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The personal fit part of the consulting interview is as important as the case study part

Consulting is a people's business and the interviewer's objective is to determine whether you would be a right fit at the firm

The importance of ‘Fit interviews’ is usually underestimated because of the much-feared case interview. Although the fit portion generally only requires 10-15 minutes during the real interview process, it requires deep thinking from the interviewee's perspective and therefore needs meticulous preparation. The schematic below shows the flow of the consulting interview process. azbcU4Sc1wUhlEu8UyiLQjoATDBXe1PCotXX0hMctUMDH-LuJUFYaFuD9tHVRzMebpQrpOj34HRQogKPSjMy168lsy65lE08ifXKHsNzFQsr0BMWZNLO1TtZkg

To be successful during the interview, you have to understand the thinking and the evaluation process of the interviewer.

Typically, the interviewer has three primary questions in mind:

1. Would the interviewer like to work with you 12 hours a day on a project - sympathy

2. Would you be able to support the team and make the work easier for the team - leverage

3. Would you be happy with the decision to get into consulting in the long run - happiness

You are more likely to get an offer when the interviewer is confident about you encompassing the above three key qualities. Thus, remember to communicate these qualities to the interviewer with your personal fit stories!

Let us understand the preparation process for these categories of questions:

1. Would the interviewer like to work with you 12 hours a day on a project?

It is challenging to prepare for this part because this component serves as a function to display your character and mannerisms.

Just be aware of it and present the best of you at the interview without trying to change who you really are and try to find a good balance (eg. being self confident but not arrogant).

2. Would you be able to support the team and make the work easier for the team?

The underlying question is whether you would be a helpful addition to the project team by integrating well with the team and by being self-reliant after a short period of time.

So, how does the interviewer check this aspect?

The interviewer generally has two ways:

1. By doing a case interview with you in order to determine how you think and approach a complex problem (please see the Case Cracking Dimension)

2. By asking you fit questions that assess whether you have a wide variety of skills necessary to be a successful management consultant

Specifically, what are the most important skills?

Four skills or personality traits are indispensable, which must be demonstrated during the interview:

  1. Flexible - being able to easily cope with changes
  2. Problem solver - being able to break down a complex problem into its component parts
  3. Diversified team player - being able to work with diverse personality types
  4. Hardworker - being willing to go an extra mile

3. Would you be happy with the decision to get into consulting in the long run?

The company you would start working for will be investing a lot of time and money in your training. If the firm senses that you don’t like to travel, have an intense work lifestyle, have the service business attitude, or that you might quit after a few months on the job, it would not make sense for the company to hire you. Therefore, the fit questions would try to probe your personality and determine if consulting indeed is the right fit for your personality.

The fit portion of the interview must also be delivered in a structured fashion

Just as a case interview, the fit interview must also be developed in a structured fashion.

Think of the fit interview as a case study. If you can’t afford to be unstructured during a case, then why should you be unstructured while talking about the most important experiences of your life or the rationale behind your decisions? Therefore, the objective is to be structured when answering Personal Fit questions.

Following this approach will demonstrate that you already possess the skills needed to be successful as a management consultant.

Key takeaways

  • The fit interview is underestimated by the majority of the candidates but it is a crucial component to receive an offer

  • You must spend time to prepare your fit stories and know what you want to say in a structured fashion

  • The interviewer is interested in learning about three things about your personality:

  1. Would the interviewer like to work with you for long hours on a project - sympathy
  2. Would you be able to support the team and make their work easier - leverage
  3. Would you be happy with the decision to get into consulting in the long run - happiness
  • Be structured and provide well thought-out answers

The next section will focus on the application of the concepts learnt in the three common questions.

You want to focus your preparation further on the personal fit part of the interview? We recommend you to:

  • Answer our stress questions while the timer is running! We have prepared 110+ unexpected questions that can await you during your interview.
  • Have a look at our cases focused on personal fit! You can find more useful tips and interesting questions to go through.
  • Go through the Integrated FIT Guide for MBB by Clara! You can use this guide to master personal fit interviews at McKinsey, BCG & Bain. It addresses the specifics of each company and combines key concepts with hands-on techniques. With 50+ real questions, 20+ examples, and special frameworks and worksheets you will be guided step by step and can prepare your FIT stories perfectly.

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McKinsey Questions

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McKinsey Questions Tell me of a situation where you had an opinion and no one seemed to agree with you. What was your goal when you decided to join university / work / clubs / a sports team? Did you have a goal that you were not able to reach? What did you do? What do you want to be remembered for and how are you achieving it? What is your typical way of dealing with conflict?
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BCG Questions

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BCG Questions What arouses your interest when you are working / studying / doing another activity (from the CV)? Tell me of a time where you had no idea what you were doing. When did you use an uncommon approach to do something? Have you ever had responsibility for other people? Tell me of a situation where you were not the official leader.
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Bain Questions

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Bain Questions Tell me about a difficult situation you had to cope with. Tell me of a task which you didn’t like doing and explain why you performed it nevertheless. Why do you do things? What do you like doing most / What is your favorite hobby? Walk me through a situation where you showed leadership skills.
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The Top 5 Questions

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Questions Tell me something about your background. Why should we hire you? Describe a difficult situation and how you handled it? What did your boss or colleagues criticize about you? Do you rather work in a team or independently? Ganzen Case öffnen

Unusual Questions

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Unusual Questions What books/films have you enjoyed recently and why? What is the worst thing that you have ever gotten away with? How do you define and evaluate successful work? Do you fear anything? How would you rate me as your interviewer?
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What books/films have you enjoyed recently and why? What is the worst thing that you have ever gotten away with? How do you define and evaluate successful work? Do you fear anything? How would you rate me as your interviewer? Ganzen Case öffnen