Consulting Behavioral Interview: Step-By-Step Guide (2024)

Consulting behavioral / fit questions


Consulting behavioral interviews, also known as consulting fit interviews, ask you to draw upon an experience in the past in which you demonstrated a particular skill or quality. They are used to dive deeper beyond your resume and better understand your skills and qualities.

 

Based on your answer, consulting firms will determine whether you would be a great fit for the role and firm.

 

Every consulting firm asks behavioral and fit interview questions, so it is important that you spend sufficient time preparing for them. You will not be able to land a consulting job offer unless you can demonstrate that you would be a great fit for the firm.

 

If you are stressed out about consulting behavioral and fit interviews or are struggling to come up with impressive and compelling answers, we have you covered.

 

In this comprehensive article, we’ll cover what these questions are, what interviewers are looking for, the best strategy and structure to answer these questions, and examples of perfect answers that you can replicate.

 

If you want to learn how to answer 98% of consulting behavioral and fit interview questions in just a few hours, enroll in our consulting behavioral & fit interview course.

 

What is a Consulting Behavioral or Fit Interview?

 

A consulting behavioral interview, also known as a fit interview, focuses on assessing a candidate’s behavior in specific past experiences to give insight into the candidates skills, qualities, and future potential.

 

In a consulting behavioral or fit interview, candidates are typically asked to provide specific examples from their past work experiences that demonstrate certain behavioral traits or skills, such as problem solving, teamwork, leadership, and resilience.

 

Examples of consulting behavioral and fit interview questions include:

 

  • Tell me about a time when you used data to solve a problem

 

  • Give a time when you disagreed with your manager

 

  • What accomplishment are you most proud of?

 

  • Describe a situation in which you handled conflict while working on a team

 

  • What is a piece of feedback you have received from a former supervisor or colleague?

 

Interviewers may ask follow-up questions to dig deeper into the candidate's responses. This helps them gain a clearer understanding of the candidate's thought process, decision-making, and problem-solving abilities.

 

For consulting interviews, behavioral and fit questions are tailored to assess how the candidate's past experiences align with the skills and competencies required for a consulting role.

 

This may include dealing with clients, handling complex problems, managing projects, and working effectively in a team.


What is the Format of a Consulting Behavioral or Fit Interview?


In a consulting behavioral or fit interview, the format typically follows a structured pattern: the interviewer asks a behavioral question to start the interview, the candidate answers the question, the interviewer asks follow-up questions, and then the interviewer moves onto the next behavioral question or onto the case interview.


1. Interviewer asks a behavioral or fit question at the start of the interview


The consulting interview usually begins with the interviewer asking a behavioral or fit interview question. These questions focus on past experiences, challenges faced, and how the candidate handled specific situations. For instance, the interviewer might ask about a time when the candidate demonstrated leadership skills or managed a difficult team dynamic.


2. Candidate answers the question


Upon receiving the question, the candidate provides a structured response, most commonly using the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) method to outline their experience comprehensively. They describe the situation or challenge they encountered, their specific role and responsibilities, the actions they took to address the issue, and the results or outcomes of their actions. It's crucial for candidates to articulate their responses clearly, demonstrating self-awareness, critical thinking, and effective communication skills.


3. Interviewer asks follow-up questions


Following the candidate's response, the interviewer may ask follow-up questions to dive deeper into the candidate's experiences and decision-making process. These follow-up questions help the interviewer gain a more nuanced, specific, and concrete understanding of the candidate's competencies, problem-solving approach, and behavioral tendencies. For example, the interviewer might inquire about the candidate's thought process behind a particular decision or how they handled unexpected obstacles during the situation described.


4. Interviewer moves onto the next behavioral or fit interview question


Once the interviewer has sufficiently explored the topic and obtained the necessary insights, they may move on to the next behavioral or fit interview question. The previous steps will repeat.


5. Interviewer moves onto the case interview


Once all of the consulting behavioral and fit interview questions have been asked, the interviewer will transition to the case interview portion of the interview. The decision to move on depends on the interviewer's assessment of the candidate's responses and the allotted time for the interview. Throughout the process, candidates should remain engaged, attentive, and adaptable, ready to pivot between discussing past experiences and tackling case interviews as required by the interviewer.


