Of all the interview questions job applicants prepare for, the most obvious ones sometimes get the least attention and often times result in a rejection before you’re even out of the blocks, to use a rather corny sports analogy 😉
You came ready to share some development insights, your greatest strength, and a moment when you shined, but what do you do with a broad but direct question like “Why do you want to work here?
Like a similarly problematic interview question — “Tell me about yourself” — “Why do you want to work here?” requires you to focus on a specific answer without any clues, contexts, or prompting from the interviewer.
It’s a blank space, but that doesn’t mean you can wing it and fill it with just anything.
Drawing from my 17 years of experience as an executive recruiter and executive coach, as well as someone who’s sat on both sides of the interview table many times, I recommend three basic approaches:
💡 Express your personal passion for the employer’s product/service/mission
💡 Explain why you would enjoy the responsibilities of the role.
💡 Describe how you can see yourself succeeding in the role, given your skills and experience.
You can use any combination of these three approaches so long as you keep your answer concise!
Tip: Be Specific
As you develop your answer, understand that the more specific you are, the more powerfully your answer will resonate. Conversely, the vaguer you are, the more generic the response will seem.
DO YOU THINK IT IS APPROPRIATE TO PUT SENIOR GM/EGM LEVEL STRATEGY CANDIDATES THROUGH CASE STUDY INTERVIEWS?
I guess I’m not too surprised by the latest poll results asking whether the consulting community (and alumni therefrom) think or feel it appropriate to be testing senior strategy talent at the GM or even EGM level with a case study style interview.
The results are almost split down the middle
✅ 37% of you said ABSOLUTELY, no questions asked!
✅ 36% of you completely disagreed and felt leadership skills and capabilities are much more important at that level. AND…
✅ 27% felt it depended on the role complexity.
Whilst the optimal answer isn’t apparent or clear, perhaps what we can take away from this poll result is as follows:
♠ Some form of assessment of problem solving ability and strategic toolkit is definitely needed. Perhaps what that looks like and how it’s applied is up for interpretation.
Whether it’s a typical consulting style case study, a presentation to a panel of interviewers on a business problem or a mere deep dive on past experience around the application of problem solving is clearly required.
♥ Demonstrated leadership skills and capability are just as important as the strategic skills and capabilities, so make sure you aren’t over-indexing on just the problem solving and toolkit parts in your career development plans.
As one progresses, its the leadership piece thats likely to trip you up OR be the differentiator between two similar candidates strong on the toolkit.
If you haven’t invested equally in this capability as you climb the corporate or consulting ladders, you might find it more difficult to land the bigger roles down the track.
♦ Many of you felt role complexity is a key determinant of whether a case style interview is required. The perception here is that if a role is really complex, then having the mental agility, horsepower and problem solving ability would be of paramount importance.
Well, in my experience, at this level, there are multi intelligences at play that ultimately lead to role success. Most roles in Enterprise clients (global multi-nationals and ASX) at this level are inherently complex at both the job and organisational level and problem solving isn’t merely applied to the business problem itself. It can oftentimes be more human centred and about aligning and influencing senior stakeholders which is a key skill within itself.
So, I can’t help but wonder if complexity is just a given at this level!
Feel free to post your thoughts in the comments section, I’d be keen to keep the dialogue going.
This can be a tricky topic and one that we are experts at helping you navigate.
It’s really important to be open and transparent about your salary expectations from the get-go and on the flip side, we are always very open about our clients’ budget and salary for the role to ensure this is in line with your expectations before starting an interview process.
There are, of course, times when you might want to try and negotiate the salary you have been offered.
And when is the right time to do that?
When you are given a verbal offer and prior to accepting the verbal offer, if you would like to try and negotiate, now is the time.
✅ DO be fully transparent about your salary expectations
✅ DO understand that clients have budgets and salary ranges approved for roles
✅ DO appreciate that some budgets have no room to increase and this isn’t a reflection on a clients desire to hire you
✅ DO know that for every client that increases a salary, there are as many that won’t and will keep to their original offer
✅ DO know that we are specialists at negotiating salaries and we have the latest up to date market information on what salary levels are being achieved in the market
❌ DON’T verbally accept and then try and negotiate a higher salary
❌ DON’T sign a contract and then try and negotiate a higher salary
❌ DON’T miss out on an incredible career opportunity over $$
Negotiating isn’t in everyone’s comfort zone and we are here to help support you on your journey to finding your next career opportunity.
If you are a Management Consultant or ex Management Consultant and would like to find out more about strategy opportunities we are currently recruiting, please see our website for our live roles (linked in the comments).
We know this seems like an obvious point however you’ll be surprised at how many of us think we’re bringing sufficient energy only to find the interviewer hasn’t felt the same way. This is because we all have our own subjective version of how we apply it.
