How Do You Nail a Job Interview?

Written by . Posted in Fit Interview Prep


This is a guest post from Timeo-Performance, a Management & HR Consulting firm and a Headhunting / Recruitment specialist which services companies operating in Asia. It was founded five years ago in Singapore by two experienced Management consultants from France. Timeo-Performance is well recognized for its expertise and its high quality of service and delivery. Please visit their website for further details.

This question always comes up while looking for a job. The main point to keep in mind is that an interview has to be prepared and that there are some important steps to follow during and after the meeting.

According to Rob Yeung, British psychologist, business speaker & management author, candidates have to follow the 3 Ps’ rule to be successful in a job interview; “you need to Prepare, you need to Practice and then, on the day, you need to Perform.”

This philosophy is also shared by Laurie Bongert, Recruitment Manager at Timeo-Performance, she shared with us how her most successful candidates consistently nail their job interviews.

#1: Preparation

  • Be well prepared: Re-read your CV and know yourself such as your strengths and weaknesses and greatest accomplishments. Don’t hesitate to give some facts or figures to illustrate what you talk about.
  • Do your research: Read job description and materials again with strict attention to be aware of all the specific requirements. Learn about the company you are applying for and learn key business information (turnover, number of employees, locations, regional scope), and what is being said and written about the company in the news and media. What is their competitive advantage and how strong is the competition? It can also be useful to find out who your interviewer is by using online business and social networks to learn things like their job title, background and career history which you can use later.

#2: Practice

  • Train yourself on your presentation: Who are you and how can you give the best and clearest image of yourself.
  • Practice thoroughly and anticipate: Train and rehearse your responses to the typical questions asked during interviews like the ones in the box.
  • Tell us about yourself.
  • What has been your most significant achievement in life so far?
  • Why have you applied for this job?
  • What do you have to offer us?
  • Describe a project you have successfully completed?
  • How would your friends describe you?
  • Describe a situation that found difficult and how did you overcome it?
  • Why do you want to change jobs?
  • Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
  • Anticipate possible areas of concern be ready to confidently and coherently answer the concerns of your interviewer.

#3: Perform

During the interview:

  • Do not forget that first impressions count so be on time, come with a professional look, have a firm handshake.
  • During the discussion, be yourself and relax, try to remain positive whatever the situation is, smile and maintain eye contact.
  • Prove what you say using examples and give as much detail as you can.
  • In case you face ‘killer questions’ give the feeling to remain in control, if necessary ask the interviewer to repeat her/his question but do not try to evade it.
  • Bring a copy of your CV / resume to give to your interviewer.
  • Take notes!
  • Ask relevant questions to demonstrate your interest and the reflection you had on the job and the company. It can be about the overall strategy of the company or some clarifications about the role and its specifics. Two to four questions should be enough at this stage of the interview.

Finally, within 24 hours after your interview make sure you send a personal ‘thank you’ to your interviewer for meeting with you and for their time, this will be your last opportunity to show your motivation for joining the company. You can consider it a final sales pitch to underline very briefly why you want the job, how your experience and qualifications will meet the company’s expectations and to emphasize the value you will be adding for the company or the interviewer personally.

Now it’s over to you to follow the advice of the recruiting experts and enhance your performance to nail your next interview!

Find more tips here:

You Might Also Like...

How Can I Demonstrate the Necessary Consultancy Attributes in an Interview?

Written by . Posted in Fit Interview Prep

Job Interview

When you ask this question you are really asking two completely separate questions: firstly, “what are the necessary ‘consultancy attributes’?”; secondly, “how can I demonstrate that I possess such attributes?” This post will concentrate on the latter more than the former, but before an interview you need to be satisfied with the answers you have to both.

With this in mind, here’s something to think about in answer to the first question:

Reliability & Time Management A consultant must be able to be counted on to do what they said they would, in the manner and time they said they would.
Expertise A candidate with a certain level of expertise and experience in a particular field will look more attractive to recruiters; knowing how business works and not just the latest business news is important.
Leading and Following Being a team player and not being embarrassed to say “I don’t know, but I know someone who does” are good traits to have, but the ability to build and lead a team is just as important – communicating and working through others.

Demonstrating Your Abilities

It is all well and good knowing what qualities you need, but now you need to show that you are a master of them. A common error can be simply saying “I am good at this” without showing why.