When are Consulting Behavioral and Fit Questions Asked?


Consulting behavioral and fit interview questions can be asked in any round of consulting interviews. They are asked in some first round interviews and are asked in all final round interviews.


For consulting first round interviews, consulting behavioral and fit questions are typically asked at the start of the interview. 1-2 questions may be asked to kick off the interview before transitioning to the case interview.


This can also happen in consulting final round interviews. However, for some final round interviews, an entire interview may be dedicated to behavioral and fit questions. There may not even be a case interview in one of your final round interviews. Expect anywhere from 3-6 behavioral and fit questions.


The importance of behavioral and fit interviews is significantly magnified in final round interviews. Since this is the last step before extending offers to candidates, interviewers want to be sure that candidates are a great fit for consulting and the firm. Out of all candidates that pass the case interviews, interviewers will select the candidates that they like the most and can envision working on their team.


Even if a candidate nails every single case interview, they still may not get an offer if they don't demonstrate that they would be a great fit with the firm and thrive in the consulting role.

 

Why Do Consulting Firms Ask Behavioral and Fit Interview Questions?

 

Consulting firms conduct behavioral or fit interviews to assess past performance, evaluate relevant skills, assess cultural fit, evaluate client-facing skills, predict future performance, and to reduce bias in the hiring process.

 

1. Assessing Past Performance: Behavioral interviews are based on the premise that past behavior is a good predictor of future behavior. By asking candidates to provide specific examples of how they've handled various situations in the past, consulting firms aim to gain insight into how candidates are likely to perform in similar situations in a consulting role.

 

2. Evaluating Relevant Skills: Consulting roles require a specific set of skills and competencies, such as problem-solving, client management, teamwork, leadership, and analytical thinking. Behavioral interviews are designed to assess these skills in a concrete and practical context.

 

3. Assessing Cultural Fit: Consulting firms often have distinct cultures and work environments. By delving into a candidate's past experiences, firms can gauge whether the candidate's working style, values, and approach align with the consulting firm's culture and values.

 

4. Evaluating Client-Facing Skills: Consultants interact closely with clients, which requires strong interpersonal and communication skills. Behavioral interviews help firms evaluate a candidate's ability to handle client relationships, manage expectations, and communicate effectively.

 

5. Predicting Future Performance: By understanding how candidates have handled situations in their previous roles, consulting firms can make more informed predictions about how they might perform in the specific challenges and responsibilities of the consulting role they're applying for.

 

6. Reducing Bias: Behavioral interviews provide a structured framework for evaluating candidates, which can help reduce unconscious bias in the hiring process. By focusing on concrete examples and outcomes, interviewers can make more objective assessments.

 

What Do Consulting Behavioral and Fit Interviews Evaluate?

 

Consulting behavioral and fit interviews evaluate a range of skills, competencies, and attributes that are crucial for success in a consulting role. Here are some of the key elements that a consulting behavioral interview aims to assess:

 

  • Problem-Solving Skills: This involves the ability to analyze complex situations, identify core issues, generate viable solutions, and implement effective strategies to address client challenges.

 

  • Client Interaction and Communication: Consulting often involves working closely with clients. The behavioral interview assesses a candidate's ability to build and maintain strong client relationships, understand their needs, and communicate effectively to meet client expectations.

 

  • Teamwork and Collaboration: Consultants frequently work in teams, both within the consulting firm and alongside client teams. The fit interview evaluates a candidate's capacity to work harmoniously with others, contribute positively to group dynamics, and leverage collective strengths to achieve goals.

 

  • Leadership and Influence: Even if not in formal leadership positions, consultants are expected to exhibit leadership qualities. This includes the ability to influence and motivate others, take initiative, and guide teams towards successful outcomes.

 

  • Adaptability and Flexibility: Consulting often requires adapting to rapidly changing environments, industries, and client needs. The behavioral interview examines a candidate's ability to remain agile, adjust to new circumstances, and thrive in dynamic situations.

