Interviewing for Success at a Management Consulting Firm for New Graduates

April 20, 2015

One of the most frequently asked questions we get when we go to recruitment events at the prominent schools for MBAs is: What is Trindent looking for? It is the best question anyone wanting to join a firm can ask. The answer will give the exact information you need to get an idea of what the culture of a firm is about and what kind of qualities and skills are needed to be successful. Likely, the person who you are asking will conjure up images of the most successful people in their organization and give you the list of qualities they believe contributes to these people’s success. At Trindent, we give a very thorough explanation of what we are looking for in candidates in the Careers section of our website: http://www.trindent.com/careers/working-at-trindent/.

When called for a telephone screen, why not review such a page and think about the most poignant examples from your experiences that demonstrate you have these qualities? By thinking about the examples in advance of any screening with a company, you can then take your example and think about the most powerful way to talk about it when asked at the interview. Powerful answers are short, structured, and vividly create an image for the interviewer of how you will fit with the organization. As you progress through the stages of interviewing with a firm, continue to ask further probing questions of the staff you speak with that dig deeper into what the company is looking for and repeat the process of crafting your examples to best fit the needs of the organization. It also provides an opportunity for you to reflect on whether the fit is there for you too. If you get excited about how many examples you can think of for each of the qualities a firm showcases as important, chances are you will believe that you are a fit, and this enthusiasm and confidence will resonate at the interview.

It can be tough to think of examples that are really salient for the experienced staff you will meet in the later stages of your interviewing. With limited experience, there can be a significant gap between what you have experienced and convincing a Partner that you have what it takes to be a Consultant. However, some forethought prior to an interview can help to structure your experiences into compelling answers.

We are looking for people who can weather the challenges of constantly travelling (flight cancellations, locations that aren’t the most glamourous, and separation from family, friends and other connections for extended periods of time), which requires tenacity and independence. Convince your interviewer that you are highly independent and self-motivated, and provide examples of how you have successfully persevered with very little stability around you and you will demonstrate how you will manage the expectations of the consulting lifestyle.

Influencing clients is a core element of being in consulting. Take an introspective moment and take stock of what is needed to influence clients. How do you build trust with people? How do you build credibility? Is your level of professionalism (dress, demeanor, and credentials) conducive to being seen as a thought leader and a partner in improving their work environments?  Senior members of a firm look for candidates that demonstrate emotional intelligence towards influencing people in a variety of ways. As you prepare to interview with a consulting firm, think about some of the trickier situations you have been in where you have had to influence people or a situation in which you didn’t necessarily have formal authority. Think about the tools you used to manage your frustration and problem solve when immediate solutions were not available. Concisely paint the picture of how you effectively influenced and managed through these situations in the past so that your interviewer will believe you are capable of doing it in the field.

Lastly, don’t think of the fall of each year as the only time of year firms are looking to recruit. Currently, Trindent has a few open opportunities for Consultants who have full professional proficiency of Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin and Japanese on a professional level. We look forward to hearing from you!

By: Patricia Pillai