In interviews, is this answer to this question the same as "why choose this company?" I'm essentially asking what the chance is that I have to answer "why this company" and "why are you leaving?" and whether the same types of answers would be sufficient.
Why are you leaving your company?
"Why are you leaving" is a different question. There are two rules here:
- Never criticize your current company. On the opposite, you like everything about it.
- Point out the development needs. E.g. I love this job but would like to have even bigger challenge since a, b, c
"Why this company" is a more specific question and can include the following arguments:
- The general marketing story the company is trying to sell (e.g. Bain is a small "Family" company)
- Brand / positioning / market share in the region
- More clients / projects / expertise in the industry you are interested in
- More well-known stories of success in your city
- Your friends working there
- Your interactions with the other consultants before the interview
- Your prior experience of working with the Firm on a client side
- Office traditions
- Work experience with firm alumni
This are of course two common questions you need to be prepared to answer.
Why are you leaving
- I fully agree with Vlad, never criticize your previous employer, otherwise you somehow criticize your own experience and devaluate your profile
- Communicate positive arguments that gives you the will to look for next move. It's always better to meet someone drived by willingness to achieve certain targets rather someone leaving mainly because unsatisfied
Why this company
To be clear you should be able to re-use 80% of your arguments across different strategy consulting firm. (challenging environment, learning curve, CxO exposure, diversity of topics, etc.)
For the remaining 20%, try to collect / build specific arguments. Sometimes it's easier to communicate based on info you can have from local office business rather than global firm (size of the office, industry in particular where the office is strong, you simply met consultants, atmosphere at work, etc.)
You should never have a negative answer - always focus on why the firm you are applying to (consulting or otherwise) is right for you at this stage. The "why leaving" therefore is more "why I want to work for your company".
When you are on the interview, the interviewer asks you to show your judgement. At a very high level, two alternatives are possible:
* Either you progress and narrowing down/broading a specific industry/topic/location
* Totally change your track
The best consultant shall in any case keep a long-term picture, when all the previous steps build up into a single picture of the ideal future. You can get specific feedbacks, learnings, advancements, which altogether ultimately shall make you look a perfect fit with the role. Sometimes changing track is a case, but it's more an exception.