 

  • Analytical Thinking and Data-Driven Decision-Making: Consultants need strong analytical skills to interpret data, draw insights, and make informed recommendations. The fit interview assesses a candidate's ability to utilize data and evidence in their decision-making process.

 

  • Time Management and Prioritization: The consulting field often involves managing multiple projects and deadlines simultaneously. The behavioral interview seeks to determine a candidate's organizational skills, time management abilities, and capacity to prioritize tasks effectively.

 

  • Client Results and Value Creation: Consultants are expected to deliver tangible value to clients. The fit interview looks for evidence of a candidate's track record in achieving results, driving business impact, and contributing to client success.

 

  • Ethical and Professional Behavior: Integrity and ethical conduct are vital in consulting. The behavioral interview aims to gauge a candidate's commitment to ethical business practices, professional conduct, and maintaining the highest standards of integrity.

 

  • Resilience and Stress Management: Consulting can be demanding and often involves high-pressure situations. The fit interview assesses a candidate's capacity to handle stress, maintain composure, and perform effectively under challenging circumstances.

 

  • Learning Orientation and Growth Mindset: Consulting is a continuous learning field. The behavioral interview evaluates a candidate's willingness to acquire new knowledge, develop new skills, and embrace opportunities for growth and improvement.

 

Taking these qualities into account, you should focus on demonstrating three key things:

 

  • Show evidence of impressive, tangible accomplishments

 

  • Communicate clearly, concisely, and confidently

 

  • Demonstrate your personality and values

 

You can show evidence of impressive, tangible accomplishments by quantifying your accomplishments and explaining the impact of your work.

 

Don’t just explain what you did and how you did it. Explain the impact and effect you had on the organization. What was the magnitude of the impact? How many people were affected? How did this impact annual revenues or costs?

 

You can work on your communication skills through practice. The more behavioral questions you practice answering, the better you will get at telling stories about your past experiences. You will stumble less often when speaking and sound more confident.

 

You can show how your personality and values fit with the consulting firm by drawing upon experiences that best fit with the culture and values of the firm. By conducting research on the consulting firm you are interviewing for, you should have a sense of what traits are valued.

 

For example, if the consulting firm values collaboration, focus on drawing upon experiences in which you worked on a team or with multiple teams. If the company values innovation, focus on drawing upon experiences in which you changed the status quo.


Why Do Consulting Behavioral and Fit Interviews Matter?


Consulting behavioral interview questions play a crucial role in consulting interviews, serving as the gateway to assessing a candidate's fit for the role and company culture. While case interviews test problem-solving skills and analytical capabilities, behavioral questions delve into past experiences, attitudes, and interpersonal skills.


While most candidates spend hundreds of hours preparing for case interviews, they often spend less than an hour preparing for consulting behavioral and fit interviews. This is a huge mistake because behavioral and fit interview questions are asked in every consulting final round interview and in some first round interviews.


Spending even a few hours preparing for consulting behavioral and fit interview questions can give you a significant advantage over the competition.


There are several reasons why consulting behavioral and fit interviews matter.


Firstly, consulting behavioral questions provide insight into a candidate's soft skills and personality traits. Consulting firms value qualities like leadership, teamwork, communication, adaptability, and resilience. By asking about specific situations or challenges candidates have faced in the past, interviewers can gauge how well they demonstrate these essential attributes in real-world scenarios.


Next, consulting fit questions help assess a candidate's alignment with the consulting firm's values and culture. Consulting firms often have distinct cultures and working environments, characterized by traits like collaboration, client focus, innovation, and a drive for excellence. By diving into candidates' past behaviors and decision-making processes, interviewers can determine whether they embody these values and are likely to thrive within the organization.


Additionally, behavioral questions provide evidence of a candidate's ability to handle common consulting scenarios. Consultants frequently encounter challenging situations such as managing conflicting priorities, navigating ambiguous client requirements, or leading cross-functional teams. By recounting past experiences and demonstrating how they approached similar challenges, candidates can showcase their readiness for the demands of consulting.