Interviewing well is a lot like writing a good journal paper or essay, a list of unsupported statements and conjectures will get you nowhere. You need to back up your claims with evidence and examples; you need to be concise and avoid ambiguous language and you need to anticipate any criticisms. This will allow you to make the strongest possible claim or argument.

You must know your CV inside out. Analyse your CV for past experiences in university, societies or sports clubs and think of times when you’ve demonstrated each of the competencies necessary for a career in consultancy. These can be simple anecdotes where you personally have demonstrated the required quality.

How to Structure Your Answers: S.T.A.R.

S – Situation Provide context to the example; explain the role you played in the scenario.
T – Task Clearly state the objective you or your team had.
A – Action This is all about what you did. Use first person pronouns and verbs to specify what you did towards achieving the tasks you mentioned previously. You should spend the majority of your answer on this section.
 R – Result Mention the outcome, ideally quantitatively, referring to the tasks you or your team set. Even in failure you can talk about what you have learned and what you would do to be successful next time.

Q: “Describe a situation where you were successful in getting people to work together.”A: “During my third year in University we were assigned a group project as a part of our Economics course work. We met as a group after our lecture to discuss the workload, however two weeks before the deadline we still hadn’t managed to meet up to decide on the subject we would cover for this project. This is where I decided to take the initiative, taking charge of the group to make sure the project was completed on time.

“I obtained contact details of each student through the economics office and got in touch with each member to arrange to a group meeting. I booked a group study room in the library and asked each person to prepare some thoughts for the project and to outline their timetables for the following two weeks. After a schedule was in place, I allocated different sections of the project to group members and coordinated further group meetings. As a result, our group submitted the assignment 2 days early and we later received an A grade.”

Final Tips

Granted, you don’t want it to look as though you’ve just learned a script and you’re dictating it to the interviewer word-for-word, your answers need to look natural. At the same time, you still need to have done the necessary preparation: learning about the company and position you’re interviewing for, as well as thinking about your key qualities and times at which you have demonstrated them.

Remember: Listen very carefully to the question and think before you start answering. When you answer you need to evaluate what you’ve learnt from each example you talk about. Employers are interested to know that you are constantly learning and developing yourself.

You Might Also Like...

How Should I Prepare for Interviews at Top-tier Consulting Firms?

Written by . Posted in Case Interview Prep, Fit Interview Prep

Business interview

So, you’ve decided to pursue a management consulting career. You’ve successfully created and submitted an impressive resume, and your favorite suit is pressed and ready to go. Now all you need to do is ace that interview. But how? Consulting interviews are tough, and many aspiring consultants feel intimidated by the thought of interviewing at world-renowned consultancies, but if you prepare accordingly you’re sure to come out on top.

Here are some practical tips to help you prepare.

Before the Interview

Before you face the interviewer, you should do the following:

Research the Company

Do your homework and find out everything you need to learn about your prospective firm. Familiarize yourself with all relevant information before you go to the interview. Know who their clients are and research them, find out what problems they handle as well as their preferred methodologies, and visit their website and follow their social accounts in order to connect with people who are associated with them. This information will give you some helpful insights which you can use during the interview.

Prepare Questions

Yes, it’s important to know how to answer questions during the interview. However, at some point you’ll be asked if you have any concerns, which is your chance to ask insightful questions. Knowing how and what to ask will show your genuine interest in the job. You can ask about the interviewer’s experience with the firm or what it’s like to work as a consultant.

Evaluate Your Competencies

Assess your skills and reflect on how suitable you are for the job. Identify your weaknesses and focus on improving them in the weeks before the interview. You need to prove that you have the capability to perform the responsibilities of a consultant. Self-awareness is key to success; if you feel that you lack a few critical skills, work on honing them.

Learn the Consulting Frameworks

Memorize consulting frameworks. If you master the frameworks, you’re likely to arrive at a pragmatic solution to any given problem. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the large amount of data presented; you may be confused about where and how to start. Understanding business frameworks can definitely guide you in generating sound recommendations. Make sure to take the time to master and apply different frameworks to various cases

Read the Material Posted on the Recruiting Website

Top-tier consulting firms like McKinsey, BCG, Booz ,and Bain provide information for candidates on their websites about what they are looking for in an applicant. You can also take advantage of the review materials that they offer.

Follow Current Events in the Industry

You won’t demonstrate to recruiters that you have what it takes to be a consultant if you don’t stay on top of current events. Equip yourself with industry knowledge by reading news and magazine articles about the finance and politics sectors, both domestic and international. Also, and most importantly, keep yourself updated about the company that you’re interviewing with.

