It’s all very well working for Rolls Royce, but if your job is polishing the dashboards with your tongue, then you might be better elsewhere.
Mr Cool - I think this is my favourite line ever posted to the TC forum!! And great insights again as always. Thanks for your legendary contributions!
As regards the OP's question "if you were out there interviewing for a new job right now, what are the things you'd want to be sure of establishing during interviews?", I would highlight the following:
- I'd want to probe what utilisation has been like in the practice you'd be joining and what's the longest someone's been on the bench (ie. not on a project) in the last year. Drill down until you get absolute hard numbers on this. Being a newbie in a consulting firm and unassigned to a project for any length of time can be an unnerving experience. It can also prevent you getting off to the flying start in your new career that you'd hoped for. This links somewhat to Mr Cool's point above. A firm may be great, but what's crucial is what the specific office / practice you'll be joining is like and how that is doing rather than the entity as a whole.
- Linked somewhat to the above, how much does the promotion track flex according to the talent of the consultants employed? Is the firm bound to strict promotion norms (which may leave you feeling unappreciated / constrained), or can your interviewers point to examples of people who've joined at your level in recent years who've gone on to progress way ahead of the curve?
- It takes guts to ask this, but "what are the reasons why consultants have recently chosen to leave the practice / firm?". The answers to this will be highly revealing and will differ considerably between firms. So long as you come up with a diplomatic way of asking this question, it should come across well and naturally lead to you gaining insights about the organisation that you wouldn't otherwise have gained.
- Last but not least, do you like all the people you've come into contact with (and have you made sure you've had enough time in their company to judge this)? When you're in the midst of a stressful project it's a great relief to be able to go for a beer with colleagues you consider to be your friends at the end of a long day; or to have the tension in the team room broken by jokes, banter and people showing a genuine interest in your personal life. I would consequently avoid like the plague any consulting firm where I just didn't feel I connected at all with the people I'd met, to me that's just a path to a miserable existence and a swift exit.
Hope this helps!