Furthermore, behavioral questions contribute to a holistic assessment of a candidate's fit for the consulting role. While technical skills and problem-solving abilities are essential, consulting firms also prioritize candidates who possess strong interpersonal skills, emotional intelligence, and a client-centric mindset. Behavioral questions help interviewers evaluate these critical aspects of a candidate's profile, ensuring a comprehensive evaluation beyond just technical competencies.


In summary, consulting behavioral interview questions matter. You will not be able to land consulting job offers unless you can adequately answer consulting behavioral and fit interview questions. Take them seriously.


Our comprehensive consulting behavioral and fit interview course helps you quickly draft answers to 98% of interview questions so that you can walk into your consulting interviews with confidence.

 

How to Answer Consulting Behavioral and Fit Interview Questions


 


There are hundreds or thousands of different behavioral questions you could get asked. Preparing specific answers for each potential behavioral question is not practical or feasible. Instead, use the following approach, which is much more efficient and effective.

 

Prepare 6 – 8 different stories drawn upon your past professional and personal experiences. Select experiences that are the most impressive, impactful, or unique.

 

Additionally, ensure that your stories are collectively diverse. For example, you don’t want to have eight stories all about leadership. Instead, have at least one story for each of the following themes:


Consulting behavioral and fit interview questions

 

You may have some stories that can fit under several themes.

 

When asked a behavioral question, mentally run through your list of prepared stories and select the story that is the most relevant.

 

You may need to adapt, reframe, or tailor your story to ensure that it emphasizes and focuses on the theme that the specific behavioral or fit question is asking for.

 

When you get asked another behavioral or fit question, mentally run through your prepared list of stories and select the story that is the most relevant that you have not shared yet.

 

This strategy for behavioral and fit questions has three main advantages:

 

  • You only need to prepare 6 – 8 stories instead of hundreds of stories for the hundreds or thousands of potential behavioral questions

 

  • Your mind will not go blank during an interview because you will always have a prepared list of stories to share

 

  • You will only be sharing the most impressive, impactful, or unique experiences that best highlight your traits and accomplishments


Next, we’ll discuss the best way to structure your stories.

 

How to Structure Answers to Consulting Behavioral and Fit Questions


Structuring your answers to behavioral and fit interview questions is crucial because it keeps your stories concise and helps you focus on the key messages that you want to deliver.

 

90% of candidates use the STAR method to structure their answers for behavioral and fit interview questions. This stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result.

 

While this structure definitely works, we recommend a different structure that is more clear, more concise, and will help make your answer stand out from the 90% of other candidates using the STAR method.

 

The method we’ve developed is called the SPAR method, which stands for Summary, Problem, Action, and Result.

 

When telling a story, go through each of these points.


Consulting behavioral and fit interview framework

 

Summary


Provide a one sentence summary of the story that you are about to tell the interviewer. This helps make the rest of your story and answer easier to follow because the interviewer already knows the “what.” They then can pay more attention to the “how” when you give your answer.

 

Example: I’m going to share with you a story where I helped save Airbnb $10M per year by analyzing customer data and collaborating with cross-functional teams.

 

Problem


Describe the problem you encountered or were asked to solve. Try to keep this section concise to spend more time on the Action and Results section.

 

You may want to answer the following questions:

 

  • What were you asked to do?

 

  • What was the goal or objective?

 

  • Why was this task important?

 

Example: While working at Airbnb in their strategic planning & analysis group, I had to determine whether the incremental $10M that Airbnb spent on initiatives to improve customer satisfaction had a positive return on investment. This was important because Airbnb was focused on cutting unnecessary costs to achieve better profitability.

 

Action


Explain what steps you took to handle the task or to meet the goal or objective. Make sure that the actions center around what you specifically did. Do not focus too much on speaking to what your team did because it takes away from your accomplishments.

 

You may want to answer the following questions:

 

  • What steps did you take?

 

  • How did you take these steps?

 

  • Why did you take these actions?

 

Example: I used SQL and excel to analyze over 700K customer data points to create a model forecasting how much happy customers spend per year versus unhappy customers.

