Ace Your Consulting Interview

Our topic for today is focused on what it takes to face a consulting interview and ace it. We will split the topic into areas of generic interview and preparation and at a bird’s-eye view touch upon specifics of understanding what technology related interview versus process related interview.

So do you have what it takes to ace a consulting interview?

While you spend time analyzing whether you are ready for a consulting interview, let us look at what it takes to prepare for the interview.While a consulting interview in many ways may be similar to a regular job interview, there are areas of the interview that grossly differs from any other job interviews.

As is the case with every other interview, this interview would start with the interviewer asking you to explain something about yourself, your experience in the consulting industry. If you do not have any experience in consulting, there is a high probability that the you would be expected to map your current experience to consulting experience requirements. But if you do not have any experience at all, there is a high likelihood you are not shortlisted for an interview in a consulting firm.

For experience consulting professionals this part becomes easy as all you do is explain your current role and how it maps to the new role you are seeking. For newbies, it becomes a bit more challenging to face a consulting interview. So it would help newbies to connect with consulting professionals as a part of the networking exercise prior to presenting themselves for a consulting interview. This will help you get familiarized with the consulting industry and specifically the role of a consultant. You could best leverage networking sites and informal communications for this purpose.

Ensure you research enough about the consulting firm you are taking the consulting interview with. Typically consulting organizations showcase case studies of their client problems and the solution they provided as a part of their case studies. They may be available in brief on their website. Take the time to read and understand these case studies. It may help you during your consulting interview.

Indeed, it may not be wise to assume that these cases would be presented to you during your consulting interview. But reviewing these cases may help provide you with insight on what the organization is looking for.

It is also advisable for you to review their service offerings and align your experience to one of the service offerings. While it is great that you may carry some experience, it is vital that the experience maps to what the consulting firm offers to its clients. This would definitely be tested in your consulting interview. Ensure that you take the time to understand their service offerings and convince the firm of your value add to the offering.

Be well prepared to solve for a case study. If you are an experienced and a seasoned consultant attending a consulting interview, there is a very high likelihood that you are not presented with a case study to solve.

But if you are a newbie, there is no skipping this step. Please note that during your consulting interview, the firm will not look for you to solve the case study. It is more vital and probable that the firm will be examining your ability to think outside the box, structured thinking, your analytical skills, your problem solving abilities and your communication skills though the case study. Prepare for multiple case studies is vital for your consulting interview success. Check to see if you can get insights for consulting case studies from HBR magazine or others of similar nature for your consulting interview.

 

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Strategy Consultancy: Why Is It Important?

Consultancy is required in every field and without consultancy, you cannot reach to the end of your project or whatever task you are planning to do. With respect to business, you need consultancy at every stage because business is risk, hence to minimise the risk, it is important that you consult from some expert at every stage. Many firms are there these days that help businesses and individuals in consultancy and help them in consultancy of about any department.

The strategy consultancy can mainly help in the financial planning of the business. Financial planning is very important for the business because it is required to make important decisions for the future. The basic decisions of business are solely based on the financial planning of the entire year and strategy consultancy plays a major role in it. Before you start any business or you plan to start any project within a business, you need some strategy which you can follow. When you have a strategy, you have a clear path to follow.

Not only for running a business, consultancy is also required in designing a strategy for the business. Strategy is not only made for the financial planning, rather it is important for marketing perspective of the business as well. Here the question arises that why strategy consultancy is required and in what ay the consultants can help us. Through strategy consultancy, you can focus your business on doing something innovative in the market that can give you a competitive edge over other businesses.

Not only innovation, strategy consultancy can also help to make important decisions regarding the business model the company is following. Businesses who fail to make their place in the market often think to change their business model. Changing a business model is not an easy task, so it requires a serious consultancy and for that purpose strategic consultants are there. It is advisable to take help from the strategy consultant who is related to some consultancy firm. In this way, you will not have to face any risk of being misguided.

Cost saving is another major problem of businesses and many businesses fail just because they fail to allocate their costs in the right way. Strategy consultancy helps such businesses to grow in a better way and through better financial planning, they can make better business decisions in the future. Contingency planning is also very important part of the strategy consultancy and it helps the business to focus on the root cause of the problems.

When you know the root cause, you will then be able to better solve the problem and can then make a new strategy accordingly. Strategy consultancy is being widely used by the businesses and they can actually differentiate their business position in the marketing before consultancy and after consultancy.