So how do we know if we’ve brought sufficient energy to the interview? The answer is very simple, feedback! If you are consistently receiving this feedback, you may have a blind spot or a perception problem to work on. Either way, if you want to progress your career, it’s worth investing in through coaching services or working on making a better impression during such moments.
In a job interview:
✅ A vibrant and engaged demeanour fosters a sense of camaraderie with interviewers. ✅ A genuine and positive energy can transform a standard interview into a memorable one that sets you apart from other candidates. ✅ Demonstrating positive energy and enthusiasm showcases your interest in the role and company. ✅ By bringing an energetic attitude, you project confidence in your abilities and an ability to thrive in a fast-paced work environment.
Employers are seeking candidates who can bring an enthusiastic and dynamic presence to their teams and stakeholders, as it often translates to increased productivity and better workplace morale.
Morning fellow achievers! I’ve been thinking recently about what routines or rituals underly top performers. Let’s delve into it and discover what it takes to bring out the best version of ourselves. Whether you’re an athlete, entrepreneur, student, or simply someone striving for personal excellence, establishing a high performance routine can unlock your true potential.
So, what exactly is a high performance routine? It’s a set of intentional habits and practices designed to optimise your physical, mental, and emotional well-being, enabling you to consistently perform at your peak. While everyone’s routine may differ, here are a few ideas that can contribute to high performance:
✔ Mindful Morning Rituals: Kickstart your day with purposeful activities like meditation, journaling, or affirmations. These practices help cultivate a focused and positive mindset, setting the tone for the day ahead.
✔ Physical Fitness and Movement: Engaging in regular exercise not only enhances your physical health but also boosts mental clarity and reduces stress. Whether it’s hitting the gym, practicing yoga, or going for a run, finding a physical activity that suits you is crucial for sustained high performance.
✔ Prioritised Planning: Successful individuals understand the importance of setting clear goals and prioritising tasks. By organising your day, week, or even month ahead, you create a roadmap for success and minimise distractions.
✔ Continuous Learning: High performers have an insatiable thirst for knowledge and growth. Dedicate your time to learning through reading books, attending workshops, listening to podcasts, or seeking mentors. By constantly expanding your knowledge and skills, you stay ahead of the curve.
✔ Time for Reflection and Relaxation: Building in moments of reflection and relaxation is vital for rejuvenation and maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Whether it’s spending time in nature, practicing mindfulness, or pursuing hobbies, high performers understand the value of taking breaks and recharging.
✔ Surrounding Yourself with a Supportive Network: Recognise the power of your environment and surround yourself with like-minded individuals who inspire and motivate you. Seek out mentors, join mastermind groups, or engage in networking activities to create a strong support system.
Creating a high performance routine is a personal journey. It’s essential to experiment with different strategies and find what works best for you. Embrace the process of trial and error, and don’t be afraid to adjust your routine as you grow and evolve. Ultimately, a high performance routine is not just about reaching goals but also about leading a fulfilling and balanced life. It’s about consistently showing up as your best self and making progress in all areas.
Below is a snapshot of one of my intentional habits for daily high performance. Shout out to the Peleton community! You save my life daily 🤣
I received two questions from candidates last week that essentially led to the same set of answers.
‘I’ve never worked with a recruiter before, what do you do?’
‘I’ve also seen that role advertised by the company online, should I apply via you or apply directly?’
I could go on and on about the value I believe we represent to candidates in their recruitment journey, but here are a few questions to ask yourself, that I think will lead to insights into how we can really help you.
Firstly, how comfortable are you chasing up your application directly? Do you even know who to reach out to? Do you feel comfortable chasing up your potential new employer multiple times to get feedback on your application OR would you feel more comfortable having you’re recruiter do this on your behalf?
How much do you know about the team and role you are applying for? The hiring manager? Who they report to? What does the rest of the team look like? We work with both new and existing clients all of the time and it’s our job to know all of those answers for you and share as many insights as possible about the role you are applying for.
You’re in multiple interview processes and they are all at different stages? Are you equipped to manage the timing of outcomes? Do you want to receive a job offer two weeks before you’ve even gone through the process for the role you really want? We can help to manage this for you.
How comfortable are you negotiating your own salary? If you ask for more and the answer is no, how happy are you to push back? The likelihood is that you don’t want to piss your potential new employer off, so it can feel easier to back off.
Salary negotiation isn’t always necessary and sometimes the answer is yes and sometimes the answer is no, but would you rather someone else who is experienced at salary negotiation do this on your behalf?
Hopefully that provides some food for thought in terms of where and how we can add value to your job search. We will manage the entire end to end process on your behalf from sharing career opportunities with you, support through interview preparation to job offers and everything else in between.
Not to mention the opportunities that we work on that are exclusive to Oaktree.
If you are a Management Consultant looking for your first move to an in house role or an ex Consultant looking for their next step and would like to work with us, please get in touch with me or Asha Walsh at Oaktree Talent.