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How to Prepare For an Offer-Landing Consulting Virtual Interview

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November 12, 2021
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5 minutes
Experienced copywriter who spends a lot of money at restaurants and regrets it later.

Preparing for consulting interviews can be a challenging task—whether it’s a virtual interview or an in-person one.

However, with remote interviews, the landscape changes completely. There won’t be a need for a firm handshake to create a good first impression. There won’t be a need to polish your shoes because no one is going to see them anyway. And even if you don’t spray some perfume on yourself to smell like a flower, no one is going to notice.

But there are certain things that are important in both virtual and in-person interviews. For example, reading case studies and having the right attitude to become a consultant. But that’s not it, there are a lot of other factors you need to be aware of to land that job offer.

So, let’s discuss how to prepare for a virtual consulting interview.

Familiarize Yourself With the Consulting Firm

While preparing for consulting interviews, especially for a top-tier firm, you should remember the fact that the firms are very old and well-established and have specific expectations from candidates. You should be aware of what each firm is looking for in a candidate. And, the only way to do this is by being well-informed about the firm's history, achievements, notable projects, clients, company culture, vision, and mission.

During a virtual interview, it could be hard to differentiate yourself from other candidates. But one way to leave an impression is to have exceptional knowledge about the company. This will make the interviewer believe that you’re not just after a hefty salary. But, you actually know a lot about the company and want to contribute to it. So, if you really want that role, gather all the information you can about their business.

“Interviewing is a lot like talking, but you have to guide the conversation. You have to know what you want and go about getting it.” - Anthony DeCurtis

Research about Consulting Interview Questions Beforehand

Consulting interviews can be divided into two types: behavioral interviews and case interviews. During the first type of interview, the interviewer would want to check whether you’re really fit for a management consulting role. That is why they ask you some questions to understand how you behaved in a particular situation and how you’re likely to behave in the future. Here is an example of a question in a consulting fit interview: Tell us how you handled a difficult client in the past.

The fact is, being good at problem solving or creating excellent strategies to achieve goals is not always enough. Your behavior is equally important in a management consulting role, and the interviewer will test it.

Now, if you get through this round, you will be invited for a consulting case interview. In this interview, you will be presented with case studies and asked questions related to consulting. For example, growth strategy, market entry, merger and acquisition, market expansion, etc. While appearing for a remote case interview, be mindful of the fact that you may have a difficult time communicating the structure of your answer. It’s easier to explain your approach with pen and paper during in-person interviews. However, in virtual interviews, you may either want to use a whiteboard or a web-based platform that allows you to create and share diagrams, charts and text online in real-time.

That’s just the gist of it. If you’re preparing for consulting interviews and want to understand different interview questions in detail, you’re encouraged to read the following article: 4 Types of Questions You Should Expect in Your Consulting Interview

Go Through a Lot of Case Studies

Researching the types of questions your interviewer may ask is surely the right thing to do while preparing for consulting interviews. However, simply knowing the question types won’t do the trick in a consulting case interview. That is why you should read as many case studies as you can. It doesn’t matter if it’s an in-person interview or a virtual one.

Fortunately, thanks to the internet, these are not hard to find. There are hundreds of case studies from top-tier consulting firms that are available for free. All you need to do is type ‘consulting case studies examples’ in the Google search bar and voila! These case studies are not hypothetical, they’re usually related to a firm’s past projects. The interviewer will present you with these real-life cases to test if you have the analytical skills and creative thinking to handle real problems and find efficient solutions.

Get Acquainted With the Virtual Interview Experience

When preparing for consulting interviews that are virtual in nature, there are certain things you need to be aware of. This is to ensure that you put your best foot forward and demonstrate your skills effectively. Firstly, you should test your virtual meeting platform a few minutes before the interview. You should know how to change backgrounds, share screens, turn off the mic, etc. Also, you should let everyone in the house know about the interview so that they conduct themselves accordingly.

And most importantly, since it’s a remote ‘consulting’ interview, the interviewer may test your reaction to distractions and problem solving skills. For instance, if you’re in the middle of explaining a point and your flatmate opens the door by mistake and comes in, you must handle it professionally. If you freak out or get upset, it could create a bad first impression and decrease your chances of getting hired.

How to Respond to an Interview Offer

Great. Now that you know how to ace a virtual consulting interview, let’s briefly discuss how to respond to an interview offer like a pro.

It’s the email or phone call that all aspiring consultants wait for. Being invited for an interview is one of the most thrilling experiences young graduates can have. However, you must be aware of the etiquette around responding to interview offers.

First of all, if you have applied for different positions in different companies, you must remember all of them. This is so that when you get an interview call, you don’t sound like a CV spammer. Next, you should keep your schedule handy (on a smartphone app or a piece of paper) so that you can quickly check your availability. You should go for an interview as soon as possible because there may be dozens of other candidates who’d happily take your place. Finally, once the interview date and time are confirmed, thank the recruiter for calling you. Let them know that you look forward to meeting them.

All the best for your virtual consulting interview. Hope you get offered your desired management consulting role.