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Get the skills consulting recruiters want

The skills consulting recruiters are looking for in 2020

Are you hoping to get a graduate consulting role starting in 2020? Leading consulting employers speak about the competencies and skills they are looking for and offer tips on how to demonstrate these during an interview or in an application.
As a consultant, your credibility depends on clear communication.

Enthusiasm

The role of a consultant is largely client facing. As such, a client’s perception of and investment into the company you work for can be largely influenced by their interaction with you and by the manner in which you come across. You can demonstrate enthusiasm throughout the interview process by:

  • exhibiting a willingness to learn and an interest in the area to which you are applying
  • talking about one of your passions 
  • maintaining good body language and a positive tone  
  • asking the interviewer interesting questions  

Catriona Dickson, HR generalist, Alfa

Clear communication

As a consultant, your credibility depends on clear communication, whether you are discussing insights with your team, presenting to a client or drafting a formal report. It is not enough just to have the technical expertise to solve complex problems – it is also vital that you are able to translate your work into clear, simple insights that can quickly be understood by nonspecialists. Written and oral communication skills are tested throughout the recruitment process here, through interviews, group exercises and case studies. 

Sarah Alexander, talent acquisition, FTI Consulting

Critical thinking

NERA’s clients value our ability to apply and communicate state-of-the-art approaches clearly and convincingly, our commitment to deliver unbiased findings, and our reputation for quality and independence. We need critical and independent thinkers who can effectively analyse the data and draw conclusions based on the evidence before them, even if the results are unexpected. You can demonstrate this at interview by breaking down the information based on the data available and drawing logical conclusions based on the facts.

Emma Cairns, recruitment manager, NERA Economic Consulting

Ability to listen and persuade

Retail strategy consulting is about delivering evidence-led insights for clients. In order to demonstrate these skills at interview, candidates should show that they can listen carefully to information and opinions and critically assess their validity. Candidates also need to have the confidence to offer the team their own insights and persuade them, in a constructive way, of their logic.  Case-study interviews, particularly those that involve working as a group, offer an opportunity for candidates to display a persuasive, logical approach, taking others’ arguments and any new information into account throughout.

Alex Hodge, associate director, Javelin Group

Commercial awareness

All consulting recruiters will be looking for evidence of commercial awareness. Make sure you can demonstrate intelligent awareness about the firm to which you are applying and the business environment in which it operates. This includes an awareness of the sector, its regulators, its competitors and current issues facing the industry. When it comes to discussing work experience in an interview, it is not necessarily what you did that is likely to advance your chances of employment, but how you display awareness of the environment in which your former employer operates.

Read more about commercial awareness

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In Partnership

This content has been written or sourced by AGCAS, the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services, and edited by TARGETjobs as part of a content partnership. AGCAS provides impartial information and guidance resources for higher education student career development and graduate employment professionals.

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