Network, Network, Network

Build strong relationships with industry professionals. Networking is a powerful tool that can help you effectively prepare for the interview. The experts among your contacts can definitely guide you on how to break into this industry. Courteously ask for their advice. If lucky enough, you might even have the chance to make friends with someone who’s worked there or is currently an employee in your target firm. Referral strategy has been proven to be a great way to land a job, so make an effort to grow your network of professionals. Join organizations and participate in LinkedIn and other networking sites.

Improve Your Mental Math

Consultants are expected to know how to make calculations and estimations; therefore you’ll be presented with a great deal of numerical data in your case interview. Thus, it’s imperative that you hone your mental math skills. Simulate the actual interview as you practice so you can gauge your speed and continue to improve.

Know How to Read Charts, Graphs, and Tables

To be a good consultant, you must be excellent at interpreting charts, graphs, and tables. Regardless of how the data is presented, you should be able to come up with accurate recommendations. This is crucial to acing your interview with top-tier consulting firms. Devote ample time to reading graphical charts or data spreadsheets so you can improve your data analysis.

Look for Case Interview Review Sessions

If you’re still in school, you can look for consulting clubs and career service centers that offer case practice sessions. Take advantage of these events—they will help you further prepare for the interview and may even provide some good review materials.

Practice with Someone

The best way to prepare for a consulting interview at a top-tier firm is to conduct a mock interview. Yes, it’s important that you study on your own first, but to test whether all your hard work is paying off, you need to conduct a mock interview with a qualified person. This is important to remember: Conduct mock interviews with people who have knowledge about the consulting industry. This will help you improve your ability to convey structured ideas as well as your ability to handle pressure. Take it seriously and simulate the interview conditions. Afterwards, ask for some valuable feedback that will help improve your performance.

Start as Early as You Can

The key to being prepared for the interview is to start early.  The earlier you prepare, the more cases you’ll be able to study. Take your time learning how to approach and solve different types of cases. Remember, procrastination is often the cause of one’s failure.

Prepare, Don’t Over Prepare

Indeed, you have to thoroughly prepare for your consulting interview. However, be careful not to over prepare. This requires some judgment on your part. Practicing is great but not to the extent that you’ll sound  rehearsed. You don’t want to demonstrate to your interviewer how good you are at memorizing a rehearsed speech. Top firms want to know how you think, so be careful not to make the script too obvious.

On the Day of the Interview

Here are some tips to remember on the day of the interview:

Dress Accordingly

To give your confidence an extra boost, you should wear standard professional business attire to your consulting interview. Be neutral and try to keep your fashion as simple as possible. Avoid wearing flashy ties or accessories. Based on’s annual survey, 51% of hiring managers said that dressing inappropriately is the most common and damaging mistake a candidate can make during the interview. So in order to make a good first impression, you need to convey a polished and professional look.

Keep Your Poise

The interview process in top-tier consulting firms is very intense. You need to remain poised. Don’t let them upset you with abrupt or unfriendly behavior—keep a positive and professional attitude and smile! Remember, you’re not there to make friends; you’re there to impress them and get the job. Besides, they might be testing your ability to deal with nasty clients and co-workers.

Make Eye Contact

Be confident and maintain eye contact. According to an infographic titled, “What You Wish You’d Known Before Your Job Interview,” 67% of managers said that failure to make eye contact is a common nonverbal mistake applicants make during interviews. (The statistics were taken from a survey of 2,000 managers.)

Think and Listen

Many aspiring consultants fail to do this during the interview. Keep your focus so you won’t miss important hints or questions that are dropped during the discussion. One common issue among interviewees is writing too much. Don’t get too fixated on the details. Write down only a few words, not everything. Some words and phrases are there to confuse you. Remember, good consultants can easily spot the key facts. Listen and think carefully about the implications of the details presented.

Keep an Open Mind

Don’t sound defensive. If your interviewer seems to challenge your recommendation, acknowledge that what he or she said may be a relevant viewpoint that you haven’t considered. Good consultants know that there are many potential solutions to a single problem, so try to keep an open mind during your interview, and trust your instincts when presenting a persuasive proposal.

