You may already be itching to get started with your first interview. The resume and cover letter you prepared struck gold with the hiring personnel at a top management firm. Read more…
There’s just one thing: if you don’t look the part, it may not matter how good your answers are during a management consulting interview.
The Corporate Image
Recruiters say all the time that candidates should stand out based on their qualifications and not their wardrobe, but it’s doubly important in the management consulting sector. You will be dealing with executives from high-ranking companies, and the consultants you work with want to make sure that you put forth the company image in how you act and dress. Forgetting this for the interview may mean you could forget it in a client meeting.
Skirts, Dresses and Suits
Pastels, print patterns and other designs are great for the weekend when you’re with friends. Keep them out of your wardrobe choices for your first management consulting interview. In fact, the standard black or charcoal suit from a mid to upper level designer for men may seem like an uninspired choice, but you want to create a canvas that the firm sees as able to meet their goals. Pair it with a sedate white or gray shirt and a blue, yellow or red tie.
Women will likely benefit from pant or dress suits that are conservative in cut and allow them to work without adjustment. Shoes should not look like they came from Sex and the City, either.
Moreso than the clothes themselves is the attention to detail in preparing them. If you can afford it, have your clothes professionally cleaned and pressed prior to the interview. Make sure that all shoewear is polished and free from dirt. Above all, make sure that there are no rips or stains on any items you plan on wearing
Hygiene and Haircuts
Nail biting, long haircuts and poor skin quality are not necessarily the signs of traits that management consultants aspire to hold. Make sure that your hair doesn’t cover your ear if you’re male and doesn’t come close to touching your collar. Females may want a short haircut that doesn’t require much upkeep.
For grooming, focus on the things that interviewers will notice first, nails that are free from excessive nail polish for women and not bitten down to nubs for men. Males who need to shave infrequently should time it so there is neither stubble nor razor burn.
Family heirlooms and gifts from friends and relatives may have a personal meaning to you. So, too will class rings and other signs of membership. If they seem gaudy or ostentatious, though, you set off warning signals. Keep the jewelry to watches for men and perhaps a ring, and simple earrings for women in addition. Large gemstones can also be a bit overpowering in setting a first impression.
With all those aspects marked off your checklist, you can be sure that your responses to questions will be what the recruiter remembers most, not the striped shirt that belongs in a club or disco.