 

I collaborated with data science, customer experience, and finance teams and persuaded them to give me their support and buy-in. I also performed competitor and industry benchmarking to validate the results further.

 

Result


Describe the outcome that your actions had, quantifying the impact and effect you had on the organization. Additionally, you can describe your key takeaways from this experience and how it impacted or influenced you as a person.

 

You may want to answer the following questions:

 

  • Did you meet the goals or objectives?

 

  • What was the outcome and impact of your actions?

 

  • What did you learn from this experience?

 

  • How did this experience help you grow and develop?

 

Example: In the end, I determined that the customer satisfaction initiatives had a negative 20% return on investment. I presented the findings to the CFO and to my 30-person strategic planning & analysis group, who all supported my recommendation. My work would save Airbnb $10M per year moving forward.

 

Throughout this process, I learned how to work with multiple cross-functional teams and how to persuade stakeholders to get their buy-in. This experience also further reinforced my perspective on using data to make intelligent business decisions.


For a more detailed strategy on exactly how to structure your behavioral answers to impress your interviewer, check out our comprehensive consulting behavioral and fit interview course.


How to Prepare for Consulting Behavioral and Fit Interview Questions


Now that you know how to answer consulting behavioral and fit interview questions, make sure you spend sufficient time preparing. It should take anywhere from 2 - 6 hours to prepare for consulting behavioral and fit interviews.


There are six steps to preparing for consulting behavioral and fit interview questions.


1. Identify your best stories


Start by reflecting on past experiences, accomplishments, and challenges. Choose stories that showcase key competencies such as leadership, teamwork, problem solving, resilience, integrity, decision making, communication, and interpersonal skills.


2. Narrow down your list to 6-8 stories


After brainstorming, select the most impactful and diverse stories. Ensure each one highlights different skills and experiences, showcasing a well-rounded representation of your abilities. Focus on stories with clear outcomes and lessons learned, making them effective examples for interviewers. Also prioritize stories relevant to consulting, such as client interactions and project management.


3. Flesh out the details of each story


Next, make sure that you are able to recall the specific details of each story. You should know the context and be able to describe the situation or challenge faced. You should be able to explain your role and actions taken to address the issue, emphasizing any obstacles overcome. You should also be able to highlight the results or outcomes achieved, including any quantifiable achievements or impacts.


4. Structure the story


Utilize the SPAR (Summary, Problem, Action, Result) method to organize your stories. Begin by summarizing your story in a single sentence. Next, provide a concise explanation of the problem or objective. Afterwards, describe the specific actions that you took. Finally, discuss the results or outcomes of your actions, emphasizing any positive impacts or lessons learned.


5. Practice telling the story


Rehearse each story multiple times to ensure fluency and familiarity. Focus on speaking clearly and confidently, maintaining good eye contact and body language. Time yourself to keep responses concise and within the recommended interview timeframe. Consider recording yourself or practicing with others to receive feedback and make necessary adjustments.


6. Ask for feedback


Seek feedback from peers, mentors, or career advisors on your storytelling ability and the content of your answer. Request specific feedback on areas for improvement, such as clarity, relevance, and engagement. Use feedback to refine your stories and tailor them to better. Continuously iterate and improve your storytelling skills based on feedback received.

 

The Most Common Consulting Behavioral and Fit Interview Questions

 

Below is a list of over fifty different consulting behavioral and fit questions. This is not meant to be a comprehensive list of all behavioral questions, but the list will provide you with a clear idea of the different categories of behavioral questions.

 

Leadership questions

 

  • Give me an example of a time when you had to lead a team

 

  • Tell me about a time when you took on a leadership role

 

  • Describe a situation in which you had to motivate someone

 

  • Tell me about a time when you showed initiative

 

  • Give me an example of a time when you went above and beyond the call of duty

 

  • Tell me about a time when you had to be adaptable

 

Teamwork questions

 

  • Describe a time when you had to make an individual sacrifice for the good of the team

 

  • Tell me about a time when you worked on a highly effective team. What made the team so successful?