Ask Questions

After you’ve been provided with information about the case, be sure to ask intelligent questions. It’s best to start an engaging  dialogue. Consultants are expected to be engaging in team problem solving situations. Be inquisitive as curiosity is a persistent trait of successful consultants, and add some intelligent thoughts in order to generate hypothesis driven questions.

Take Time to Structure the Problem

Structure the problem using your own methodology. You can (and should!) use a consulting framework as a starting point, but no framework will fit your case problem to a tee. You may ask the interviewer for a minute to formulate your thoughts before you answer. As you think it through, try your best to systematically break the question down into digestible pieces. Make sure your structure is logical and each piece doesn’t overlap the other. Although what you learned in class or from a book may guide you, try to incorporate your own method of showcasing your problem solving prowess, and try your best to sound original.

Take a Stand

Toward the end of the discussion, be prepared to take a final stand. Yes, you might have been provided with limited data and time to tackle the underlying issues, but never hesitate to make a call. Consulting firms want to know how you’ll draw a sound recommendation based on the information you were given.

Preparation is a fundamental requirement to success, particularly in a very competitive industry like management consulting.

Learn More

For more helpful insights on how to craft a winning job application, download our free guide to consulting career and learn how you can outshine the competition!


You Might Also Like...

Preparing for an Interview at a Top-tier Management Consulting Firm

Written by . Posted in Case Interview Prep, Fit Interview Prep


Management consulting is a highly sought-after career by both fresh graduates and experienced professionals. This industry offers intellectually stimulating challenges,  generous compensation, and a strong sense of fulfillment. Thousands of applicants submit their applications to top-tier management consulting firms each year. Because the recruiting process is so competitive, you need to work hard and spend time preparing if you truly want to land a job in this lucrative industry.

First, you have to create a great resume and cover letter that are tailored to the goals of  your target firm and requirements of the position. Be sure to structure your relevant details in the most comprehensible manner. After submitting you excellent resume and cover letter,  you need to start preparing for the most crucial and, for some applicants, the most nerve-racking part of the recruitment process—the interview.

Evaluate Your Competencies

Before recruiters actually call you for an interview, evaluate your suitability for the job. Take the time to thoroughly read the job description and determine if you possess the competencies to meet the requirements of the position. Are you capable of analyzing and solving problems? Do you have the skills to clearly communicate your ideas to supervisors and colleagues? Are you genuinely interested in business operations? These are some of the questions that can help you assess your competencies. Remember, if don’t think you  you are ready for a consulting position, don’t waste your time applying. Develop  your skills and when you feel you have honed your abilities, you will be more confident during the interview.

Research the Company

If you really feel that you are properly equipped with the right credentials, then it’s time to conduct some research on your prospective firm. The information you can get by visiting their website, following their social accounts, and connecting with people who are associated with the firm will serve as your guide in preparing for the interview. To successfully get through the selection process, you should learn the names of key people at the firm, their preferred methodologies, and the types of cases they work on.

Reading press releases in the newspaper or online will provide you with the current status and projects of the company. Determine how you can contribute to the growth of the company and practice answering questions related to organizational improvement.

Practice as Many Case Studies as You Can

Case studies are an indispensable part of management consulting interviews. If you have chosen this field, you should know by now that the recruiting process involves more than the standard job interview. Recruiters in this industry greatly rely on case descriptions and  hypothetical and theoretical problems. Learning how to handle this type of interview will greatly improve your chance of landing a job at a top management consulting agency.

Firms like Bain and McKinsey offer practice case studies as well as interview preparation advice on their websites. The skills that you will use during a case study interview are the same set of skills needed to be an effective management consultant. Make sure you have a good grasp of basic business concepts such as market structure and financials. Convey  your value by demonstrating that you have the requisite knowledge and skills to perform the core activities of the firm.

There’s a plethora of case study practice guides available today. You need not purchase every study guide published; select three or four reputable ones. Remember, the more exposure you have to case questions, the more prepared and competent you will be during your interview.

Master Consulting Frameworks

Your ability to think logically is not enough to land a job in the consulting industry. You must be able to structure your answer within a specified time. Sometimes, knowing where and how to start is the biggest problem. This challenge can be overcome by applying different business frameworks to different situations. These frameworks will help you identify the possible contributing factors of the problem, generate sound recommendations, and build your confidence.

Practice with Someone

It’s recommended that you practice with somebody who can walk you through the cases. Ask a friend, trusted colleague, or family member. There are some materials available to guide those who are helping you in how to ask questions or reveal other parts of the problem.

