3 Ways to Turn Off Top Consultants During an Interview

intervewThe interview process is an important part of hiring a consultant. If the interview is successful, the interview is able to accurately evaluate the applicant’s skills, abilities and prior consulting experiences. Unfortunately, if the interviewer is not fully prepared to conduct the interview, it is possible to make some simple–yet costly–mistakes. Here are three ways some interviewers inadvertently turn off top consultants during an interview.


Mistake #1

Invasion of Privacy

It is essential that all people involved in the interview understand the legal limits before asking any questions. For example, not only are the following questions illegal, they don’t help find the right person for the job:

  • How old are you?
  • What is your marital status?
  • Do you have children?
  • Do you own your own home?
  • What is your financial situation?

The best way to avoid potential lawsuits is by making sure everyone understands the questions to be avoided at all costs.

Mistake #2

Failure to Prepare Pertinent Questions

Most consultant interviews are case interviews. Candidates show how they “think on their toes” by explaining how they would solve business or logic problems. There are no right answers to these questions. Instead, the purpose of case interview questions is to see how candidates analyze problems. The mistake some interviewers make is straying away from case questions to ask questions that don’t have a clear purpose. Some examples of questions that are not helpful include:

  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • What is your greatest weakness?
  • Why are you interested in our company?
  • Where do you want to be in five years?
  • Are you a team player?

These questions result in canned, rehearsed responses that provide no insight to past success, performance ability, and typical behavior.

Mistake #3

Not Listening

The interviewer should be focused on obtaining as much meaningful information about the client as possible. If the interviewer talks to much instead of listening to the candidate’s responses, the entire process feels like a waste of time. Sufficient time should be allowed for candidates to respond to each question, and that time should be used to make observations. Some ways for interviewers to make it clear they are paying attention are:

  • Making eye conduct
  • Active listening
  • Asking follow-up questions

When a consultant interview is conducted correctly, the interviewer has all the information necessary to make a decision. By avoiding these three pitfalls, it is possible to determine which consultant is the perfect fit for the project.

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