 

  • Give an example of a time when you were part of a team that did not work well together. What were the reasons for this?

 

  • What is the typical role that you take on a team?

 

  • Can you tell me about your most recent experience working with a team?

 

  • Give me a time when a team member wasn’t doing their work. What did you do?

 

Problem solving questions

 

  • Tell me about a time when you used data to solve a problem

 

  • Describe a difficult or complicated problem that you faced. How did you approach the problem?

 

  • Tell me about a time when you had to make a decision but did not have all of the information you needed

 

  • Describe a time when you had too many things to do. How did you handle this?

 

  • Give an example of a problem you solved in a unique way

 

Resilience questions

 

  • Describe a situation in which you handled conflict while working on a team

 

  • Give an example of a time when you tried to accomplish something but failed

 

  • Describe a situation in which you made a mistake. What did you do about it?

 

  • Tell me about a time you failed to meet a deadline. What things did you do to fail? What did you learn?

 

  • Give an example of a time when you had too many things to do. How did you handle this?

 

  • Talk about a setback you had at work. What did you do?

 

Integrity questions

 

  • Talk about a time when it was challenging to be honest

 

  • Tell me about a time when you found out a colleague was doing something wrong. What did you do?

 

  • Can you give me a situation in which you thought it was better to be dishonest?

 

  • Describe a time when you followed a rule that you didn’t agree with

 

  • Can you describe a time when a colleague questioned your honesty? What did you do?

 

Decision making questions

 

  • Walk me through the steps you took to make an important decision you made at work

 

  • Tell me about a time when you had to make an immediate decision without having all the information you need

 

  • Give me an example of a time when you made a decision that wasn’t popular

 

  • Describe a decision that you regretted making. Why did you regret it?

 

  • Give me a time when you had to make a difficult decision

 

Communication questions

 

  • Describe a time when you had to give a presentation without any preparation

 

  • Talk about a time when your communication failed. What was the problem? How did you handle it?

 

  • How did you communicate with your previous bosses?

 

  • Give me an example of a time when you gave a speech or presentation for your job

 

  • Tell me about a time when you communicated with an unresponsive person

 

Interpersonal skills questions

 

  • Give a time when you disagreed with your manager

 

  • Describe a time you disagreed with a teammate

 

  • Tell me about a time when you had to persuade someone on a particular course of action

 

  • Give an example of a time when you mentored someone

 

  • How have you maintained relationships with your former managers and coworkers?

 

  • Was there ever a time you didn’t get along with a colleague? What did you do?

 

Other questions

 

  • What is your greatest strength?

 

  • What is a piece of feedback you have received from a former supervisor or colleague?

 

  • What do you see as your weaknesses?

 

  • What is an accomplishment that you are proud of that is not on your resume?

 

  • What is something we should know about you that is not on your resume?

 

  • Why should we hire you?

 

Examples of Answers to Consulting Behavioral and Fit Interview Questions

 

Example #1: Describe a time when you went above and beyond the call of duty.

 

I’m going to share with you a story for how I helped Apple increase their revenues by $100M by taking on a project outside of my job responsibility.


While working at Apple in their AppleCare business, I was responsible for analyzing data to identify opportunities to improve customer satisfaction.

 

While looking through survey responses, I realized there was an opportunity to use the tremendous amount of data that Apple had to predict which customers were likely to cancel their AppleCare subscriptions. 

 

Apple could focus on retaining these customers by sending them discount codes for renewal. I raised this point to my director and proposed taking on this project.

 

Outside of my regular job responsibilities, I pulled over five years of purchasing data for over 10 million customers to create a logistic regression model. I verified my model with data scientists and got the buy-in of members of the AppleCare strategy team.

 

In the end, I determined that Apple could increase revenues by $100M by targeting the top 10% of customers that were most likely to cancel and sending them discount codes.

 

I presented my results to the head of AppleCare, who approved testing this promotional campaign to a few cities. My director was appreciative of me going above and beyond what was required in my role.

 

Example #2: Describe a time when you had to motivate someone.

