A consulting career is a sought-after career, no doubt about it, but do you know what it takes to be one? A consulting job has a lot of flexibility, so you need to have the right personality to love this career. The personality and skills, both gained and inborn ones, if it matches with the job roles, then this career will be the best for those kinds of people. Many young professionals need to know and understand what they require to be a consultant, where is its employability, and so on. Asking the right questions will clear your doubts and help you follow this career path or choose another one. Read more about Consulting Manager Interview Questions.
So, what is a consultant?
The terms consultant or advisor are used interchangeably. A consultant uses their expertise to advise and give strategic suggestions to a business establishment. Anyone can use this title. It is not a protected title, but a consultant needs to have deep knowledge and training or years of work experience to deal with the issues of the companies they work with. They advise on certain issues and help to solve problems concerning the businesses they work with. They are well-educated professionals with a good grasp of knowledge in a particular area and those with different areas of expertise can work in specific areas. For example, like a human resource consultant, legal consultant, strategy consultant, etc.
The consulting industry works in six main functional areas which comprise:–
- human resource.
- Financial Advisory.
- IT field.
The six advisory areas in totality branch out to combine with other areas of services and create over 200 different fields of expertise and propositions.
A career in consultancy has a lot of scope and expansion. It is a strengthening career with lots of avenues. Since there are lots of functional areas in this career to look into, the focus is on consultant management in this article.
A management consultant is also a manager in its real essence, but it has a different function than that of a normal manager.
- Their chief motive is to chart out the right plan for business success.
- A business hires a consultant for getting proper consultation and direction for their business if they need one.
- They create solutions, value by giving out valuable suggestions.
- A consultant manager works on their client’s or company’s e-business, marketing, supply chain management, and business strategy.
Their job responsibilities include:
- They work on a business strategy to implement solutions for the growth of the business.
- They interview employees of their client, managing a team to carry on those strategies and suggestions, work on the sales and solve conflicts between the employees for their clients they work with.
- There are a lot of different roles a consultant plays and it depends on which functional area they are into.
A management consultant is highly valued for a business and their upside is they are needed when a business is thriving, but on the downside, it’s the opposite: whenever there is a recession or slow economy, it’s the first to get downsized.
To get into the career, one should see if they are the right match for it. Let’s look at some of the interview questions and answers to get an idea of what the job role requires.
Let’s look at the General questions first. These questions are asked for any type of interview but are an important ice-breaker as well as it gives a little knowledge of you as a person, which is a good thing to know for general assessment.
- How do you feel today?
I feel great. I just had breakfast near your office and it was delicious. How about you? How are you today?
The ambiance of the office room is aesthetic and with all the natural lighting and plants, I am feeling awesome already.
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Stubbornness is both my weakness and my strength. This quality makes me stick to my plans and decisions, but on the flip side, it makes me strong-headed sometimes on things that I would have done better. But since I know my weakness, I always channelize it towards good. For instance, it helps me to stay committed to a project and my clients in particular. My teammates have no issue with me as I make sure everyone is doing great, and that is how I use my weakness to my advantage. My work always comes first, so it’s easy to do what’s right for my work.
- Why did you choose consultancy?
I chose this field as I wanted a career that has lots of flexibility and avenues of growth, along with making acquaintances with all kinds of people. I love my work to be my life and I know consultancy will give me that. I just love mingling and working with people. This career has always hit home for me, as my personality and skills are a complete match for it.
- Would you tell us something about yourself?
I am a go-getter and if something intrigues me; I love to explore and go to the end. This adventurous side of me has always landed me in challenging places, but I have always completed any challenges that come my way with ease and excellence. My previous project, along with many more, is a testament to that. I could share about my previous project and its achievements (ask for permission from your interviewer if they want you to continue with that)
Other questions related to behavioral ones are:
- Were you ever in a position where you had to take an unethical decision for the progression of the business? If yes, how did you tackle it?
No, I never had that situation come my way. I always do thorough research before taking up any project and I have had the chance to work with the best clients who are ethical and have good standing in whichever area they are in.
- What would you do if your team doesn’t listen to your suggestions? How would you convince them?
First, I would listen to their side of the story and get to know why they won’t listen to my suggestions. If I need to, I will make changes on my end and if I feel my suggestions are best for the project after studying from all sides, I will call a meeting and make a thorough presentation for it. That’s how I will convince them.
- How do you describe yourself as a person?
As a person, I am an extrovert with a passion to learn more. I consider myself a lifelong learner. I love meeting new people and taking up challenging projects. It gives me an adrenaline rush and keeps me pumped up.
- Has there been a time when your client was not happy with your work? If yes, how did you handle it?
Yes, of course, one time I had to give my suggestions on big business collaboration. I did my research and all that work that goes into it, but it did not work and could not give the results it wanted. I learned about it and noted it down in my mental diary to make some changes in the way I work so that it doesn’t repeat the next time. I don’t make the same mistakes twice. That’s just how I handle it.
Other specific questions relating to the job roles are:
- Are you comfortable with not seeing a project come to fruition?
Yes, I don’t mind that. As someone in this field for quite some time now, I’m well-aware of the job roles it has.
- How do you handle your weak points if it comes in the way of your work?
