"Stick-to-the-gun" soft skill

soft skills
New answer on Apr 14, 2021
4 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Apr 11, 2021

Hello PL Community,

Recently I got a feedback from one of the interviewers that I was too soft throughout the interview. Everytime I got challenged, I would change my answer or direction. As such, may I know how a real consultant "sticks to the gun" while explaining business structure to or giving a final recommendation to clients?

Thank you!

(edited)

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Adi
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updated an answer on Apr 12, 2021
Accenture, Deloitte | Precision Case Prep | Experienced Interviewer & Career Coach | 15 years professional experience

Great question and thanks for raising. And this one is actually difficult and takes time & practice to improve.

In real life, the way you overcome this is by preparing well when you can before that client meeting, deliverable submission or presentation. You practice, anticipate questions and prepare your evidence. One important shift is that a lot of such discussions are now moving to collaboration & co-creation i.e. its not a one way traffic anymore- consultant -> clients. Both parties debate, discuss, collaborate & co-create an approach/solution together.

But, in case study interviews you dont have the luxury of "preparation time" on the spot. One way would be to be holistic when you are asking your clarifying questions, preparing the framework and making your hypothesis. Take extra 30 seconds to ask yourself- "what else inside or outside the company am I missing". Be mindful of any attributes/areas you have ignored and have an answer ready to defend it. When the interviewer challenges you on a particular point, accept the challenge but dont change course straightaway. Ask for a few seconds to check your work before you tell them you are going to accept/reject their suggestion. Defend your approach if you can or course correct if you genuinly made a mistake or missed something. Same thing applies for market estimation questions.

It is not easy and will require practice.

(edited)

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Ian
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replied on Apr 11, 2021
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

This is great feedback and a great question!

This is hard to explain in writing, but let me try.

  1. Before you say anything or have a view, make sure it's defendable. Otherwise you're guessing.
  2. When you state your view provide 1-2 reasons
  3. When you are challenged say "That's an interesting point, though I believe x is more important". When countering, you either:
    1. Reinforce your position with the same or additional information
    2. Or, counter their argument with other information

I imagine you also have a bit of a psycological battle going on here yes? You just don't like being challenged/controntation, and so you choose to appease.

Don't worry - I used to be this way too! If you'd like some mindset shift coaching I'd be more than happy to throw you into these challenging situations, and train you to be a debate king/queen :)

Regardless, good luck! The best thing you can do to "stick-to-the-gun" is practice, practice, practice!

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Clara
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replied on Apr 11, 2021
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

That is a great piece of feedback, since it´s concrete and accionable!

It´s also very common to get follow up questions, clarification questions and pushback! And many times it´s not becuase what you said is bad or crazy, but to see how you react under a little pressure.

When you get pushbacked, instead of jumping the boat, ask for 10-20 to order your thoughts and gather your arguments to make a short explanation about them.

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

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Antonello
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replied on Apr 14, 2021
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

Hi, this is important feedback to set up a structured prep plan before the next interview. The goal is finding the right balance between implementing the good points of the interviewer without being defensive and go straight with your approach, if you feel backupped with data and info you have

Best,
Antonello

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Adi gave the best answer

Adi

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Accenture, Deloitte | Precision Case Prep | Experienced Interviewer & Career Coach | 15 years professional experience
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