Common Consultant Interview Questions With Sample Answers
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published July 26, 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
When you're looking for a consultancy job, you need to first show your skills and experience in an interview with the prospective employer. You need to prepare well for the interview to stand out and increase your chances of securing the job. Anticipating the consultant interview questions hiring managers may ask is essential. In this article, we explain what skills interviewers look for in consultancy job candidates and provide answers to some of the most common consultant interview questions to help you prepare.
Read more: 19 Common Interview Questions and Answers
Skills interviewers look for in consultants
Here are some of the most important skills interviewers look for in consultancy job candidates:
Observation skills: Clients hire consultants to provide an outsider's view of their organization. Consultants need excellent observation skills to enable them to see and address their client's needs comprehensively.
Interpersonal skills: Consultants need to develop and sustain relationships with their clients, employees in the organization, and other stakeholders. Having good interpersonal skills builds trust and respect with clients.
Creative thinking: Creativity is an important skill for consultants as it allows you to look at issues from different angles. It also helps you come up with creative solutions to problems.
Problem-solving skills: As a consultant, it would need you to apply your expertise to provide a solution to a client's problem. Your skills and experience gives you ability to solve clients' issues.
Communication skills: Consultants need to have a meaningful conversation with clients by asking insightful questions. They also need active listening skills to get all the details as told by clients.
Organization and time management: Consultants need to juggle several activities in a day's work, so they need to be organized and manage their time properly. Clients also prefer working with consultants who meet deadlines as they need to have the proposed solutions implemented fast.
Objectivity: Clients hire consultants to provide an unbiased view of their organizations. Consultants need to be objective, independent-minded, and stick to the truth even when it's uncomfortable.
Project management skills: Consultants work is mainly as a time-bound projects within a set budget. Consultant job candidates need to show their ability to manage a project successfully.
To impress the interviewer, demonstrate these skills while maintaining relevance to the specific role detailed in the job posting.
Consultant interview questions
We can group consultant interview questions into two categories, namely fit interview questions and case interview questions. Fit interviews test your skills, background, and interest in the open position. Case interview questions focus on your ability to assess diverse situations and provide solutions. You need to prepare to answer both the fit and case interview questions.
Here are some fit and case consultant interview questions you may hear in an interview:
1. Take me through your resume.
This question invites you to summarize your background and work experience. Interviewers ask this question to have an overview of your achievements and experience. They also use this question to establish whether you have the skills they're looking for in a candidate. When answering this question, state your most relevant experiences and a summary of your areas of expertise. Link your experience to how you'll use it in the job you're interviewing for. This shows what you can bring to the position and why you're the best choice.
Example: "I'm a sales professional consultant with five years' experience in crafting sales strategy and helping drive sales campaign. I spent the last three years at XYZ, where I developed the company's online sales program and trained the sales reps on lead generation and closing. The program led to a 25% increase in sales and a customer retention rate of 98%. With my experience in data-driven sales strategy, I believe I would be a superb choice for your company.”
Read more: How to Succeed in a Virtual Interview
2. What interests you about consulting?
This question evaluates your passion for consulting and interest in the field. It seeks to establish whether you have a fundamental understanding of the job and enthusiasm for the role. In answering this question, identify reasons consulting is interesting to you and why working as a consultant is your career choice.
Example: "I want to contribute significantly to providing solutions to business challenges. I'm also passionate about technology and how it can improve business processes. I enjoy working with business executives and company staff at all levels, and I can't think of any other profession that gives me this opportunity other than consulting."
3. Why do you want to work for this organization over other firms?
This question tests your knowledge about the company. To answer this question, explain why the organization is your top choice and explain how the position fits into your career aspirations. Use this opportunity to share some of what you've learned while researching the company. This shows your interviewer that you came to the meeting prepared and that you're enthusiastic about the role.
Example: "XYZ is the top of the list among the consulting firms I would like to work for. The company is the market leader in health and education, two sectors I'm very passionate about. I also want to work with a diverse team and no other consulting firm provides this like XYZ."
4. What kind of consulting projects do you typically work on?
Consultancy is mostly a project with a clear scope of work to be completed within a stipulated period and budget. This question assesses your experience working on different consulting projects. To answer this question, identify some of the consulting projects you've led or been essential in completing.
Example: "I've worked on several projects ranging from product launch, competition analysis, and business process outsourcing. To name a few, I was the lead consultant at the launch of XYZ's banking software. I also played a key role in the establishment of remote working solutions for 123 Inc."
5. How do you monitor progress of projects you're working on?
Monitoring progress of a project is an important task for every consultant. Monitoring helps a consultant to know whether the proposed solution is working or whether there is a need for another round of problem analysis. In answering this question, mention methods or tools you use to track your progress.
Example: "I monitor project progress through data. Before embarking on a project, I collect baseline data according to the client's terms of references. Different ways of collecting data include surveys, market research, interviews, and analysis of secondary data, such as company and industry reports. I also collect data during projects to see whether we are making progress from the baseline findings."
6. What are some ethical issues that a consultant need to keep in mind?
Consultants need to adhere to a code of conduct such as respecting clients' privacy and data confidentiality. This question gauges your knowledge of the ethical code consultants need to observe in the course of their work. Mention some ethical considerations, keeping it relevant to the work you are interviewing for.
Example: "I take my code of ethics seriously. I ensure all the information I collect remains confidential and never divulge it to anyone who the client hasn't approved. I also disclose any personal or professional interests beforehand to avoid conflicting interests that may affect my output."
7. What do you see as the major issues facing this industry?
Depending on the industry you are looking to work for as a consultant, knowledge of the trends and patterns is important. This question aims at establishing whether you're in touch with the industry. A good consultant is knowledgeable about industry trends in order to give practical and sustainable solutions to their clients.
Example: "The energy industry has been facing serious headwinds as political and business leaders face demands to reduce emissions. I foresee a more sustained growth of clean energy and a decline in using fossil fuels. Businesses that are in clean energy are likely to reap the rewards of their investment, and the sooner we get there ourselves, the better."
Read more: 17 Interview Tips to Help You Get the Job
8. How would you explain a technical issue to a client?
Consultants need to diagnose a problem and explain the proposed solution to their clients. Sometimes the solution may be complex and may be difficult for the client to understand. This question tests your communication skills and ability to explain complicated concepts to clients. In your answer, describe a situation where you had to communicate and simplify technical details to a client.
Example: "In my discussion with clients and in the final report, I use simple, non-technical language. When I worked for XYZ as a technology consultant, I drafted a user's manual and information technology handbook. All employees easily understood it, including non-tech workers. I believe clients find it easier to implement solutions they understand."
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