Consulting Roles

How to hire a graduate for a role in Consultancy

Candidate profile

A dynamic individual who exhibits the qualities of a good leader, yet also works excellently as part of team, with the ability to interact with people at all levels of a team or client organisation. Candidates must be problem-solvers and analytically-minded individuals, who are able to evaluate solutions and advise clients towards particular goals.

Strong verbal and written communication skills are essential for presentations and to ensure strong partnerships with client stakeholders. Consultants must be able to deliver strategic assignments on time and provide clear business-based recommendations to clients.

Candidates must be able to quickly assess the client’s work practices and the nature of the business. They must be able to thrive on a changing clientele and work environment.

Top skills

  1. Being a good team player: consultants need to be able to work well with both internal and external teams 
  2. Strategic/analytical thinking: the ability to think critically and evaluate solutions 
  3. Good understanding of business environments
  4. Attention to detail: ensuring that mistakes are not made
  5. Innovative and resilient in different working environments: consultants are likely to be working with a range of different clients and with a range of people within client organisations

Non-office experience

  • Leadership or management roles, such as captain of a team or head of a society, demonstrate good leadership responsibilities and demonstrate that you can use strategy to improve your team’s performance.
  • Experience showing that you are able to integrate into an array of different teams, e.g. membership of lots of different societies, demonstrating adaptability in different environments.
  • Studying subjects such as business or finance that involves analysis and working with numbers can prove advantageous in consultancy.

Green flags

  • Strong attention to detail
  • Confidence and the ability to articulate themselves clearly
  • Strong presentational skills
  • Adaptability: the ability to work in a variety of different environments and with different clients  

Red flags

  • Poor communication skills
  • ‘Big picture’ thinkers rather than those with strong attention to detail

At interview

  • It is advised that interviews test candidates’ behavioural qualities by asking questions related to time management or working under pressure. You could ask candidates for examples of when they have juggled multiple roles at once or worked to meet a deadline.
  • You could ask candidates to give examples of instances when they have used strategy well to improve the performance of a team they were part of.
  • Interviews should test candidates' logical and problem-solving skills by giving them problems to resolve or a brain teaser. You should be looking for a clear thought process and a clear explanation of how the solution was reached.

Employee’s expectations

Employees can expect the size of their salary to depend on the size of the consultancy firm. Graduate usually starts as a Junior Consultant with a salary of around £25,000, which is likely to increase quickly after a few years and after they pursue a speciality.

The average salary of a consultant in the UK is roughly £40,000 but with the right experience in top firms, it can rise to £50,000 or above as candidates progress to the roles of Senior Consultant and Senior Manager.

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