Network with Industry Professionals

Networking is another powerful tool that can help you prepare for the interview. Having experts in your circle of contacts can definitely help you break into this industry. You can ask for more tips and advice from these professionals. In addition, referral strategy is known as an effective way to land a job. Expand your network of professionals by joining organizations, LinkedIn, and other popular networking sites.

Wear Appropriate Attire

Present yourself in a neat and professional manner. Wearing appropriate clothing during your interview will make you feel more confident. If you want to be a reputable management consultant, you have to dress like one. Appearance always matters.

Breaking into the industry of management consulting can be quite challenging. Dedicate enough time and effort to preparing for the interview so that you can prove to the recruiter that you have what it takes to be the next sought-after consultant.

You Might Also Like...

Consulting Wear: Tips for Projecting Your Professionalism

Written by . Posted in Consulting Application, Fit Interview Prep

Businessman in classic vest against row of suits in shop

In preparing for your interview, you’ve researched your target consulting firm, networked with some of its employees, and practiced resolving case interviews. However, when you woke up on the actual day, you realized you hadn’t thought about what to wear during the interview.

Being in this situation can cause you some problems. Whether you like it or not, your consulting wear affects the interviewer’s impression of you. This doesn’t mean you have to look like attractive TV stars and models; what’s important is that you convey professionalism and here’s why:

Sociability Consultants deal with clients from different companies across various industries. In order for you to maintain the firm’s brand, you should practice good grooming and look neat.
Confidence Your choice of clothing affects how you project your confidence.  Remember, those who dress smart look smart.

Consulting Wear for Women

The majority of management consulting firms follow a conservative dress code. Below are some suggestions for consulting wear for women which fit the industry’s culture:

Suit and Blouse Select a black, dark brown, grey or navy blue suit. Your blouse should match your suit and shoes.
Shoes Wear conservative and comfortable high heels.
Jewelry Limit yourself to three basic pieces of jewelry. Don’t wear dangling earrings as they distract the interviewer.
Makeup Apply light makeup to conceal nervousness. Use lipstick and foundation that complement your complexion and wear neutral eye shadow. You may also want to tweeze any stray hairs on your browline.
Scent Dab on a little bit of sweet-smelling perfume, but if you’re not sure about the scent, don’t take the risk. You wouldn’t want to be remembered as the applicant with the strong smell.
Hairstyle Keep your hair away from your face. Use a bobby pin to fix your bangs, or if you have long hair, pull it back in a ponytail. A nice hairstyle should keep you from fiddling with it.
Nails Keep your nails clean and neatly filed. If you get a manicure, don’t choose colors that are too bright. Beige polishes are recommended.

Consulting Wear for Men

Men are not exempt from dressing appropriately during the consulting interview. Here are some suggestions for consulting wear for men:

Suit and undershirts Wear a solid colored suit, such as navy blue or black, and a white or light-colored collared shirt that matches the tie.
Shoes and socks Your shoes should be black, closed, and well-polished. Sandals are definitely not allowed. Wear dark socks to look more professional.
Jewelry A watch is appropriate, however, other accessories are discouraged.
Hairstyle Keep it clean and neat. You may use a matte styling product if necessary. Avoid coming to the interview with a trendy hairstyle.
Shave A clean-shaven face is pleasing to look at. An unkempt beard will make you look unprofessional. If you’re not comfortable with this, you can always grow it back once you’ve sealed the deal.

Don’t Wear Uncomfortable Clothes

When you are planning what to wear during the interview, think of the most important thing— comfort. If you go into the interview anxious about the length of your skirt or hairstyle, you won’t be able to focus on analyzing the business case and finding the right solutions. Your consulting wear should boost, not ruin, your candidacy.

Give Yourself Plenty of Time to Prepare

You should get sufficient rest the night before the interview, and wake up early to shower, dress, shave, and fix your hair so you’re not rushing to the interview. Leaving enough time for preparation will keep you calm, lessen your anxiety, and boost your confidence.

You Might Also Like...

Management Consulting Behavioral Questions

Written by . Posted in Fit Interview Prep


When you are called for a management consulting fit interview, that means your application stood out above other candidates. If you are fortunate enough to be in this situation, get ready for the next challenge by preparing answers to the behavioral questions we listed below.