I love to channelize my weakness into strength. I will find a way not to let it come in the way of my work. My career is my priority and I will do what is best for it.
- How are your problem-solving skills? Would you tell us of an incident where you used it?
I love to find solutions to a problem. It’s just how I am. Even as a kid, I am always in between two dissenting people, where each one is asking for my advice on what they should do. There was this incident in one of my projects, where the business was having a hard time because of the conflicting ideas of a project within the employees. I have planned out a way to solve it using research and strategy, also keeping in mind the company’s wishes too. The solution worked out well.
- How does your team describe you?
They describe me as a workaholic, who loves excellence but is emphatic by nature.
- Do you consider yourself a person who can work under pressure and with a tight deadline?
Yes, I love deadlines as it pushes me to achieve more. I am just wired that way.
- Suppose they deny you leave because of an important business crisis and they need your expertise. What would you do?
It would disappoint me for a while, but looking at the situation I would understand, I have always made sure I am where I am needed the most. If the work has an urgent need for me, why not?
- How do you deal with criticism from a client or from the team?
I love constructive criticism and cherish it and would love to get one and learn from it. I’m glad I could remove those blind spots, which otherwise I would never know if nobody told me so.
- Do you enjoy challenges and how do you deal with your own assumptions if it comes in the way of your work with your client/company?
Yes, I love a wonderful challenge. My assumptions are just assumptions. Sometimes it may be true or maybe not, if assumptions do come up, I don’t react by it and wait to see if it is true by backing it up with evidence, if it’s not backed up by anything, I tossed it aside.
- How do you see failure as?
Failure is my friend. It teaches me to restructure my life decisions. It’s a great tool to have if we want to see limitless success as it maneuvers our path to a better way, a way which we will never know if we haven’t met failure.
- Are you a patient person?
Yes, I’m patient in my work or relationship; I love to give the benefit of doubt to everyone around me. So you could say I am a situational patient person if that word exists.
- How are your decision-making skills?
Most of the time, I have been told that my decisions have benefited others from the people I work with and my friends and family.
- What does success mean to you? Do you see yourself as one?
Success is a generic thing. If you see yourself successful, you are one. Success to me is having a healthy mind and good relationships. I value relationships more than material things. Yes, I see myself as a success, as I have put a lot of work on myself to be an excellent support to the people I am with.
- If I do not hire you, what other career option would you choose?
I would still choose this career even if you do not hire me as I know I have put in the work and I have the personality and the will to achieve something from this career. I will not give up and try till I get a position in this career.
- What are your plans for this career?
I plan to be a resourceful consultant and invest my time and effort in this prestigious career and see myself grow in this position.
- What is the latest book or movie you watched or read?
I am still reading the John Maxwell book on leadership. It is eye-opening and is adding value to my life, both personal and professional.
- How do you deal with rejection? Do you often feel the need for support?
Rejection can be good for you. If you change your mindset to think that way, that is how I deal with it and I felt the need for support as my way of thinking makes me an independent, self-motivating person. I love to support, but I don’t depend on it too.
- If a client rejects one of your business strategies? How would you feel and what measure would you take to correct it and serve your client’s needs?
If a client rejects one of my strategies, I wouldn’t feel bad or anything. A client’s preference and needs come first. I would make the necessary changes required and make an even better one.
- Are you comfortable with self-monitoring and having to create work structures with no one assisting you?
Yes, I love that. 9-5 pm jobs are not for me and I am self-disciplined and driven to do what I am supposed to do with no one assisting me.
- Do you enjoy company in a room full of strangers?
Yes, I do. I am an extrovert person and I love meeting all kinds of people.
- What is your idea of fun?
I love to travel and get acquainted with people from different cultures.
some example of case study question is:-
- What is the annual profit of the organic food industry in the US? (market-sizing questions of this sort in a consultant interview are often asked)
- Client A has a dilemma on whether he should collaborate with the other company for the advancement of his company. What do you suggest? (giving a detailed scenario to you at the end, the recruiter might ask you this question.)
- What would you suggest for the company’s improvement in the sales of sports shoes?
(They want to see your problem-solving skills as well as how far you have researched on their company) Expect questions that deal with the company for which you are applying and do your research well.
Since most of the work related to consultancy requires more of your experience and your fit for the role, for example, a consultant is not expected to sit on the bench for long and expected more to travel and work for those long hours. Hence, it becomes vital to bring a bit of your personality to the interview table, as the recruiter will love to know your interpersonal skills and will assess you based on that. In consultancy, emotional intelligence is a necessary thing as it deals with lots of interaction with people, sometimes from the ground level up.
Not everyone enjoys this career, it’s for those adventurers and those who are ready for new ventures and love to meet lots of interesting people along the way. It’s not a cup of tea for those who love structure and stability. A consultant is a demanding career where you have to do a lot of traveling and it can be exhausting. If you can self-manage and enjoy being held accountable for your impact, this career is for you. Enjoying long hours of work and moving on to other contracts as yours ended after you gave your suggestions are some of the situations you will be facing. Also, this job requires you to meet many people, and you will have to build relationships, sometimes from the ground up. How are your relationship-building skills? Asking these questions to yourself and finding it out before you take this career will help you out in the days to come.