Bain & Company | University of Cambridge | CV/Resume writing | 770 GMAT
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What does Experienced Hire mean in consulting?

Someone asked on Jun 07, 2018 - 3 answers

I am new to consulting and am a bit confused by all the terminology...

What does Experienced Hire mean exactly? Does it mean that the candidate has already experience in consulting or in another industry? Or does it include both?

Help is appreciated!

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updated his answer on Jun 07, 2018
Bain & Company | University of Cambridge | CV/Resume writing | 770 GMAT

Hi there,

Experienced hire simply means that you are hiring candidates that have worked and held a full-time job before. This can either be industry (e.g. worked at Procter&Gamble) or boutique/different type of consultancy (e.g. BTS consulting). "Lateral" transitions between strategy consulting firms (e.g. Bain to BCG) are quite rare so it would depend on the specific instance whether the candidate is treated as an experience hire or not.

A further requirement is that the candidate usually has to have worked for at least ~2 years to be considered experience hire. Shorter than this, candidates usually have the option of applying through the regular, "graduate hiring" cycles.

Key differences between graduate hires and experienced hires:

  • In terms of recruiting, consulting firms likely have separate teams for both, since consulting has a very different appeal for someone straight out of university vs. a finance manager at a F500 company
  • Experience hires can enter at many different levels based on experience. For very senior hires, they may enter as a Manager or even as a Partner (e.g. if you hired the COO of a division at a client). More junior hires could enter at various levels, based on both their experience and their ability to negotiate. In some cases, hires might be hired at a very junior level, but with the possibility of "fast track promotion" if they perform strongly.
  • Experience hire recruiting goes on year round, graduate recruiting generally happens once a year
  • Depending on specific experience, experience hires are more likely to align to a practice right away vs. graduates

Hope that helps clear this up!


Vlad replied on Jun 07, 2018
McKinsey / Accenture / Got all BIG3 offers / More than 300 real MBB cases / Harvard Business School


There are no official criteria. However experienced hire means:

  • 4+ years of experience (3+ in rare cases)
  • Single industry / Different industries but similar functions /other consulting company
  • Unique expertise relevant for McKinsey can increase your chances to be invited for an interview (e.g. digital)
  • PHD may be the part of experience if you continued following the related industry / function
  • MBA May be counted as part of this experience

All of this means that you can be considered to an associate in Mck scale (in rare cases even hire role in the company)


updated his answer on Jun 09, 2018
Former BCG decision round interviewer with 300+ real interviews in 8 years

Confirm that experience is meant to be in industries other than consulting.

Also, a confirmation to Vlad's point, for US experienced hire would be at least 4 years of work experience. Three or less usually you are offered an appropriate pre/post MBA entry level position with tenure but you are not called an "experienced hire".