In management consulting case interviews, recruiters assess your capability to think in a logical way. They give you questions on actual business problems, brain teasers and estimation questions to figure out how technically prepared you are. During fit interviews, they assess if you:

  • Are emotionally ready to take the position
  • Have a personality that matches with their corporate culture
  • Can handle the work-related pressure
  • Can deal with colleagues smoothly
  • Have the right motivation

We never know what questions you will get. So to help you in the best way we can, we listed the main areas that management consulting recruiters usually deep dive into and enumerated at least five possible questions under each category. Try to practice your answers to develop your confidence for the actual interview.

Personal Qualities and Background

  • Tell me something about yourself.
  • What inspired you to pursue a consulting career?
  • Why do you want to work in this consulting firm?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • How prepared are you for a management consulting position in our firm?

Decision Making

  • What was the most challenging or most difficult decision you’ve ever made? Tell me the details about it.
  • How do you come up with a decision? Do you prefer to consult other people or do you want to decide on your own? Why?
  • Think about an experience when you had to choose from several options. How did you come up with your final decision?
  • What will you do if you need to decide on something that’s beyond your technical knowledge or area of responsibility within a limited amount of time?
  • Before you went to university, what programs were you considering? What made you decide to pursue your degree?


  • How should management consultants communicate effectively?
  • Tell me an incident when your boss wasn’t convinced with your proposal or idea. How did you explain your side?
  • Share an experience when you received a negative feedback about your work output. How did you manage it?
  • Recall an experience when you needed to develop and present an idea in front of a large or small group. How would you rate your presentation skills that time?
  • What was the most challenging report you’ve ever written? How did you accomplish it?

Interpersonal Skills

  • How did you relate with your colleagues and supervisors on your first day at work in your previous job? (How did you relate with the club members and officers during the first club activity you’ve joined?)
  • Tell me about a time when you had to coordinate with someone whom you were not comfortable? How did you manage it?
  • How do you deal with different personalities?
  • In which situation are you more productive or effective: working on your own or working on a team?
  • When you’re working with your close friends, what guidelines do you follow to maintain objectivity and professionalism?

Other Areas

  • (Time Management) How will you maintain work-life balance when your job requires you to work for 60 to 80 hours per week?
  • (Commitment) Tell me about community involvement project in which you volunteered. What was your role in the team?
  • (Stress Management) What do you usually do when you’re frustrated, anxious or under stress?  Illustrate your answer with an experience.
  • (Productivity) If you get the management consulting job, what possible factors will pull your productivity level down?
  • (Organizational Skill) How do you usually organize a project to ensure success at the end of the day? Cite an experience.

You Might Also Like...

Similarities as a Factor for Hiring Management Consultants

Written by . Posted in Fit Interview Prep

happy meeting

Lauren Rivera’s intensive study, “Hiring as Cultural Matching: The Case of Elite Professional Service Firms” proves that a management consulting job interview involves more than just screening the applicant’s knowledge and skills: The interviewer must match the culture of the candidates with that of the firms.

Based on research, Rivera concluded that hiring is basically an interpersonal process. Finding similarities is the first thing two people do upon meeting. These commonalities don’t only yield trust, comfort, excitement, and attraction, they also serve as bases for evaluating merit.

Methods and Results

To support the statement above, Rivera interviewed approximately 120 professionals in the legal, investment banking, and management consulting industries. She asked what they look for in applicants and observed how they review resumes. She also monitored evaluators discuss and make hiring decisions while she was still an intern. When she summarized the results, she found that cultural similarities are the number one factor employers use to assess interviewees.

Although knowledge, skills, and abilities are important to employers, how a candidate will “fit” with the company and his or her colleagues is a factor that must be considered. Nobody wants to work with someone who is difficult to get along with. Every consulting project requires a great deal of brainstorming, discussion, and teamwork. At times, project team members are sent to different cities and it’s crucial that members can converse comfortably, no matter where they are or how many challenges they face.

Whirlpool held a forum on an article that discusses Rivera’s study. Some participants agreed with her findings and attested that an intellectual or skilled person may perform their responsibilities outstandingly, but his or her negative personality dampens the working atmosphere in the office. Consequently, it becomes a point for management to significantly consider “personal traits” during the interview process.

Implications for Management Consulting Applicants

What do the results of Rivera’s study mean to aspirants like you? You may want to consider the following:

Carefully Choose the Firm Where You Want to Work

Aside from the prestige and financial perks, base your decision to apply at organizations where you will enjoy working. Before sending out your application, conduct research on the firm’s values and if possible, the interests of their professional management consultants. If you are convinced that the firm is not for you, research alternate companies.

