Mastering Consulting Interviews: Asking the Right Questions for Success (2023)

In the competitive landscape of consulting interviews, your ability to ask insightful and strategic questions can be the differentiator between securing the job of your dreams and facing rejection. At the culmination of your interview with prestigious firms like McKinsey, BCG, or Bain & Company, the opportunity arises for you to pose questions that not only showcase your genuine interest in the company but also demonstrate your potential as a top-tier consultant.

When to Ask Questions in a Consulting Interview

The crucial moment to ask questions typically arrives at the interview's conclusion, providing you with approximately 5 minutes to leave a lasting impression. However, the importance of these questions cannot be overstated; they serve as a final test of your ability to engage, connect, and showcase your enthusiasm for the consulting role.

The Terrible Truth

Your performance in the fit or case interview, while essential, is not the sole determinant of your success. Asking the right questions is equally critical. Even if you've excelled in the earlier stages, a misstep in your concluding questions can sway the decision against you. The gravity of this phase underscores the necessity of preparing thought-provoking questions that align with the company's values and your aspirations.

Three Reasons to Ask Questions in an Interview

Reason #1: Strengthen Your Connection with Your Interviewer

Consultants spend extensive time working closely with colleagues. Your interviewers want assurance that you are not only a skilled professional but also someone they can collaborate with seamlessly. Craft questions that reveal your personality and align with the company culture to forge a connection that extends beyond the interview room.

Reason #2: Fine-Tune Your Answers for Future Interviews

The 'Why firm X' question holds substantial weight, especially in the final round of interviews. Distinguish yourself by posing questions that enable you to refine your understanding of the company's unique attributes. This strategic approach ensures that your responses to this pivotal question resonate with authenticity and conviction.

Reason #3: Demonstrate Your Motivation for the Job

Beyond assessing your technical capabilities, interviewers seek answers to two fundamental questions: Can you do the job, and are you a good fit? Your questions become a window into your motivation and determination to excel as a consultant. Tailor your inquiries to express not only your competence but also your passion for the role.

Make Them Like You: Interviewer-Related Questions

Q1. Can you tell me more about this case? What was your final recommendation?

Understanding the emotional nuances of the cases presented by interviewers provides valuable insights. This question not only showcases your genuine interest but also invites a more personal connection.

Q6. I saw that you have expertise in (industry or function). What do you think of (trends in this industry or function)?

Engaging in a meaningful conversation about the interviewer's expertise demonstrates your proactive approach to research and your eagerness to learn from experienced professionals.

Fine-Tune Your Answers: Company-Related Questions

Q7. Can you describe the culture of the company?

Gaining insights into the company's culture helps you align your values with the organization's ethos, ensuring a harmonious fit.

Q10. In your opinion, what are the biggest opportunities and challenges faced by (company name) right now?

Tailoring your questions to the interviewer's position level allows you to delve into pertinent topics, demonstrating your awareness of the company's current landscape.

Show Your Drive: Job-Related Questions

Q12. How would you describe someone who excels at (company name)?

Displaying a keen interest in the qualities associated with excellence in your desired role emphasizes your commitment to becoming a top performer within the company.

Synthesis: Tailored Questions for McKinsey Interviews

Q1. Can you tell me more about this case? What was your final recommendation?

Q6. I saw that you have expertise in (industry or function). What do you think of (trends in this industry or function)?

Q10. In your opinion, what are the biggest opportunities and challenges faced by (company name) right now?

Q13. What do you think are the most important qualities for someone to excel as a (your target role, i.e. Junior Consultant)?

Four Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs

Mistake #1: Skipping this Part and Not Asking Any Questions

Always ask questions to signal your genuine interest and preparedness for the role.

Mistake #2: Asking 'Basic' Questions for Which the Answers Can Be Easily Found

Demonstrate your commitment by seeking the interviewer's perspective, even on topics available on the company's website.

Mistake #3: Looking Unprofessional by Asking About Sensitive Topics

Steer clear of questions related to salary, working hours, or the hiring process to maintain a professional demeanor.

Mistake #4: Asking Questions About Your Interview Performance

Avoid making your interviewer uncomfortable by refraining from questions that directly inquire about your performance relative to other candidates.


Mastering the art of asking the right questions in a consulting interview requires strategic thinking and a nuanced understanding of the company's dynamics. As you prepare for your next interview, leverage these carefully crafted questions to leave a lasting impression that goes beyond the confines of the interview room. Your ability to connect, inquire, and showcase your genuine interest will undoubtedly set you apart in the competitive world of consulting interviews.

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