Mastering the ‘Why Consulting’ Interview Question: How to Have an Optimal Response

Orange question mark symbolizing the 'Why Consulting' interview question, encouraging thoughtful preparation and strong responses.

As an aspiring consultant, you’ve probably spent countless hours preparing for your interviews, honing your resume, and refining your case interview skills. But there’s one question that can make or break your chances of landing a coveted consulting role: the ‘Why Consulting’ interview question. This seemingly simple question is critical in determining whether you are a good fit for the consulting industry and the firm you’re interviewing with. In this article, I’ll delve into the significance of the ‘Why Consulting’ interview question, break down its components, and equip you with the necessary tools to develop a compelling and persuasive ‘Why Consulting’ interview answer.

Introduction to the 'Why Consulting' Interview Question

The ‘Why Consulting’ interview question is a common one that you’ll likely encounter during your consulting interviews. It’s a simple question that aims to uncover your motivations for pursuing a career in consulting and your understanding of the industry. However, many candidates find it difficult to articulate a compelling ‘Why Consulting’ interview answer that distinguishes them from their competition.

The purpose of this article is to help you master the ‘Why Consulting’ interview question by understanding its significance, the interviewer’s perspective, and the components that make up an effective response. I’ll also talk you through common mistakes to avoid, tailoring your response to different consulting firms, and tips for confidently delivering your answer.

The Importance of the 'Why Consulting' Question in Interviews

The ‘Why Consulting?’ question is a crucial part of any consulting interview, as it helps interviewers assess your motivation, passion, and commitment to the profession. Consulting firms want to ensure that they hire individuals who genuinely want to build a career in the industry, as consultants often face long hours, demanding clients, and a steep learning curve.

Your answer to this question will also indicate whether you’ve done your research on the consulting industry and the specific firm you’re interviewing with. A well-crafted response demonstrates your understanding of the profession, your alignment with the firm’s values, and your ability to communicate your thoughts effectively.

Understanding the True Meaning of 'Why Consulting'

To develop your optimal ‘Why Consulting’ interview answer, you must first understand what the question is truly asking. It’s not simply about knowing the benefits of a consulting career or listing the reasons why you chose this path. The question aims to uncover your motivations, your understanding of the industry, and whether you’re a good fit for the firm’s culture.

When preparing your response, keep in mind that consulting firms are looking for candidates who are passionate about solving complex problems, who work well in teams, and who have strong communication and analytical skills. Your answer should reflect these qualities and demonstrate that you’re a good fit for both the industry and the specific firm you’re interviewing with.

Different ways 'Why Consulting' can be asked in an Interview

Not all ‘Why Consulting’ interview questions are made equal. You might think that the interviewer will literally ask you “So, why are you interested in consulting”? Careful! They might ask you this, or the question might not be so obvious.

Be prepared for the ‘Why Consulting’ Interview question to come in any other the following formats:

1.Why are you interested in this position?

2.What draws you to the consulting industry?

3.What brings you here today?

4.Do you think you’re well suited for this role?

5.Can you tell me why you decided to pursue a career in consulting?

6.What specific aspects of consulting work do you find appealing?

7.How does a consulting career align with your long-term goals?

8.What factors motivated you to apply for a consulting position with our firm?

9.In your opinion, what makes consulting a good fit for you?

10.What experiences or skills do you think will contribute to your success as a consultant?

11.How do you see yourself growing and developing within the consulting industry?

12.What sets consulting apart from other career options you have considered?

13.What do you hope to achieve or learn by working as a consultant?

Understanding the Interviewer's Perspective

As you prepare your ‘Why Consulting?’ response, it’s essential to consider the interviewer’s perspective. Your interviewer is likely a consultant who has experienced the challenges and rewards of the industry firsthand. They’re looking for candidates who can not only articulate their passion for consulting but also demonstrate a genuine understanding of the profession.

When crafting your response, consider the following points from the interviewer’s perspective:

  • Does the candidate have a clear understanding of the consulting industry and its demands?
  • Does the candidate demonstrate a genuine passion for problem-solving and helping clients succeed?
  • Can the candidate articulate how their skills and experiences align with the demands of a consulting career?
  • Does the candidate show an understanding of the firm’s values, culture, and unique offerings?

By addressing these points in your response, you’ll be better prepared to answer the why consulting interview question in a way that resonates with your interviewer.

How to Answer Effectively

First, it’s important to know the fundamentals of having a good answer for any behavioral question. Remember the following principles:

  1. Directly addressing the question: Ensure that your response is relevant and directly answers the behavioral question asked.
  2. Structured and organized response: Use frameworks like the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) or CAR (Context, Action, Result) method to guide your answer and keep it organized.
  3. Natural and genuine delivery: Speak conversationally and show genuine emotions to avoid sounding overly rehearsed or robotic.
  4. Clarity, conciseness, and precision: Use clear language, keep your response succinct, and focus on the key details that highlight your relevant experiences or skills.
  5. Adaptability and preparedness: Be ready to adjust your answer based on the interviewer’s reactions or follow-up questions, demonstrating your ability to think on your feet.
Behavioral key principles for the why consulting interview question

Now, an effective why consulting interview answer should consist of the following components:

  • Personal motivation: Explain your reasons for wanting to pursue a career in consulting. This could include your passion for problem-solving, the opportunity to work with diverse clients, or the chance to make a meaningful impact on businesses and industries.
  • Understanding of the industry: Demonstrate your knowledge of the consulting industry and its challenges, such as long hours, demanding clients, and the need for constant learning and adaptation.
  • Alignment with the firm’s values and culture: Show that you’ve researched the firm you’re interviewing with and can articulate how your values and experiences align with the company’s culture and core values.
  • Relevant skills and experiences: Highlight your skills and experiences that are relevant to a consulting career, such as strong analytical abilities, teamwork, and communication skills.

