There’s no doubt that the fit interview is important; it represents half of the assessment. But for some reason, most candidates neglect this part in their preparation.
Your performance in the fit interview will make the difference between you and other candidates who perform equally well in the case interview. So, you need to prepare for it!
In this article, we share an overview of what the interviewer is looking for, some tips on how to prepare, and example questions so you’re not one of the ones who miss out on this opportunity to stand out.
The format of the fit interview varies depending on the firm and interviewer, but in a full fit interview you can expect to be asked questions on two key areas:
- Your journey so far and your motivation to move into consulting at the specific firm
- Your achievements
The first part, your journey, is your opportunity to build rapport with your interviewer and impress them. Here, you can reveal more about yourself and demonstrate that you have a track record of top performance. You will want to communicate an inspired and unique rationale for making a move into consulting.
The second part, your achievements, is your opportunity to demonstrate that you have the personal skills to succeed as a management consultant. What you say will need to impress your interviewer and give evidence of skills that are transferable to consulting, such as teamwork, leadership, drive and adaptability.
Here is what it looks like for real:
The biggest difference in fit interviews among firms is found at McKinsey, where questions on your journey so far and motivation to move into consulting at the firm are generally not included. Instead, the fit interview focuses on one specific story from your experience that demonstrates a key attribute such as persuasion, leadership and entrepreneurial drive.
Example fit interview questions
Some interviewers will start with the classic: “Tell me about yourself”, so be prepared with a short 30-60 second introduction.
After this, the interviewer may ask a number of different questions, for example:
- Why did you decide to study [x]?
- Why did you leave company [x] / join company [y]?
- Tell me more about this experience.
- Tell me about a time when you did [x] e.g., “Tell me about a time when you were part of a team that had to overcome a difficult challenge” or “Tell me about a time when you had to convince a key stakeholder”
- Why consulting?
- Why at our firm?
Don’t be alarmed if your interviewer interrupts and probes for additional detail on specific areas, they’re simply looking for more evidence of the competency they’re testing for and aren’t trying to catch you out.
How to prepare
Each firm will detail the core competencies it looks for in candidates on its website. Using this information, identify one or two stories that map to each competency and prepare key content for them.
Prepare bullet points for each story. Be prepared to speak in detail about experiences and events you’ve been involved with across these dimensions. You don’t need to write your stories out word for word. Instead, you should just refresh your memory of them and prepare a high-level outline of the content you want to describe.
Be sure to practice telling the stories to another candidate so you can get feedback, but only once or twice. You don’t want to sound rehearsed.
You will find videos of fit interviews from successful candidates in our Interview Prep Course, so you can see exactly what it takes to succeed in this part of the assessment.
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