Interviewing With Another Management Consulting Firm

You’re a management consultant considering changing consulting firms.  Perhaps your last interviews were on-campus when you joined your current firm.  You’re wondering what the interview process will be like as a potential experienced hire.  We recruit experienced management consultants from the Engagement Manager to the Partner level.  Here’s what we’ve seen.

You can expect to talk with several people who are at various levels in the firm during two or three interview rounds.  You’ll meet with individuals who are at the same level as you’re interviewing for and more senior members of the firm.  The initial conversation or two are often conducted by phone to expedite the process, then face-to-face interviews are scheduled.

Engagement manager level candidates typically meet with five to seven individuals.  Candidates at the senior manager / associate partner level often meet with a few more.  When we conduct a search for a partner level hire, there are usually at least a dozen interviews.  The meetings will primarily be a mix of behavioral and case interviews.

The behavioral interviews will focus on your experience on previous consulting engagements that are relevant to the potential role.  Be prepared to describe the client (no names required, but a description like “a Fortune 500 food and beverage company” is needed), the issues addressed, the steps taken to conduct the engagement, your specific role during each step, and the conclusions reached and presented to the client.

Case interviews vary in formality.  Sometimes the interviewer will simply describe a situation at a client and ask you to describe how you would address it.  At the opposite end of the spectrum, we have a few clients who will provide you with written cases a few days prior to interviews and ask you to prepare and present a five to ten slide PowerPoint deck addressing specific issues in the case.  Most of our clients use relatively informal cases, but you can expect two or three during the interview process.

If you’re a partner or near-partner level candidate, the interviews will include discussions about business development experience and expectations.  You will be asked to provide your business development track record and discuss your role in major client account sales.  You can also expect to discuss your non-compete agreement if that’s applicable.

In a future post, we’ll discuss the dos and don’ts of consulting firm interviewing drawn from our long history of watching candidates succeed and fail at the process.


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