 

I’m going to share with you a story from Amazon where I had to motivate an underperformer.


While working on a customer service improvement project for Amazon, I led a four-person analytics team. The goal was to analyze recent customer survey data to identify ways to improve customer service.

 

I distributed work according to each person’s interests and expertise. After a few weeks, I observed that three members worked productively and effectively while one member, John, was consistently delivering work that was both low-quality and late.

 

Realizing that this was a potential motivation issue, I sat down with John to understand what the root cause was. The problem was that the analytics team had recently shifted to using an analytics software called Tableau.

 

John found Tableau difficult to set up and use, so he was unmotivated to switch from using Excel, which he was an expert at. As a result, Excel could not handle the millions of rows of data, causing poor work quality and delays.

 

To motivate John, I set up three one-on-one Tableau training sessions with him to walk him through the setup of Tableau. I demonstrated how it could save him time because it performed computationally intensive calculations much quicker than Excel.

 

Afterward, John began liking Tableau. He became excited to learn about what other features of Tableau could save him time in his other projects. His performance significantly improved and he began consistently delivering high-quality work on-time.

 

Consulting Behavioral and Fit Interview Tips

 

Make sure to follow the consulting behavioral and fit interview tips below to best highlight your qualities and skills to the interviewer. This is your opportunity to make a positive and lasting impression on your consulting interviewers.

 

1. Understand the SPAR Method: Familiarize yourself with the SPAR method (Summary, Problem, Action, Result) to structure your responses effectively. This helps you provide a clear and comprehensive account of your experiences.

 

2. Prepare Relevant Examples: Identify specific examples from your past experiences that demonstrate the skills and competencies consulting firms value. Tailor these examples to align with the consulting industry's demands.

 

3. Quantify Results: Whenever possible, quantify the impact of your actions. Use metrics or data to highlight the results you achieved in your previous roles.

 

4. Practice Active Listening: Pay close attention to the interviewer's questions. This ensures you understand what they're asking and allows you to respond appropriately.

 

5. Be Specific and Concise: Provide detailed responses without going off on tangents. Focus on the key points that demonstrate your abilities.

 

6. Research the Firm: Understand the consulting firm's culture, values, and areas of expertise. Familiarize yourself with recent projects or initiatives they've been involved in.

 

7. Align with the Firm's Values: During the interview, demonstrate how your own values align with those of the consulting firm. Show that you're a good cultural fit.

 

8. Show Enthusiasm and Passion: Communicate your genuine interest in consulting and the specific firm you're interviewing with. This demonstrates your motivation and commitment.

 

Remember to practice these tips in mock interviews or with a trusted mentor. This can help you feel more confident and prepared for your consulting behavioral and fit interviews.


Lastly, make sure to practice common consulting interview questions such as the "tell me about yourself" question.


There are many more consulting fit interview questions besides behavioral questions. For a step-by-step guide on how to best answer all of these questions and more, check out our consulting behavioral & fit interview course.


Common Consulting Behavioral and Fit Interview Mistakes


Below are the eight most common consulting behavioral and fit interview mistakes. Common mistakes include: lack of preparation, generic responses, exaggerating or misrepresenting experiences, lack of structure, poor communication, being overly rehearsed, being overly assertive, and lack of enthusiasm.


1. Lack of Preparation


Failing to thoroughly research the consulting firm, its culture, values, and recent projects can be a critical mistake. Candidates should be well-informed about the company they're interviewing with to demonstrate genuine interest and alignment.


2. Generic Responses


Providing vague or generic responses to behavioral questions without offering specific examples or details can hinder a candidate's ability to showcase relevant skills and experiences. It's crucial to illustrate answers with concrete examples from past experiences.


3. Exaggerating or Misrepresenting Experiences


While it's essential to highlight achievements, exaggerating or misrepresenting experiences can backfire during the interview process. Interviewers may probe deeper into candidate responses. Any inconsistencies or inaccuracies can erode trust and credibility.


