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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 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.

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 your most important experiences of your life or the rationale behind your decisions? Therefore, the objective is to be structured when we answer 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 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

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

3 Comment(s)
September 10, 2014 23:32 -
Jairo

Wow, really nice advices! I'll keep a track on them

August 28, 2014 17:22 -
Fernando

Thanks for your suggestion Vanessa. I apologize! We never meant to offend women!

August 22, 2014 09:07 -
Vanessa

I would advise having the foresight to begin sprinkling a few "she" and "they" instead of so many "he".

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