sheens image consulting

Common Interview Questions for Consulting Jobs

Possibly one of the most dreaded thing you’ll ever have to go through in your career – Interviews. They come in all types – Promotional Interviews, Exit Interviews, Job Interviews. Here are 5 types of interview questions that are commonly asked when being interviewed for Consultancy jobs.

  1. Behavioral Questions 

These are questions that Interviewers ask to learn about your past behavior in specific work situations. How you have “behaved” in certain situations in the past will give them clues on how you’ll behave in those same situations when working for them in the future.

There are five main categories of behavioural questions:

  • Teamwork: Give me an example of a time you faced conflict while working in a team. How did you handle it?’
  • Client-facing skills: Describe a time you had to interact with a difficult client. What was the situation and how did you handle it?
  • Ability to adapt: Tell me about a time you failed. How did you deal with this situation?
  • Time Management Skills: Give me an example of a time you managed numerous responsibilities. How did you handle that?
  • Communication skills: Tell me about a successful presentation you gave and why you think it was a hit.

The key to answering behavioural questions is with a Success Story – talk about how you managed to calm the fire in between two other teammates or with a difficult client and how it lead to you growing as an employee or as a person.

  1. Market Sizing/Estimates

Interviewers will ask you to estimate a quantitative variable relevant to a case you are asked to solve. Interviewers are looking for the quantitative and reasoning aspect behind the answer, and not the answer itself. Most of the time, there are no right or wrong answers.

For example, “How many people will dress in red at Raffles City on a typical Monday?”. It may seem absurd to some, “How am I supposed to know?”, “Should I spend the entire Monday counting with three other friends (so we cover people coming from all directions)?” Point again, there are no right or wrong answers, but interviewers are not looking for a smart-alec guess either “oh, I know, how about 72?”. They’re looking for the HOW factor, HOW did you derive at the answer 72?

They may be also looking at the reasoning. How your argue your answer or the reason behind your answer and not just “I like the number that’s why”, or “I took a guess”. Candidates may also question the interviewer – “By wearing red, do you mean full red suit/dress or partial red.” or “Just to clarify, what do you mean by a typical Monday?”

  1. Case Studies

Primarily, interviewers are concerned with how effectively you can analyze a problem, determine key factors, brainstorm ideas, and propose workable, pragmatic solutions that are supported by your analysis.

In a case interview, coming up with the “correct” answer isn’t nearly as important as the process you use for getting there. An example of a case study question could be: What would be your approach for introducing a product into a foreign market? What are the risks and benefits to consider i.e. producing in your own country VS producing in the new country, etc?

Providing an answer to a case study question is more than recounting the issues and problems set forth, it includes identifying the most important issues, employing sound and logical analysis, developing an action plan for addressing the problem(s) and making recommendations.

In case interviews, it’s not uncommon for interviewers to exclude important details when asking candidates to resolve hypothetical business problems presented. It’s okay to ask interviewers for more information, and it’s expected – they want to see if you can identify what information is important, and what is not.

  1. Brainteasers

When it comes to brainteasers, interviewers want to see how creative and resourceful you can be. They want to find out if you can think and answer logically and when under pressure.

There are four types of brainteasers:

  1. a) Questions that HAVE correct answers
  2. b) Questions that don’t have one correct answer
  3. c) Questions that you have to break down
  4. d) Questions that test your performance

The point is that there ARE ways to answer them – you just have to recognise the kind of question they are, and think things through before you respond. Don’t be afraid to think out loud, or doodle your thoughts on a piece of paper.

  1. Imaginative Questions

The questions that begin with “Imagine you…….”. Imaginative questions allows interviewers to separate candidates who have the ability to dream with purpose and to generate new ideas from those that just simply wait for instructions and follow suit.

Examples of Imaginative questions include:

  • If you had one month and a $50,000 budget to tackle any project, what would it be?
  • Which external jolts or wild cards have the potential to significantly impact our industry?
  • Which new customer segments will emerge in five years? How will those customers discover our product?

The questions on this list are there to make you think, to throw you off, and quite often a good answer can be the difference between your dream job and unemployment.

There you have it, the 5 most common types of Consultancy firm interview questions. Be prepared and nail that interview!