How to Craft the Perfect 'Why Consulting' Interview Answer

How to craft the perfect why consulting interview answer

To create a compelling ‘Why Consulting?’ answer, follow these steps:

  1. Open with a summary: Begin by briefly outlining your main reasons for pursuing a career in consulting, providing a roadmap for your response.
  2. Align interests with skills: Explain how your interests in consulting align with your existing skillset and how you can contribute effectively in this field.
  3. Support with relevant experience: Highlight previous experiences or roles that have prepared you for consulting and showcase your understanding of the industry.
  4. Identify gaps in prior experiences: Mention any missing elements in your past career or experiences that consulting can help you fill or explore.
  5. Flag a logical progression to consulting: Describe how your career journey and personal growth have naturally led you to pursue a consulting career.
  6. Emphasize the company fit: Conclude by reiterating why the specific consulting firm you’re interviewing with is the ideal place for you to grow and excel in this field.

To research and think through how you would like to answer the question, try the following:

  • Reflect on your motivations for pursuing a consulting career.
  • Research the consulting industry and the specific firm you’re interviewing with.
  • Identify relevant skills and experiences that demonstrate your suitability for the role.
  • Structure your answer to include personal motivation, understanding of the industry, alignment with the firm’s values, and relevant skills.

Remember that authenticity is key – your answer should be tailored to your unique experiences and motivations, and not simply a generic response.

Common Mistakes to Avoid in Your 'Why Consulting' Interview Answer

As you prepare your ‘Why Consulting?’ Interview answer, be mindful of these common mistakes:

  • Being too generic: Avoid providing a general response that could apply to any candidate. Instead, focus on your unique experiences and motivations for pursuing a consulting career.
  • Focusing solely on the benefits: While it’s important to acknowledge the benefits of a consulting career, don’t make your answer solely about them. Show your understanding of the challenges and how you’re prepared to overcome them.
  • Neglecting to research the firm: Show that you’ve taken the time to research the specific firm you’re interviewing with and can articulate how your values align with theirs.
  • Not practicing your response: Practice delivering your answer with confidence,  clarity, and fluency, as this will make a lasting impression on your interviewer.

Tailoring Your Response to Different Consulting Firms

When interviewing with different consulting firms, it’s essential to tailor your ‘Why Consulting?’ Interview answer  response to the specific company. Remember that you need to be ready for why consulting interview questions for each firm! Research each firm to understand their unique values, culture, and offerings, and incorporate this information into your answer. This demonstrates your genuine interest in the company and your commitment to finding the right fit for your career.

Tips for Delivering Your Answer Confidently

To deliver your ‘Why Consulting?’ Interview answer response with confidence, follow these tips:

  • Practice your answer out loud to improve your delivery and ensure it flows naturally.
  • Record yourself delivering your response to identify areas for improvement.
  • Practice your answer with someone you know – have them ask you the question.
  • Use positive body language and maintain eye contact with your interviewer.
  • Speak clearly and at a moderate pace, ensuring your answer is easy to understand.

Practicing Your 'Why Consulting' Interview Answer

The more you practice your ‘Why Consulting’ answer the more confident and polished you’ll be during your interview. Consider practicing with a friend or mentor, who can provide valuable feedback and help you refine your answer. Additionally, take advantage of online resources, such as forums and blogs, to gather insights and advice from others who have successfully navigated the consulting interview process.

Real-life Examples of Successful 'Why Consulting' Interview Answers

To help you develop your own ‘Why Consulting?’ response, consider this example:

I’m drawn to consulting because of the opportunity to work on a variety of challenging projects across different industries. My background in engineering has given me strong analytical skills, but I’m eager to apply these skills in a broader context and help clients solve their most pressing business problems. I’m particularly attracted to [Firm Name] because of its focus on innovation and commitment to developing its consultants through continuous learning and mentorship.

Throughout my career, I’ve been passionate about helping organizations improve their performance and achieve their goals. I believe consulting offers the perfect platform to combine my love for problem-solving with my strong interpersonal skills. Having researched [Firm Name], I’m impressed by its collaborative culture and its track record of delivering exceptional results for its clients. I’m confident that my experience and motivation make me a strong fit for this firm and the consulting industry as a whole.

And, here’s a bonus, here is, more or less, the exact answer I gave in my interviews, with a 100% pass rate across the 8 firms at which I interviewed during my MBA program.

Conclusion: Mastering the 'Why Consulting' Interview Question

The ‘Why Consulting’ interview question is a critical component of any consulting interview, and mastering your response is essential for showcasing your motivation, passion, and suitability for the role. By understanding the question’s true meaning, considering the interviewer’s perspective, and crafting a compelling and authentic answer, you’ll be well on your way to acing this crucial question and securing your dream consulting job.

Recommended For You

Want to learn how to ace your behavioral interview? Found this article useful? We recommend the following to help you level up and get that offer:

Additional Articles