What Not To Do In Your Consulting Fit Interview

by Jaineel Aga

This chapter is a free excerpt from The Best Book on Getting Consulting Jobs In India.

Imagine after all the networking and hard work on your cover letter, you finally have your foot in the door secured the coveted consulting interview. The question that baffles most is, “What’s next? How do I convert this into a consulting job?”

Consulting interviews are the most sought-after interviews on campuses. Most people only have one chance to hit the ball out of the park.

The question is, how do you make sure you've checked off every box of the checklist? How do you show the interviewer that you have the qualities he or she is looking for?

So let’s start off with some basic dos and don’ts to keep in mind when you enter a consulting interview. Let's first talk about the 2 types of interviews that you can typically expect when you are applying or recruited for a consulting firm.

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Imagine after all the networking and hard work on your cover letter, you finally have your foot in the door secured the coveted consulting interview. The question that baffles most is, “What’s next? How do I convert this into a consulting job?”

Consulting interviews are the most sought-after interviews on campuses. Most people only have one chance to hit the ball out of the park.

The question is, how do you make sure you've checked off every box of the checklist? How do you show the interviewer that you have the qualities he or she is looking for?

So let’s start off with some basic dos and don’ts to keep in mind when you enter a consulting interview. Let's first talk about the 2 types of interviews that you can typically expect when you are applying or recruited for a consulting firm.

The first type is your typical fit interview. A fit interview is nothing more than a general chat talking about what your interests are, talking through your resume, and understanding a little bit more about you. In a way, they are gauging whether you are going to be a particular fit in the firm, as well as in the particular office you are applying to.

The other type of interview is the case interview. Right now we will mainly focus on the fit interview and what one needs to do to make sure they have their best foot forward when they are going in for a fit interview.

Let’s talk about some basic don’ts that you need to take care of when going in for a fit interview.

Never be late. This is the number one step that will cause you to be dinged. Consultants value time and consultants expect you to be on time for every client meeting. There is no excuse for traffic and there is no excuse for exams or anything else when you come in for an interview. This is true for any type of interview, be it technology, banking, or something else. It’s always good to be on time.

Always show up early. Being there an hour before the interview may seem a little desperate and is not advisable. One of the strategies I used when going to interviews in different cities was to plan out my entire travel from my residence to the interview office. This will make you confident and mitigates any last minute issues of traffic or confusion. I would highly recommend using 15 minutes to plan before you go in for your interview.

Never lie or exaggerate when answering questions. This guide will hopefully be a great tool in teaching you how to prepare for a fit interview. However, by no means should you be able to invent answers to questions; the interviewer will see right through it. It’s always great to be genuine, give examples, and match your stories with the questions that come up.

Never discuss questions with other interviewees. I understand there is some camaraderie. You may have friends applying for the same position, especially on a lot of Indian campuses. Students will discuss what was talked about in the interview, but this is a bad practice. If the consulting firm finds out, this can work negatively.

Never talk about a bad experience with another company or boss. There are always ways to communicate challenges, but never blatantly talk badly about an experience or a boss. It gives negative vibes to the interviewer.

Many smart and bright students get dinged because they believe the consulting interview is a platform to blow their trumpet and that the harder they blow it, the better their chances are of getting into consulting. I think that’s a major misconception. One must remember that consulting firms like confident, outspoken people, but they also value modesty and know how to gauge when a person is being insincere.

It is always great to be confident and talk about your achievements, but it's not okay to say you saved 100,000,000 dollars for a company in a two-month summer internship. No one is going to believe that.

The more sincere you are, the better your chances are of converting that interview. The fit interview is to measure you as a person, and you want to make sure that you have the human touch in your interview.

On the other end of the spectrum, many interviewees become intimidated. Because this is a big interview and a big day, they get completely intimidated by the questions and their nervousness keeps them from opening up.

My advice is to go in with a fresh mind. Confidence is easier said than done, but relax and go in with the belief that you are going to do well. This will help you connect with your interviewer and answer questions fluidly without seeming reluctant while speaking.

There is some good material available online on tackling different types of interviews -

Checkout  - http://www.onlinecollege.org/2013/03/29/how-nail-every-type-interview/

 

 

 
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