4. Lack of Structure


Some candidates do not share their stories and experiences in a clear, structured way. This makes it more difficult for the interviewer to follow the story and truly understand the candidate's accomplishments and achievements. A lack of structure can make an answer sound incoherent, redundant, and boring.


5. Poor Communication


Communication is key in consulting, and candidates who struggle to articulate their thoughts clearly or concisely may create doubts about their ability to communicate effectively with clients and team members. Practicing effective communication techniques is essential.


6. Being Overly Rehearsed


While preparation is crucial, being overly rehearsed can come across as insincere or robotic. Candidates should aim for a balance between preparation and spontaneity, allowing for natural conversation flow and genuine interaction.


7. Being Overly Assertive or Dominant


Confidence is essential, but candidates who come across as overly assertive or dominant may risk alienating interviewers or appear difficult to work with. It's important to strike a balance between confidence and humility, demonstrating assertiveness without overshadowing others.


8. Lack of Enthusiasm or Passion


Consulting is a demanding field that requires dedication and enthusiasm. Candidates who fail to convey genuine enthusiasm for the industry, the firm, or the role may come across as disinterested or unmotivated, which can greatly decrease their chances of success.


Prevent yourself from making these critical mistakes in your consulting interviews by following our step-by-step consulting behavioral and fit interview course. We'll help you write your answers sentence-by-sentence to craft outstanding, memorable answers.


Differences Between Consulting Behavioral and Fit Interviews and the McKinsey PEI


A McKinsey Personal Experience Interview, or PEI for short, is a component of McKinsey’s interview process that is used to evaluate a candidate’s personal experiences, skills, and attributes.

 

During the McKinsey PEI, the interviewer will ask you to provide specific examples from your past experiences that demonstrate certain skills or qualities. These could include leadership, teamwork, problem-solving, communication, and other relevant attributes. The purpose of the PEI is to assess your ability to handle real-world situations and to gauge how you might perform as a consultant.

 

The McKinsey PEI shares some similarities with consulting behavioral and fit interview questions. These questions both ask you to draw upon a time or experience in the past in which you demonstrated a particular skill or trait.


The main difference is that the McKinsey PEI dives much deeper into your answer. 


For the McKinsey PEI, you’ll need to provide precise and specific details of who was involved, what happened, where it took place, when it happened, why things happened, and how things happened. You’ll also give deep reflections on what defines you as a person. Behavioral questions have much less depth of answer.


The McKinsey PEI typically takes 10-15 minutes while a typical behavioral question takes just 3-5 minutes.


Additionally, another difference is that the McKinsey PEI assesses personal impact, entrepreneurial drive, problem solving, and leadership. These are the four qualities that McKinsey says they specifically look for on their interviewing website. Behavioral questions, on the other hand, assess a wider variety of qualities. 


Lastly, for the McKinsey PEI, the interviewer may ask probing follow-up questions on your motivations, thought process, and emotional reactions. For behavioral interviews, the interviewer may only ask one or two follow-up questions asking for clarification or more basic information.


Nail Your Consulting Case Interviews

 

While you prepare for consulting behavioral and fit interview questions, you should also be preparing for case interviews in parallel. You will not receive a consulting job offer unless you can ace each and every one of your case interviews.

 

Here are the resources we recommend to learn the most robust, effective case interview strategies in the least time-consuming way:

 

  • Comprehensive Case Interview Course (our #1 recommendation): The only resource you need. Whether you have no business background, rusty math skills, or are short on time, this step-by-step course will transform you into a top 1% caser that lands multiple consulting offers.

 

  • Hacking the Case Interview Book (available on Amazon): Perfect for beginners that are short on time. Transform yourself from a stressed-out case interview newbie to a confident intermediate in under a week. Some readers finish this book in a day and can already tackle tough cases.

 

  • The Ultimate Case Interview Workbook (available on Amazon): Perfect for intermediates struggling with frameworks, case math, or generating business insights. No need to find a case partner – these drills, practice problems, and full-length cases can all be done by yourself.



  • Behavioral & Fit Interview Course: Be prepared for 98% of behavioral and fit questions in just a few hours. We'll teach you exactly how to draft answers that will impress your interviewer