Convey the Value of Flexibility in the Interview

It is impossible for you to know which personality traits the interviewer is looking for. However, you can convey that you are capable of adjusting to any work environment by:

Sociability Questions Answering sociability questions carefully. Prove that personality differences are not a major concern.
Active Listening Don’t interrupt the interviewers. Listen attentively and respond to their ideas, concepts, and  jokes. If there’s something you don’t agree with, indicate the positive aspects of the idea before explaining why you oppose it.
Friendly Gestures Make use of your gestures. Nod casually to agree with what the interviewer says; smile to convey warmth and establish friendship. Your nonverbal communication indicates your sociability.


Improve Your Confidence in Management Consulting Interviews

Written by . Posted in Case Interview Prep, Fit Interview Prep

People waiting for job interview

Self-confidence during management consulting interviews is a turn-on for recruiters of Bain, BCG, McKinsey and other top tier management consulting firms. It makes you look more professional, it fuels your eloquence, and it makes you feel you deserve to get the job. The good news is that developing it shouldn’t be a stretch for you.

The Roots of Confidence

Confidence starts with yourself; no one else can give that to you. This implies that for this characteristic to bud, you must go back to your being. Focus on the bright side. Ponder on your strengths that make other people grateful. Recall how active you were at school or in an organization. Remember how you impressed your boss and colleagues with your achievements at work. Call to mind those moments when you were able to give pride to your family. These little but positive tidbits of self-appreciation reminds you of your worth as a person.

The Nature of Management Consulting Interviews

Being informed of what you are getting into helps you prepare for the challenge. In management consulting, recruiters conduct interviews for a couple of reasons: to know you and to assess your skills. In behavioral interviews, they will pose questions about your education, experience, goals and other relevant areas. These are formulated based on the cover letter and resume you submitted to them. During case interviews, they present a business case. You are then expected to evaluate it and give some recommendations for its resolution. This requires you to master consulting frameworks. They provide a step-by-step structure on how to approach each case.

The Positive Effects of Practice

“Practice makes it perfect” is an adage that never gets old because of the truth it conveys. The mastery you get from rehearsals also adds up to your confidence level. When you practice for a management consulting interview, you go through possible situational questions. You also study different business cases, operational strategies, marketing strategies, financial reports and techniques for answering. Your familiarity in these areas increases the chances of encountering the same concepts during the interview, making you feel more convinced of your answers. If possible, try to practice with a friend who can give you feedback on your answers and body language.

Awareness of the Nontechnical Aspects

The nontechnical aspects of the interview also have an impact on your confidence. In one of your practice sessions, try to grab a mirror and observe your body movements. Do you have a poor posture? Do you fold your arms, cross your legs and do other defensive gestures? Do you fondle your hair, bite your nails, tap the table with your fingers and jiggle your leg? These forms of fidgeting indicate you are neither comfortable nor confident with your answers. Further, put on some professional clothes for the interview. Your getup also influences your manners. It stirs you to answer and behave like a real expert.

Aside from developing your confidence, prepare for the other factors that affect your performance in an interview.

You Might Also Like...

What to Wear to a Consulting Interview

Written by . Posted in Case Interview Prep, Fit Interview Prep

Businessman in classic vest against row of suits in shop

Interviewers may have been trained to be unbiased, but that doesn’t mean you should not believe in first impressions during job interviews.  The truth is if you don’t create an impact at that moment, you will never be called for another round.

There are two ways to prepare for management consulting interviews: cognitively and physically. The former refers to readiness to resolve business cases in a structured, logical manner as well as preparing for fit interviews. The latter focuses on how you look: the first thing that recruiters notice as you step into the interview room. Your getup is the first indicator of your professionalism, and somehow it subtly affects the way you answer questions.

Positive Effects of Dressing Professionally

Your choice of clothes is part of your nonverbal communication and therefore, it conveys a lot about your personality. Dressing appropriately sends a message that you respect the interviewer, the company and the situation. This sense of awareness and respect is quite important in the field of management consulting since the position requires you to work from one client to another. Different clients have different dress codes, and you must be able to recognize and adapt with their policy readily.

How to Dress for a Consulting Interview

Management consulting is a conservative industry; hence, you must put on the right clothes when you are called for an interview. Below are some tips to consider.