Strategy consultancy can also be used in making new policies of the business. Policy making is not an easy task and it requires a deep market research to formulate it. But if you are under better consultancy then there will be no difficulty in designing a new policy. A new policy can either bring successful changes in your business or it can lower down your rate in the market. So before you hire a strategic consultant for your business, it is advisable that you always select the high quality firm or consultant for that purpose because it is all about the success of your business and at every point there is high amount of risk involved. In order to reduce the risk, consultancy is something best possible thing that you can do and it can have very positive effects on your business.

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What Are the Advantages of Hiring a Consultant?

Many people may be aware of the recent statistics on the rise of freelance and consultancy work in the western world, that state that a massive 40% of the US population will be self-employed by the year 2020. Even considering the current trend of entrepreneurship and a start-up culture, these figures are impressive.

Due to the ever-fluctuating market, many people are now considering undertaking consultancy jobs than ever before. The majority of people who choose to work in this way generally do so for greater job satisfaction, a more flexible schedule, increased earning potential and the possibility to bring their skills and experience to roles that they feel are a great match for them.

There are also numerous benefits for companies who decide to hire freelance consultants to work for them. These advantages are generally considered to apply to all different sectors and professions, although it can also be said that there can also be additional plus points depending on the specialisation of your consultant.

First of all, firms offering consultancy jobs can find that hiring an outsider can provide a valuable objective insight on issues within the company. Whereas company employees may be too close to a problem to get any perspective on trying to solve it, getting an external viewpoint can be extremely useful for anyone looking for fresh solutions.

In a similar fashion, it can be argued that those taking consultancy jobs at a firm are less likely to be influenced by internal politics or sensitive issues. This can be important in areas as HR consultancy, where an HR expert can mediate in situations where there are disputes and workplace conflict. By being emotionally untangled, the consultant is more likely to deliver results.

Another advantage of offering consultancy jobs rather than in-house positions is that this choice can have a potentially positive financial impact on the company in question. One reason for this is that although consultancy fees need to be paid, a freelancer of this type is happy to stay with the company for only as long as he or she is required.

Rather than employing someone full-time, hiring a consultant periodically to assist the company can reduce the company’s spend on salaries and other employee benefits. It can also be argued that because consultants are hired to achieve specific results, they tend to deliver a lot of value for their fees; in other words, achieving the results they are hired to create is essential to them being paid.

Because of their objectivity, companies offering consultancy jobs can often find freelancers to do the work that no-one in house wants to do. As mentioned before, this could be resolving employee disputes, or it could simply be taking on a time-consuming task such as conducting interviews for new staff.

With consultants being trained and experienced in their specific domains, they are also more likely to be good at what they do. Of course, it pays to thoroughly check the background of any freelancer to make sure that they are able to complete the tasks set for them better than an existing employee of the company.

Businesses can also find themselves offering consultancy jobs when they have certain roles to fill on short notice. As the hiring of permanent staff can be a long and complicated process, getting one or several consultants on board with the company as it goes through this can make sure work gets done whilst waiting to employ the right full-time employee.

This doesn’t have to be just a solution for when companies have to temporarily hire help whilst they are searching for permanent in-house employees; if there is a difficult project which has unexpectedly required more attention that anticipated, a consultant can be brought on board for the duration of the task.

Given the numerous advantages of hiring freelance consultants, it is no surprise that more and more companies have consultancy jobs on offer at their firms. It can definitely be said that, in numerous situations and circumstances, hiring a consultant can be a great move for business.

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Hiring a Consulting Company for Boosting Business

Business consultants play an important role for any business to ensure that the business is going in the right direction. If, you are a business owner and think that your business is not moving in the right direction and with the right pace then you should consult a business consulting company. Hiring an external business consultant can bring a fresh set of ideas to evaluate the company policies and employees capability. Generally, external business consultants have a wide and varied set of skills and expertise beyond those of your own company or staff. They have the privilege of serving multiple clients in the same sector (eg, food industry, Enterprise Software) and/or serving multiple clients facing similar problems across different sectors which mean these companies can help drive your organisation with a broad experience and knowledge.

