Do you feel comfortable talking through your experience and taking people on the journey?
I know it can feel awkward when someone says ‘Tell me about yourself or talk me through your experience?’ However, this is more important than you think.
Your story should flow and give them a flavor of who you are and what you’ve done.
💡Start from the beginning, (DO NOT start with current experience) what you studied and how or why you got into consulting, what industries you worked across, and what types of projects.
💡Then give them an overview of each position you’ve had since then. You don’t need to go into specific examples here but you want to give the interviewer enough information to get a feel for your experience and then they can ask for specific examples themselves.
💡Tell a story, make the interviewer feel like they traveled through that with you. Most people don’t know about consulting until someone taps them on the shoulder during university or while doing their MBA so it’s ok to say that. Make it personal. Did you start in law or engineering and found it wasn’t for you and wanted something more commercial and to understand a business more?
Storytelling is so powerful, it engages emotions and creates a connection between you and the interviewer, making you more memorable and impactful.
Personally, I love hearing someone’s story and why they have made the choices they have. Obviously, there is a fine line of talking too much so make sure you share the highlights and you can delve into more detail later.
If you are a strategy consultant and would like any help with telling your story, please reach out.
Procrastination, that elusive dance with time, is a peculiar phenomenon that transcends the boundaries of age, occupation, and culture. It is the art of delaying the inevitable, a subtle rebellion against the relentless ticking of the clock. Like a sly companion, procrastination often disguises itself in the guise of momentary distractions, promising a temporary escape from the pressing tasks at hand.
At its core, procrastination is a complex interplay of psychological factors. Fear of failure, coupled with a dash of perfectionism, can lead one down the winding path of postponement. The mind, in its intricate ways, seeks refuge in the comfort of delay, nurturing the illusion that more time will somehow transform the daunting into the manageable. Yet, the paradox lies in the bitter aftertaste that accompanies procrastination.
What initially seems like a fleeting victory over responsibility becomes a self-imposed trap, ensnaring the procrastinator in a cycle of guilt and anxiety. The very act of avoidance can amplify the stress that one sought to escape, creating a vicious circle that undermines productivity and erodes self-esteem.
The allure of procrastination is not at all rooted in laziness, rather, it’s a testament to the intricate workings of the human psyche. It is a struggle against the relentless demands of modern life, a rebellion against the perceived tyranny of time. The mind, in its quest for solace, craves the brief respite that procrastination promises.
Overcoming procrastination requires a delicate balance of self-awareness and discipline. Recognising the underlying fears and anxieties that fuel procrastination is the first step towards liberation.
Setting realistic goals, breaking down tasks into manageable steps, and cultivating a mindset that embraces imperfection can help chip away at the procrastinator’s fortress.
In the end, procrastination is a universal foe, an adversary that lurks in the shadows of every endeavour. Confronting it requires not only a strategic approach, but also a willingness to understand the deeper motivations that drive this seemingly irrational behaviour.
As we navigate the intricate dance between duty and diversion, we unravel the layers of procrastination, hoping to emerge on the other side with a newfound sense of purpose and productivity.
“Great skillset, but I couldn’t confidently put them in front of the CEO”.
A bit of a generalisation here but we typically find three types of consulting candidates.
1/ Super Confident
Excellent at self-advocating for themselves. Can be overly relaxed and have done little preparation. Relies on their pedigree. Usually likable but with a dash too much ego.
Upside: Clients want someone who is able to speak to any stakeholder confidently and command the attention of those who matter.
Downside: You can be seen as having too much ego which may rub certain stakeholders up the wrong way.
You can come across as disinterested in the specific opportunity or that you are too good for the role.
Clients also worry about team dynamics.
Perceived overconfidence can also be masking insecurities.
These candidates often take constructive feedback or rejection poorly.
2/ Skilled, qualified, “great on paper”
Unassuming. Smart. Often likable but can come across as lacking “Umph” or gravitas.
Will often rely on doing a good job to be seen. A typical insecure overachiever. Can come across as nervous in interview even if well prepared.
