We will delve into the common mistakes candidates make during consulting interviews, based on insights shared by Lorenzo, a Strategy& London senior manager, and Deniz, a former BCG consultant. They have invaluable experience coaching candidates for their interviews and offer a unique perspective on the areas where candidates tend to struggle.
1. Underestimating the level of preparation needed
Many senior candidates tend to underestimate the amount of preparation required for consulting interviews. With just a few weeks left until their interview, they often find themselves scrambling to catch up. The reality is that around 90% of those who fail to prepare adequately end up failing the interview. To increase your chances of success, aim to complete around 50 case studies over a 6-8 week period.
2. Not understanding the different types of case studies
There are many different types of case studies, not just market entry or profitability ones. Candidates should familiarize themselves with various business problems, such as competitive response strategy and operations cases. In doing so, they'll be better equipped to handle any case that comes their way during the interview process.
3. Relying on outdated or generic frameworks
Candidates often resort to using generic frameworks, such as Victor Chang's materials, which don't necessarily reflect current consulting practices. While these frameworks can be helpful, it's essential to customize them according to the specific case and make them more relevant. Customizing your frameworks will prevent you from sounding overly generic and help you stand out during the interview.
4. Failing to synthesize information
During case interviews, candidates often receive various data points and need to quantify certain aspects of the case. However, many candidates don't synthesize this information or relate it back to the client's problem. To demonstrate commercial awareness, candidates should analyze the data and make sense of it in the context of the client's situation.
5. Not being structured and clear in communication
Clear and structured communication is crucial during the interview process. Candidates should think through their responses before speaking and strive to be concise and clear in their explanations. Rambling or unclear communication may give the impression of being unprepared or disorganized.
6. Inadequate preparation for the fit interview portion
The fit interview typically occurs before the case interviews, and candidates should be thoroughly prepared for this section as well. One common mistake is not being familiar with every detail on their resumé. It's essential to review your resumé carefully and be ready to discuss any projects or experiences listed.
To succeed in consulting interviews, candidates must avoid the common pitfalls discussed in this blog post. Adequate preparation, understanding different case types, using customized frameworks, synthesizing information, and effective communication are all critical to making a lasting impression on your interviewer. By addressing these areas, candidates can increase their chances of landing a coveted consulting role.