instance, if you resigned because of your supervisor’s contagious inefficiency, you can just say, “I’m looking for a challenging environment where my skills can be fully maximized.”
Preferably, focus on your search for growth and betterment. Ranting will only lead you to saying negative impression about your boss and the people around you. A management consulting applicant who badmouths his or her previous colleagues and/or company usually gets rejected.
Badmouthing implies ungratefulness and poor social skills, two factors that adversely influence your performance.
Why Do You Want to Apply for This Position?
When the interviewer asks you this question, he/she wants to know three things: how fit you are for the position, how well you know the company and how you can reconcile both. If you’re applying for a position in McKinsey, research what their ultimate goal is. If you’re trying your luck in Bain, find out what makes it different from the other management consulting firms. Then draw a line that connects the company’s vision and your personal interests, objectives and competencies.
What Are Your Goals?
This question aims to check if the position you’re applying for will help you achieve your career goals. Ideally both must be parallel since it helps you perform your responsibilities in a more effective and fulfilling manner. If they are situated on opposite sides, there’s a great possibility that you’ll find dissatisfaction in your job. This will consequently lead to poor performance and eventually resignation or termination.
When you are asked to answer this question in a management consulting job interview, establish a connection between the position and your career goal. For instance, if your dream is to be a Senior Consultant, you can explain that the Analyst position is a good stepping stone since your analytical and critical-thinking skills will be enhanced.
How Did Your Education Prepare You for This Job?
Some management consulting companies are interested in your educational background since it’s the longest training you have had. Those who graduated from universities known for their integrity, excellence and prestige are preferred as proven by their alumni.
However, going to the best school in the country doesn’t make you the most qualified applicant. You should also be able to explain how your holistic education has prepared you for the job. You can also mention your extracurricular involvement that equipped you for this position.
What Is the Most Difficult Decision You Have Made at School or at the Workplace?
This question finds out how a candidate deals with stress. When you need to make a difficult decision, there are choices you need to weigh, changes you need to face. How you deal with them is vital for any management consulting position since there are plenty of stress-provoking incidents in this field.
When asked with this question, try to recall a situation where you displayed competencies necessary for the management consulting position. For example, a problem that was resolved because of your leadership skills or a dilemma that was clarified because you’ve convinced the other consulting club members to brainstorm possible solutions.
How Do Your Colleagues or Friends Describe You as a Person?
This checks your interpersonal skills, an important factor that recruiters seek in management consulting applicants. Consultants should be people person. They are expected to deal with different kinds of personalities in different position levels to be able to generate excellent recommendations.
When asked with this question, focus on how you get along well with others. You don’t have to be loquacious; you must only be able to work in teams, establish rapport, collaborate and provide feedback.
Do You Have Any Questions?
A good recruiter always gives the applicant a chance to ask questions at the end of the interview to clarify any confusion. This is a good chance for you to prove you can pose intelligent queries. Do not look for answers that are already provided on the job description. Instead, ask questions that suggest your interest in management consulting and that are interesting enough for the interviewer to answer.
If you get to the interview, that means you’ve been a long way through. This is the best time to prove you’re worth it. Wow the recruiter with your answers. Don’t be shy to share your stories of leadership and teamwork. Don’t be intimidated with their presence. Share what you think you should. Just in case you need more inspiration and guidance, download this consulting guide and in just a few minutes, learn how to deal with consulting interviews successfully.