Upside: Clients may see you as a safe pair of hands. You will make them look good with quality work that they may end up presenting. They like to have a team of high achievers with great pedigree, as it attracts other high achievers.
Downside: Clients can worry about your influencing skills; they may need you to present to senior stakeholders.
It is all well and good producing quality work, but can you get anyone to listen to you, or to take you seriously?
Clients will wonder if you’ll be enjoyable to work with & how much input will be needed to bring you up to speed.
They may be concerned if the role is a succession plan role for fear it may take too long for you to gain the confidence of key stakeholders.
3/ The humble achiever!
Good on paper, even better in person. Quietly confident, personable, builds rapport quickly, articulates achievements succinctly, holds eye contact, is calm, collected, and well prepared. Has a solid answer for why they want the role.
Upside: The client feels you will make a positive impact on all stakeholders and team members so will be able to hit the ground running.
They are excited at the prospect of working with you. Even if there may be one or two skill gaps they are more likely to feel comfortable that you can be successful in the role.
Downside: If you are not a top-tier trained candidate, and if the client has a bias, it could be a point of hesitation however our stats show this is not usually a showstopper… not anymore.
We love working with candidates that fall into category 3. So do our clients. As long as you have a skill set, you are more likely to get the role than those with a top-tier pedigree, who are perfect on paper but fall into category 1 or 2
Article by Edmun Tadros Professional Services Editor
Management Consultants will struggle to land new roles until Easter next year, but accounting, tax, audit and cyber experts continue to be sought after by major consulting firms, according to recruiters.
The mixed employment market, caused by a widespread slowdown in public and private sector demand for management consultants, has already led to big four firms Deloitte, EY, KPMG, and PwC as well as Accenture, taking various measures to reduce or defer costs.
So far, only KPMG and Deloitte have made job cuts, but is likely other firms will follow suit if the downturn continues, as expected, into next year.
While the big four are looking to hire for in-demand areas, recruiters note there are fewer pay bumps and sign -on bonuses on offer compared with the bumper COVID-19 and post pandemic period when professionals were suddenly in short supply.
The fall in demand for general advisory services was evident from the start of the year, said Brook Coxon, co-found and director of specialist recruitment business Lemon Talent.
“It normally starts again in February after summer, but it was clear it was going to be slower this year,” said Mr. Coxon, who specialises in placing strategy and operations consultants.
“The news with PwC in May and the Labor government trying to cut down on consulting hasn’t helped, either.”
Big four consulting partners were not expecting demand to pick up again this year.
“They tell me it’s not going to pick up before the end of the year; they don’t think it’ll pick up until Easter.” Mr Coxon said.
Demand for general management consultants, strategy consultants, and operations consultants had all dropped off, he said. But there was still strong demand for risk advisory consultants, thanks in part to ongoing remediation programs at the large banks, and for cybersecurity experts and those verse in financial crime topics like anti-money laundering.
His advice for anyone within the large consulting firms wanting to get out was to consider looking to smaller firms or moving into an industry role.
“You’re unlikely to land a job at one of the bigger consulting firms, but maybe look at one of the smaller firms. Or consider industry or contracting roles if you really want to get out,” he said.
Thomas Patroni practice lead at Sustain Recruit, agreed that auditors were in demand, while there had been a drop-off in demand for technology consultants.
“In my interactios with various firms, it is evident that auditors are presently experiencing a heightened demand, a trend that is particularly pronounced within the big for firms.” Mr Patroni said.
Decreased demand for technology advisers meant salaries in tha area were either steady or going down compared with the COVID-19 and post-pandemic boom across the sector.
“This predicament has led many firms to recalibrate their salary offerings downward compared to the corresponding period last year,” he said.
The shifting market had led to consultants contracting recruiters in their search for an exit plan, said Ilan Leshetz, who specialises in placing strategy and transformation consultants.
“Across the board, consulting firms are not selling as much as they were during COVID and in the good days after COVID, the first six months or so,” said Mr. Leshetz, a partner and co-founder of Oaktree Talent Group.
“The big firms – the big four and Accenture – are heavy cost-base businesses. When people are on the bench, that costs millions. We’ve definitely seen an uptick in approaches from people in the firms.”
