If I don't pass the initial resume screen, what else can I do to get an interview with a consulting firm?

consultingprep interviewinvitation resumerejection
New answer on Nov 23, 2020
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Anonymous A asked on Sep 12, 2019

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Daniel
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replied on Sep 12, 2019
McKinsey / ex-Interviewer at McKinsey / I will coach you to rock those interviews

Unfortunately, if you don't pass the initial screening the only thing you can do then is to reapply in 18 months. You of course will need to make sure that during that time you gather more experience, which will make you an interesting candidate for the MBB (internship at a top corporate, startup experience, prestigious degree, outstanding social engagement, etc.).

But the better question to ask is: how to pass the initial resume screen? In your CV focus on highlighting the virtues, which will make you suitable for consulting: leadership, team work, entrepreneurship, analitical skills, creativity. Make sure your CV stands out: are you a marathon runner? Mention it! Do you love 18th century French literature? Mention it!

Also, if you feel unsure about your CV, my advice would be to apply for participation in events rather than for a job right away. Even though the MBBs argue that there is no difference in applying for events vs. actual consulting job, in my experience screening for events is a bit more relaxed and if you prove yourself active and interesting during the event, you will be invited for the interviews automatically. Another important point is that you can apply for events as many times as you want – if you are rejected for one event, you can re-apply for another the next day, no need to wait for 18 months.

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Vlad
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replied on Sep 12, 2019
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi!

First, you need to understand why you didn't pass the initial screening and work on that.

Secondly - get a referral.

There are certain criteria for the referral:

  1. The consultant makes you a reference in the system and uploads your resume. Usually, he has to indicate why he thinks you are a good candidate
  2. You skip some steps in the recruiting process (CV screening at McK, Test at Bain)
  3. The consultant gets referral bonus ($) if you get a job offer

As you can see simply mentioning a person in your CL does not change the process at all.

The conversion to reference will be higher among consultant / manager level people who are still interested in the referral bonus. The basic idea is to ask these people for a mock interview.

Here are some tips on how you can do that:

1) Leverage your own network - find friends or friends of friends who can practice cases with you or make you a reference.

2) Attend company events. Consulting companies do a lot of events both for graduates and experienced hires. Find the social network groups related to consulting or websites, subscribe to newsletters and stay tuned. Also, check if they have events in your University since you are a PHD.

While some of the events will be open to everyone, others will require a resume and a cover letter, so make sure to prep.

3) Talk to people on the events and send Thank You notes. After each event, there is a Q&A session where you can talk to consultants 1 on 1 or in a group. Ask for contact info or send a thank you note after the event ("I just wanted to thank you for visiting our University... It was especially interesting to hear about... Would be happy to keep in touch and apply in the nearest future.). Alternatively, you may use linkedin for that. If you are an experienced hire I strongly suggest to ask for a 1 on 1 meeting in a thank you note.

4) 1 on 1 meetings. All people like giving an advice. So don't hesitate to ask consultants for a career advice. Tell your story and ask how consulting fits into it

5) Mock interview Depending on where you are in your prep process you may ask a consultant for a mock interview. Consultants are very much opened to help even if it is a cold call e-mail. The main problem is a lack of time on their side. So don't be afraid to remind about yourself if the consultant has already committed but finds it hard to find the time

6) Talking to partners If you are an experienced hire I suggest to talk directly to the partners in your industry or the partner responsible for experienced hires (in consulting partners also have additional roles). Get an intro from the HR or from your friends working there. Partners care a lot about experienced hires with relevant industry expertise. Chances to get referral are much lower though. They also will not be interested in giving mock interviews.

7) If you are an MBA graduate Just talk to your section mates and ask for a reference or a mock interview - they will be happy to help. Make sure you attend all the consulting events.

Good luck!

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Francesco
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replied on Sep 13, 2019
#1 Expert for Coaching Sessions (3.600+) | 1.300+ Reviews with 100% Recommendation Rate | Ex BCG | 8+ Years of Coaching

Hi Anonymous,

I would recommend two things to improve your chances for your next applications:

  1. Ask to a friend/current consultant/ expert to review your CV/Cover. There may be improvements that can help you to stand out
  2. Find a referral for your application. This is the single most powerful thing you can do to get an invitation. You can find some tips here: https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/hey-everyonehope-all-is-well-3176

Hope this helps,
Francesco

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Deepti
Expert
replied on Sep 12, 2019

Hi,

You can try to network and see if anyone would be willing to refer you. Most people in consulting are often happy to have coffee chats and talk about their experience in consulting and what their firms look for. Should they like you and your profile, they will offer to refer you to their firm.

In my opinion an internal referal is more likely to get you a first round interview.

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Gaurav
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Content Creator
replied on Nov 23, 2020
Ex-Mckinsey|Certified Career Coach |Placed 500+ candidates at MBB & other consultancies

Hi there,

You should wait until the ban ends, usually it takes 12-24 months.

I recommend you find a referral, upgrate your profile and make CV and CL as best as possible.

Do you need any further help?

All the best,

GB

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Daniel gave the best answer

Daniel

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McKinsey / ex-Interviewer at McKinsey / I will coach you to rock those interviews
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