Consultant Interview Questions and Tips

A consultant interview is by definition an interview for specialists in their fields. Every consultancy additionally has special features of its service. Consultancy interviews are very much a marketing exercise. Consultants are hired on the basis of their track records, but they're also hired because of their communications and presentation skills.

There's no such thing as a generic consultancy, or consultant. We've come up with a business consultancy interview scenario to illustrate the interview issues more plainly, but you'll see obvious parallels with any consultancy.

Consultant interview issues and preparation

The big issues in a consultant interview are:

  • Ability to provide the services required.
  • Qualifications.
  • Licenses where required.
  • Prior experience.
  • Knowledge base.
  • Salary or fee.
  • Contract issues and stipulations. 

Your preparation must be geared to providing thorough, effective responses to all these issues. For both business and legal reasons, your information must also be accurate and easily understood. Also bear in mind you're competing with other professionals who will definitely get their own presentations right.

Presentation preparation

You need to produce a complete, industry standard, and fully documented business proposition to interviewers:

  1. Ability to provide services: This may require you to show evidence of your ability to perform specific tasks at specific costs and within time frames. You require a realistic estimate, documenting your proposal.

  2. Qualifications: Formal qualifications may be presented as statements or copies of any necessary documents.

  3. Licenses: Some consultants require licenses to operate. Ensure you have copies of your licenses available for the interview. 

  4. Prior experience: A documented synopsis of your prior experience will be contained in your resume, but you may want to include particular achievements for presentation.

  5. Knowledge base: Interview questions will devolve around current issues, technical, industry and case-specific matters. You may want to provide information covering these areas as part of your presentation.

  6. Salary or fee: Your remuneration should be calculated at market rates for experience and skills. You may wish to document these rates for negotiation purposes.

  7. Contract issues and stipulations: Standardized consultancy contracts are best practice and easier to work with. Copies should be made available to the interviewers.

Interview questions:

Question: We want to achieve savings of 20% in the next 12 months. Can you do that, and how?

Answer: (Produces spreadsheet) I have a model estimate here of anticipated savings with cost breakdowns which should achieve 30% savings in that time frame. The figures show the cost saving methodologies in detail.

Question: We need to increase productivity. What method would you use to achieve that?

Answer: I've done a profile of your job designs as a preliminary study. I believe that with sales training, most of your office staff could generate at least 10% increases in productivity, in a year.(Shows training schematic and cost estimates)

Question: We sent you our proposed restructuring plan for review and proposals. What ideas can you show us?

Answer: I noticed your sales staff aren't upgrading to handling major systems sales, which are still outsourced to external distributors. I suggest you include your senior sales people as direct sales agents, eliminating third party fees. That will increase revenue by 24%. (Gives interviewers copies of projections)