The reason for wanting to leave varied by the level of the candidate.
“At the more senior end, it’s contemplating about whether they want to become sales partners but they like delivery. At the junior end, there are specific diving-off points where your market value and opportunities are attractive,” Mr. Leshetz said.
“For example, for a manager at Accenture, there’s an abudnance of opportunities for them to leave at the level and at a price that is attractive to them and reasonable for other employers.”
A manager at Accenture will earn at least $140,000 according to the latest publicly available figures from 2022-23 while a senior manager can expect to earn from $175,000.
But Mr. Leshetz warned that companies are typically picky about hiring from the big four and Accenture.
“There’s such a variability in capability from the big four and Accenture that it’s hard for clients to know who to pick. So they can take longer to decide,” he said.
The candidates need to have both likeability and technical competence. You need the balance.
“They got to be personable, likeable, affable, as well as [have] technical [skills], They also need [to] be regarded internally as top 10 percent in their cohort.”
CEOs of organisations across the world are grappling with a myriad of challenges and concerns that keep them awake at night.
These concerns extend beyond their specific industries and are often shaped by global economic, social, and technological trends.
Here are some key issues causing sleepless nights for many CEOs:
🔑 Cybersecurity: CEOs are increasingly worried about data breaches, ransomware attacks, and the potential damage to their company’s reputation and bottom line.
🏆 Talent and Skills Gap: Finding and retaining top talent has become more challenging than ever in a highly competitive labour market. This is imperative to drive growthing and innovation.
🥇 Customer Expectations: Meeting and exceeding ever evolving customer expectations in products, services, and experiences is a perpetual concern. How to remain customer-centric is a top priority.
⛔ Regulatory Compliance: Regulations and compliance requirements are becoming more stringent, making it essential for CEOs to ensure their organisations are adhering to legal and ethical standards to avoid hefty fines and damage to the brand’s reputation.
🍀 Environmental and Social Responsibility: The growing awareness of climate change and social issues places immense pressure on companies to act responsibly. CEOs are concerned about sustainability, corporate social responsibility and the need to align the organisation with these values.
🚛 Supply Chain Disruptions: The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted vulnerabilities in global supply chains. CEOs are worried about disruptions due to unforeseen events that can impact production and distribution.
📱 Technological Disruption: Rapid technological advancements, from generative AI and automation to blockchain and the IoT, can present opportunities as well as disrupt traditional business models.
🥊 Market Competition: The global marketplace is more competitive than ever, with new entrants and innovative startups challenging established players. Businesses must be agile enough to adapt to changing market dynamics to maintain their market share and profitability.
💰 Economic Uncertainty: Economic volatility, trade tensions, and inflationary pressures can significantly impact a company’s financial stability. CEOs want to remain financially resilient in uncertain times.
🌍 Geopolitical Risks: Political instability, trade disputes, and international conflicts can have far-reaching implications for global businesses. CEOs need to plan accordingly to safeguard their interests.
In today’s fast-paced & interconnected world, CEOs must be vigilant and proactive in addressing these and other pressing issues to steer their organisations towards long-term success. While these concerns may vary from one industry to another, the ability to adapt, innovate, and make informed decisions remains a common thread among CEOs striving to stay ahead in a challenging business environment.
As James clear points out “Your reputation is your most important asset. It precedes you before you walk into the room and lingers long after the work is done.” That’s how important is your reputation.
Your reputation is of paramount importance, both in the business world and beyond. In the realm of business, your reputation can either be your greatest asset or your most significant liability. A positive reputation can attract clients, customers, and partners, fostering trust and credibility. It can also be a magnet for talented employees and open doors to valuable opportunities.
Conversely, a tarnished reputation can erode trust, hinder growth, and lead to lost business.
Beyond the professional sphere, your reputation shapes your personal relationships and social interactions. It influences how others perceive and trust you, affecting your connections, friendships, and even your overall well-being.
In essence, your reputation is the bedrock upon which you build your success, both in business and in life. It’s a reflection of your character, ethics, and the quality of your actions, making it an asset you should diligently protect and nurture.