As our clients begin scheduling consulting interviews, we encourage them to make deliberate choices in their interview time slot selection. We suggest considering three key strategies before submitting your preferences:
Timing is Everything.
Your interviewers are human too. As such, we tend to be groggy in the morning, anxious for lunch, and exhausted by late afternoon.
With this in mind, the ideal time for your consulting interviews may be mid-morning or mid-afternoon after lunch, when the interviewers are most likely to be alert, energetic, and engaged. These time frames also give your interviewer plenty of time to learn the case, which they’ve likely seen for the first time that morning, so that they aren’t learning it alongside you. From our experience, an interviewer’s ignorance of the case is not a good thing for the interviewee.
That said, always keep in mind when you are most alert, energetic, and engaged first and foremost. If you like to take a nap after lunch, perhaps the mid-morning time slot is ideal. If you’re not a morning person, perhaps the mid-afternoon time slot will work best.
Practice Makes Perfect.
If possible, line-up interviews at one, maybe two, non-target firms before your priority firm interviews. These could be consulting or non-consulting firms, as long as the interview format is similar to that of your target firms.
Scheduling these dry-runs will allow you not only to practice the case interview, but also to learn the layout of an interview location, the amount of time you should give yourself to get there and get situated, and how to optimize your pre-interview routine, such as a workout, healthy meal, or Zen session. This preparation will help you perform your best at your dream firm.
While it’s beneficial to practice interview day with one, maybe two, non-target firms prior to your “big interviews”, it is not in your best interest to cram interview week with as many interviews as possible. Try to avoid scheduling interviews with firms at which you know for certain you would never accept a job – that can be a waste of your time and the firms’.
Focusing on a handful of interviews versus a dozen will prevent you from confusing facts about different firms, forgetting the people you meet during networking events, and appearing like you are hedging your risk, or said differently, like you aren’t confident that you can land the job.