Today, there are a number of business consulting companies available locally and globally. Business consulting companies make recommendations to the mangers that are responsible for implementing the changes firstly by assessing the business. By evaluating each and every policy that is being used in the company, Business consultants work with the company employees at every level to generate some unique idea to favor the business that is ideal for the company The solution ultimately is guided by the business consultant and generated by the employee’s with an understanding of the key issues and results to aim for.

Management consultants can also be used for politically challenging situations such as job layoffs, salary and benefit changes/reduction, major operational and strategic shifts. Often short term needs of a company can also be resourceful by using management consultants who are able to apply their expertise quickly to fulfill the company’s needs.

Consulting companies and their types
The core duty of a consulting company is to offer its knowledge and expertise to boost client business. Consulting companies come with a range of expertise focused around all industries or with specialized services. The most popular consulting companies are management consulting companies which often offer a full range of business skills; and IT Consulting companies which are more specific to the technology related aspects of a company. Other more industry specific or specialized types of consulting companies may also include environmental consultants, human resource consultants, retail services consulting and even hotel management. In addition, consulting companies may come in large organisational shapes or be boutique. Large consultancies have a breadth of expertise and resources that they can offer. Boutiques often offer specialized expertise on specific dimensions. All business consulting companies however have their own approach and method to servicing a client. They may offer the services such as management training, consultation, resource assignments, advising and delivery & implementation services which may be focus ed at only on one single project or at a company level. Management training services are often also necessary in consulting projects as clients usually have to implement and maintain suggested changes.

Benefits of business consultants
Business consultants bring benefits in a number of ways. Firstly, not only do they have a varied set of experiences across varying industries, but they can apply the problems of many other businesses and help implement solutions for your business.

They can improve your business strategies to work with the maximum force by modifying simple or complex rules and processes. They can also make recommendation by understanding current regulation and policies. These companies perform a great deal of research to find a solution – time that you may not have. In addition they can manage a great deal of legal paper work and recommend the kind of manpower and equipment or tools that may be needed to grow your business. Business consultants can often provide the effective management training to your employees to reskill them into more efficient and highly skilful resources. They can also help to develop some unique marketing strategies that can attract more customers and result in revenue earning opportunities for your business.

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How to Look for the Best Business Consultant

It is not hard to know if one consultant is good or not. A perfect consultant can be found in many ways and all you need to do is to search for them. One of the most important aspects that you need to take a look at for a consultant is their personality and communication skills. The credibility and experience of a business consulting company is very much important to be able to know if your consultant can handle the work that you need. One thing that you need to look for a good consultant is credibility.

The credibility of the consulting service is the fundamental aspect that you need to take a look at. There are different consultants that a person need. If you own a business, you may need the services of planning consultants. If you will rely on your consultant, then you need to be confident that his or her proposed plan will lead to a desirable result or outcome. The responsibility of the company to maintain their credibility all throughout the engagement is very important. Once the credibility is lost, it is very hard to regain again.

A good consultant also has the ability to read minds. Mind reading is one of the most important assets for a business consultant. The success of the business will depend upon the ability to convince clients to choose your company or products over the others. A management consulting company add to the credibility of the plan that the client has already been decided. The main role of the consultant is to become the fall guy if something wrong happens. They usually make a living out of making bids for the client. You need a consultant that can see things beyond others can see and use this understanding for the betterment of your business.

The interpersonal communication skill of the any consultant for example a medical consultant is very important. To match mind reading skill, a good consultant should also have a matching good interpersonal communication skill. Consultant deals with clients and different people that involves within your business that is why they need to have good communication skills that can convince people. Communication skill also needs good listening skills. If a consultant does not know how to listen to other people around them, there will be a very huge problem. Listening to other people’s ideas and suggestions is very much needed to attain success.

The business writing skills of a good consultant must be clear to be able to convey the message that they want to express clearly into writings. There is an art when it comes to business writing aside from observing correct grammar and spelling. If you need an environmental consulting company, it is important that one has a good writing skill. The writings should always be based on facts rather than superlatives. It should also explain the benefits rather than listing only the features. A good writing for a business should give the reader the opportunity to create their own conclusion.

The ability to solve a problem is also an important trait for a consultant. This is the reason why experience is a must right before you decide to hire a particular consulting company or service. The confidence of solving a particular problem indicates knowledge and experience. Recruitment consultants need to be a problem solver in order to avoid any pitfalls. If you want your business to succeed, it is important for one to search and compare different companies offering consulting services. This will lead you to finding the best consulting service that you need for the betterment of your business.

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