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Consultant Interview Questions

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  1. Why do companies need consultants? See answer
  2. How would you make our company more profitable? See answer
  3. How do you adapt to a company’s culture when working on a project? See answer
  4. How should consultants set prices for projects? See answer
  5. How do you size a market? See answer
  6. How would you respond if you presented your suggestions to a business leader and they were skeptical about getting their desired results? See answer
  7. Determining opportunities for growth and identifying current issues are some of the key roles of a consultant. Explain the steps of a needs assessment and what resources you need to carry one out.
  8. Have you ever had a company implement your suggestions only to get completely different results than you expected? What would you do if a project of yours ended up failing?
  9. What would you do if management rejected one of your suggestions and then continually struggled with the same issue?
  10. Consultants not only give recommendations but help implement them in the workplace. Do you have experience training existing employees on the workflows you designed?
  11. Do you have experience using analytics tools do you use to measure the success and impact of your suggestions? What are the most important metrics you focus on?
  12. The company regularly considers third-party systems to incorporate into company workflows. How would you assess if a program was a good fit for our business?
  13. Have you ever collaborated with other consultants on a project? How did you address differences in opinion?
  14. What strategies do you use to meet tight deadlines without sacrificing the quality of your work?
  15. What would you do to start a project with very little direction?
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7 Consultant Interview Questions and Answers

Q:

Why do companies need consultants?

A:

Consultants provide an outside, objective view that enables companies to identify problems and improve performance. Organizations may also bring in experts to supplement staff and reduce costs. Consultants can be employed directly by a large firm that finds work for them. This question asks applicants to explain the value their work brings and show understanding of their role in achieving larger goals.
What to look for in an answer:

  • Applicant’s understanding of how consultants can push companies forward
  • Overall interest in consultancy work
  • Industry experience or expertise

Example:


“Any company can benefit from working with an experienced consultant, not just because it can be cost-effective but also because they can help organizations spot issues and pinpoint inefficiencies they were perhaps missing. A talented outside perspective can offer solutions that improve overall performance and drive growth.”

Q:

How would you make our company more profitable?

A:

This question tests critical thinking skills and knowledge of your industry. The answer also enables you to see whether the candidate has researched your business before the interview. Applicants should address key issues your company or industry may be facing.
What to look for in an answer:

  • Applicant’s willingness to critique company decisions and processes
  • Logic, reasoning and problem-solving skills
  • Knowledge of your company and its mission

Example:


“I think the company has been incredibly successful within a highly competitive space. The future looks bright, but I think it can be even brighter if the business focuses entirely on the products and services that are delivering the most revenue and highest margins. By shedding products and services with low margins and revenues, you can become a more agile company and achieve greater profits.”

Q:

How do you adapt to a company’s culture when working on a project?

A:

Consultants are expected to take on temporary assignments that could last just a few weeks or go on for years. They should have experience navigating company culture and be able to adapt seamlessly. Whether you’re hiring a self-employed consultant for your company or adding a member to your consulting firm, this question should give you insight into the applicant’s communication and collaboration skills.
What to look for in an answer:

  • Applicant’s method for adapting to new company cultures
  • Opinion on the value of teamwork
  • Ability to build trusting relationships

Example:


“Each company has its own unique culture and mission. Before I begin a project with a new company, I do as much research as possible to understand its culture. I think about what I can do to adapt my process, communication and behavior appropriately. I also talk with leaders and employees to gain a better understanding. In order to help the business move forward in a positive way, I work on establishing relationships built on transparency and honesty.”

Q:

How do you adapt to a company’s culture when working on a project?

A:

Consultants are expected to take on temporary assignments that could last just a few weeks or go on for years. They should have experience navigating company culture and be able to adapt seamlessly. Whether you’re hiring a self-employed consultant for your company or adding a member to your consulting firm, this question should give you insight into the applicant’s communication and collaboration skills.
What to look for in an answer:

  • Applicant’s method for adapting to new company cultures
  • Opinion on the value of teamwork
  • Ability to build trusting relationships

Example:


“Each company has its own unique culture and mission. Before I begin a project with a new company, I do as much research as possible to understand its culture. I think about what I can do to adapt my process, communication and behavior appropriately. I also talk with leaders and employees to gain a better understanding. In order to help the business move forward in a positive way, I work on establishing relationships built on transparency and honesty.”

Q:

How should consultants set prices for projects?

A:

Since companies hire consultants from outside the organization, pricing always enters the discussion. Consultants, especially self-employed ones, should understand how much to charge and be skilled at negotiating rates. Look for an answer that shows the applicant understands a consultant’s work is all about the value being brought to the company.
What to look for in an answer:

  • Applicant’s understanding of the consultancy industry and what drives pricing
  • Ability to calculate and track work expenses and profitably price a project
  • Negotiation and communication skills

Example:


“Like anything, the market sets the price in consultancy. I believe rates shouldn’t be calculated according to hours worked. Instead, consultants should sell value. For instance, a consultant could price a project based on how much-added revenue it will bring the company. Consultants also have a responsibility to clearly communicate their rates to the client, being sure to take into account the client’s budget. Negotiation should be carried out openly and honestly. There is some room for compromise on rates, but consultants must be careful to not go too low just to get the job.”

Q:

How do you size a market?

A:

In consultancy, market sizing is a vital skill. It’s how consultants calculate growth potential. The question is also a good way to see applicants’ thought processes and how they use various tools to reach an accurate number. Since this question can be difficult, especially without data and research tools, more attention should be given to the approach used, rather than the actual number. Look for answers that demonstrate quantitative and reasoning skills.
What to look for in an answer:

  • Applicant’s critical thinking skills
  • Commitment to research and data-driven approaches
  • Ability to identify market opportunities

Example:


“Within a certain market, I examine population size and the percentage of people that use the product or service. By using surveys, analyzing data and identifying key issues customers are having with the industry, I can also estimate the number of customers we could serve but simply haven’t yet.”

Q:

How would you respond if you presented your suggestions to a business leader and they were skeptical about getting their desired results?

A:

Consultants are responsible for assessing a system and coming up with ways to improve it to reach a goal. They need to be able to get buy-in from company leaders by explaining the implementation of their ideas and how they would impact company outcomes. Good Consultants are able to work with people who disagree with their ideas and advocate for their plans with the goal of mutual benefit for them and the client.

The features of a good response may include:

  • Strategic thinking
  • Ability to extrapolate based on data
  • Negotiation skills

Example:

"I understand that company leaders have their own ideas about business development, informed by their professional experience. I find that seeking out common ground between our two work styles can help me convince others that there is merit to my suggestions. I'd acknowledge their concern, but use my data and research to show them the specific trends of past projects and how I would expect to apply them to their company. I always focus on the company's bottom line then backtrack to explain the specific cause-and-effect of my suggestions to provide an overall vision and specific justifications for my strategies."

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