What to Wear and Bring to Your Interview with a Top Consulting Firm

Your resume has passed the test and as an interviewee, you’re already in the top 10% of applicants. This is not the time to arrive looking a bit odd or unprepared.

The consulting interview is in fact a role play where the candidate is playing the role of the consultant and the interviewer the role of the client. Although it might not feel like a dress rehearsal at the time, this does mean it’s important you fit in and look like a consultant!

To make sure you avoid potential hiccups, follow these tips.

Dress for the occasion

It goes without saying that dressing for the occasion means in the style of business formal.

For women, this means skirt suits or pantsuits with formal business blouses or tops and closed-toe leather shoes. You should keep accessories subtle and avoid things like overly flashy jewellery or too much perfume.

For men, that means wearing a suit, tie, shirt and smart leather shoes. Avoid things like overly flashy watches or wearing too much cologne. Again, make sure that you keep accessories subtle.

The aim here is to be comfortable and not stand out for the wrong reasons.

It’s worth getting familiar with how consultants typically dress within the firm you’re applying to in that particular country, as styles can vary. If you blend right in with the consultants already working at the firm, then you’ve got your wardrobe right.

Bring the right materials

A pen, paper and copies of your resume are all good things to have on hand.

For the paper, we recommend a squared A4 or Letter-size paper pad.

A pad will allow you to tear off the first page and to keep it by your side as a tracker throughout the case, while keeping the rest of your notes together. If you use loose sheets of paper, you will be drawn into a sea of paper by the end of the interview.

Consider taking squared paper. This will allow you to keep your writing tidy and organized, and it can be useful if you need to draw a chart during the case interview.

Make sure to review the lecture in the Interview Prep Course on how to create and use a tracker page in a case interview and how to keep your workings tidy in a math question.

Some candidates also find it helpful to bring multi-coloured pens to organize their notes and highlight certain items during the case interview. However, we recommend avoiding fancy fountain pens—these tend to leak at precisely the wrong time!  

Firms may well have all of this prepared for you, but you can’t guarantee that. It always gives a good impression if you show you’ve come prepared.

Arrive 15 minutes early

Make sure you know where you’re going and leave extra time in case transport is not on your side on the day. You don’t want the extra stress of feeling rushed or late on the day, so allow space for travel hiccups.

We also recommend arriving early to allow time for you to consult the short bios of your interviewers the recruiters will usually give you when you arrive. You should use the bios to prepare questions for the end of the interview by identifying common points of interest that you can use to build rapport.

Finally, although consultants are notorious for being late—you’re not a consultant yet, so make sure to keep to time!

To make sure you’re set up for success in your consulting interviews, check out our Interview Prep Course and learn the tools you need to stand out for all the right reasons on the day.

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