What questions should I be asking?

interview questions
New answer on Apr 02, 2022
4 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Apr 01, 2022

Hello all, I am wondering what are the important questions I should ask of consulting firms to decide which one I would like to work for. I am in advanced stages of the interview process with multiple firms, and one of the partners at a firm advised me to “get all of my questions answered” during the interviews. I'm honestly having a hard time distinguishing the culture/vibe between the firms, as they all present quite similarly on webinars and welcome events. What are some good, insightful questions that I should ask to each of the firms? I already asked many of the basic questions (favorite case, most and least favorite thing, work/life) but am finding pretty similar answers across firms. For former consultants, what should be on my radar? What are the questions you wished you had asked before starting at a firm? Thanks so much!

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Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 02, 2022
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

This is a great question and also a hard one to really answer because it depends on you!

If you're struggling to understand their culture and what distinguishes them, then that's literally your question!

“What would you say distinguishes company xx from the rest”

“Why did you join xx company - what do you like about it?”

“How would you describe the culture”

“What type of person fits well here”

Ask the hard questions that you genuinely want answers to!

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Andi
CoachingPlus Expert
updated an answer on Apr 02, 2022
BCG interviewer (>175 candidates) |96% coaching success rate, if 3+ sessions | Coached 50+ candidates to MBB offers

Hi there,

Ian already mentioned some great questions. 2 suggestions i'd like to add…

 

1. Put the interviewer in your shoes: it's always good to understand what the interviewer's motivation to join was (how did he/she pick back then?), and what 2-3 specific things are he/she enjoys most about the firm's culture. Also, don't be afraid to ask, if there is anything they maybe dislike about it / they would want to change. Esp. the 2nd question is quite unconventional and, if phrased well, is really appreciated by an interviewer. You will often get quite interesting answers and may even score bonus points.      

2. Do your due diligence on culture outside of interviews: I'd like to point out that an interview may not be the best occasion to gather data points on culture. Don't forget that an interviewer has the agenda to market the firm, and hence is more likely to give you quite biased answers. To address that, make sure you do due diligence talking to your network / friends in these firms, in a more casual setting, to get the most accurate, objective picture.

 

Hope this helps. Feel free to PM, if you have further questions or would like to get advice on how to really master the fit part.

Regards, Andi

(edited)

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Moritz
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Content Creator
replied on Apr 02, 2022
Unearth your spike & get the offer |ex-McKinsey | 120+ coachings & interviews @ McKinsey | ESADE MBA | Transition Expert

Hi there,

My advice is to not overcomplicate things. If you want to know about the culture and how it's different from firm x, there's variations of asking that questions (make sure they always have a positive undertone):

  • What made you come to this firm as opposed to other opportunities and how are you liking it?
  • What is it about this company's culture that attracts so many good people?
  • What kind of people strive in this place and what are they like?

The most authentic and sincere candidates will always ask the same questions relating to the above, and that is perfectly fine!

Note: What I always found a bit off-putting as an interviewer were candidates trying to be super smart and original with their questions. The idea is not to impress the interviewer with the question but actually get the info you really want. Please bear that in mind!

Hope this helps a bit! Best of luck!

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Charlotte
Expert
replied on Apr 02, 2022
Empathic coach, former McKinsey Engagement Manager |Secure offers from top consulting firms

Dear candidate,

 

this sounds much like you should be asking these questions during networking prior to interviewing - maybe even to some peers on preplounge who have already worked at the respective firms. This way you will get more insights than if you ask them during interviews (most likely), and you can push a bit more to understand all that you want to (although of course treat important networking conversations similar to interviews). Ask about the culture, what it is working there long term, how long it needs and what type of effort it needs to build your own area of expertise, of client relationships, of autonomy. You can also ask about the partner model (few do, but it is important to understand this before joining should you aim for partnership), etc.

 

Best regards

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Ian gave the best answer

Ian

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