  • Color – Choose a solid, dark color for your suit and tie. Black, navy or dark grey are good choices.
  • Combination – Coordinate the colors of your inner and outer clothes. A white or light-colored shirt will go well with your dark suit. Don’t wear something too bright for it’s dazzling to the eyes.
  • Shoes – Don’t forget to polish them before going to the interview. The color should match your clothes, too. For women, wearing closed, high-heeled shoes can make you feel more confident. Make sure you’re comfortable using them, though.
  • Accessories – Use accessories sparingly. Big, dangling earrings and necklaces are too distracting and noisy for the management consulting interviewer.
  • Hair – Fix it well. See to it that they don’t fall over the face during the interview. You can add some style, but you must look neat with it.
  • Make-up – For women, apply some natural-looking makeup. Before you enter the room, check if your teeth have lipstick smudges. That can be a bit embarrassing.
  • Cologne – You may apply a dab of sweet-smelling perfume. However, if you’re not sure of the scent, forget the idea. Just stay clean and fresh.

Additional Tips

Here are three tips to help you decide on what to wear for the management consulting fit and case interviews.

  • Call the Human Resources Department and ask for the firm’s dress code. It’s usually safe to follow it or to dress more formally than what employees put on to work.  If this is too difficult for you, get in touch with your network or look for advice on the Internet.
  • Always complement your clothes with other nonverbal indicators. Your formal attire won’t compensate for your poor posture. The perfect color combination of your outfit proves nothing without your enthusiasm.
  • Always stay on the safe side when choosing an outfit for the interview. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re unfashionable; it just gives you a certain level of comfort. As you face the interviewer, you won’t have to worry if you’re wearing the right clothes. You can focus on giving the correct answers instead.

You Might Also Like...

Management Consulting Interview Questions

Written by . Posted in Case Interview Prep, Fit Interview Prep


Being called for interview by a management consulting firm is a privilege. Only a few percent of the applicant pool are given the chance to be assessed further. Hence, necessary preparation must be done to nail down the questions.

This doesn’t only include identifying the most appropriate outfit. More importantly, you should anticipate the possible interview questions and rehearse your ideal answers. This ensures your ideas are substantial. It also makes you appear eloquent and confident, two necessary characteristics of management consultants.

Top tier consulting firms like Bain and McKinsey have two types of interviews: fit interviews and case interviews. Below are categories of questions you will most likely get in both interviews.

Fit Interviews

This type of interview focuses on who you are as a person. It gauges if your personality is a perfect match for the vacant management consulting position. It includes the following areas:

Personal Background

You will be asked to share general details about your life. The common question under this category is, “Please tell me about yourself.” When you answer this question, include only bits of information that are relevant to your application. You don’t have to mention unnecessary details, such as the awards you received in high school or your academic achievement back in elementary. Always ask yourself, “What does the interviewer want to hear from me?”


Especially if you are a fresh graduate, interviewers will spend a few minutes digging information about your education. They might ask about your major subjects to get an idea about your understanding of management operations. Also, you will be asked to describe your extra-curricular activities since they indicate your commitment, interpersonal and leadership skills.

Skills and Professional Experience

Interviewers will also go into details of your significant experience in the past. This includes how you resolved a major problem, how you maintained work-life balance despite your busy schedule and other queries related to the daily life of a management consultant. Answers to these behavioral questions are believed to predict your future reaction to similar situations in the workplace.

Case Interviews

This type of interview is classic to management consulting. Interviewers give you an ambiguous case to assess how you break a complex problem into small, manageable chunks. Questions under this type of interviews are categorized into three.

Business Case

You will be presented with a real-life business case similar to what professional consultants deal with every day. It can be a market-related or competition dilemma. They are best resolved with management consulting frameworks. They provide structure and logic to the process of arriving at an acceptable answer.

Estimation Questions

From its name, it can be derived that you will be using numbers to guesstimate the answer based on a logical explanation. For instance, you will be asked to determine the number of mobile phones that should be produced next year or the number of hotdogs that are eaten by Chinese children in a week. Mental math is very important in answering these questions.

Brain Teasers

This category includes riddles that must be answered with an out-of-the-box thinking. A common example is, “Why are manholes round?” If you happen not to know the correct answer, it’s alright. Recruiters go after the means to an end. What matters is you are able to provide a rationale for your answer.

You Might Also Like...