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Interview(s) at Bearinpoint UK

#1 Interview(s) at Bearinpoint UK
24/02/2012 13:43


Hello Everyone,

I recently interviewed at BearingPoint for a trainee Management Consultant position and I wanted to solicit your feedback as to whether I should pursue a formal complaint with this firm.

I have recently finished a postgrad degree in business management and I was selected for their graduate intake. Initially I had a telephone interview with a MC / line manager and it went really well. He seemed to like me.

Went for 1st stage interview and the 1st interviewer was another MC /line manager and was pleasant enough and again seemed to really like me. Finally, I met a senior HR individual......

The HR individual essentially started ripping into me. In effect, this person literrally insulted all my accomplisments, skills etc...some of it bordering on slander and defamation. I was dumbstruck by this and chose not to respond at the interview.

Trust me, I am not naive and I do understand stress interviews but some of the comments made by this person were downright nasty and discriminatory.

In due course I got the rejection letter. However, the tone and wording of the letter clearly showed that the HR individual had the final say as to whether to proceed with my application. No mention whatsoever of the feedback from the others.

Is it worth pursuing complaints against this firm?



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#2 RE: Interview(s) at Bearinpoint UK
24/02/2012 14:45

Mr Cool to ryanbingham (#1)

No. To whom would you complain, on what basis and for what purpose?

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#3 RE: Interview(s) at Bearinpoint UK
24/02/2012 19:26

ryanbingham to Mr Cool (#2)

Complain about the HR Individual to senior management or take the firm to a tribunal.

Do the readers here feel it is quite acceptable to be insulted, slandered and discriminated against when applying for a MC job in the UK?

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#4 RE: Interview(s) at Bearinpoint UK
25/02/2012 18:32

Mr Cool to ryanbingham (#3)

If you mean genuinely discriminatory - race, religion, age or gender were referred to as a reason not to hire you, then yes.

Is that what you mean?

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#5 RE: Interview(s) at Bearinpoint UK
25/02/2012 22:11

ryanbingham to Mr Cool (#4)

Yes. There was discrimination with regards to age by the individual (verbally during the interview). He gave a different excuse in the letter.

Broadly speaking, is BearingPoint in the UK unusually nasty?

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#6 RE: Interview(s) at Bearinpoint UK
27/02/2012 11:55

ryanbingham to Mr Cool (#4)

Mr Cool,

Have you ever interviewed for and successfully secured a MC job? (Just Curious...)

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#7 RE: Interview(s) at Bearinpoint UK
27/02/2012 12:44

marsday to ryanbingham (#6)


Mr Cool is easily one of the most respected contributors on this forum and a very experienced MC in is his own right.

I for one would not question his credentials in this matter.

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#8 RE: Interview(s) at Bearinpoint UK
27/02/2012 13:33

ryanbingham to marsday (#7)

Mr Cool (&marsaday),

No offence meant. I'm not discounting your advice and I do appreciate it.

I am new to the UK , however the behaviour of BearingPoint was shocking and I was a little surprised by your response. That is all.

In my home country the behaviour of this HR person would have been grounds for legal action.

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#9 RE: Interview(s) at Bearinpoint UK
27/02/2012 14:21

marsday to ryanbingham (#8)

ryanbingham the behaviour of the HR in question is certainly not a good reflection on BearingPoint. If any comments were only verbally made then you have little legal challenge unfortunately. We have to take you at your word that the treatment metted out in the interview went beyond what would be expected for a stress interview. Pressure is one thing, just being insulting is quite another.

That said this is unacceptable behaviour by an individual who should have been representing the firm in the best light possible - the fact that this was HR makes this even more important. It would be good to see someone senior from BearingPoint UK come on here to address the complaint and restore some confidence and morale in their grad applicants.

An embarrassing show from a good firm.

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#10 RE: Interview(s) at Bearinpoint UK
27/02/2012 14:57

Mr Cool to ryanbingham (#6)

Yes, I have secured one or two MC positions over the last twenty years, and I’ve even had a few bad interviews.

On one occasion I was interviewed at a very well known, but widely-ridiculed (on this forum at least) consultancy. I reported as part of the interview that I achieved 125% of a £4M sales target last year which made up 50% of the entire revenue of the niche consultancy at which I then worked. The interviewer told the headhunter that she would not be putting me forward into the next round as I was clearly struggling at my present company where I had only been 50% of target.

As I then went on to secure a head of practice position elsewhere then it was a lucky escape for me, but it was very annoying at the time. The headhunter was furious, but at the risk of spoiling things for his relationship with PA, there was little he felt he could do.

However, you are suggesting something different. Discrimination is an appalling stain on society and should be stamped out. So if you REALLY were discriminated against then you should submit a formal letter of complaint and if need be take the issue to the relevant employment tribunal.

I have to say, despite being very open accusing this firm by name on a public forum you are being very coy with the DETAILS and in the case of differentiating true discrimination from garden-variety rudeness (nothing illegal in that) it is the details that count.

Naming the firm so openly, but avoiding details does risk suggesting you are more interested in embarrassing them than in getting true advice?

Do read this carefully…..

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#11 RE: Interview(s) at Bearinpoint UK
27/02/2012 16:58

ryanbingham to Mr Cool (#10)

Marsaday & Mr Cool,

You certainly have given me a lot to think over.

I am not trying to embarrass anyone but trying to get a handle on this matter.

For the record, yes, part of the interview was verbal abuse (coming from prejudice) and I guess I will have to suck it up.

The details are that the actual MCs/ line managers were asking me mainly competency based questions on business management e.g. organisational behaviour theory, managing projects etc. I assume they gauged my skills and personality from my responses, questions and interest in the firm.

The HR person was different.

Because I completed the postgrad degree later in life (I am just over 30) this person felt I was at a massive handicap compared to the others entering the program. This person LITERALLY told me that I'm a failure in life and I'm wasting my time trying to enter the MC industry because I'm too old and at my age, most people are looking to make partner at a MC firm not start at the bottom!

This person ridiculed one of my previous business accomplishments of generating just shy of $1M in sales at a software company, saying it is peanuts compared to the level of revenue BearingPoint generates yearly. This person literally said that I would NEVER be able to perform / make enough money for the company to justify them keeping me.

More nasty remarks and tone about other successes on my CV mixed into the stress interview.

As you suggest, in the end I may have no legal recourse, I really don't know.... but right now it sure as hell hurts.

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#12 RE: Interview(s) at Bearinpoint UK
27/02/2012 17:35

marsday to ryanbingham (#11)

ok I assumed from your OP that you must be a grad entrant. But now you mention that you are over 30, applying for a 'trainee' job (which I had read as being an Analyst level role), and that they told you that you couldnt make enough revenue for them to justify keeping you. Which leads me to wonder what role were you actually interviewing for? A 'trainee' is not expected to generate revenue.

And athough they could have sugar coated the bitter pill better, it is quite corret that your peers in MC would be looking to make Director (at least) by mid Thirties. Surely you must have been aware that MC is a performance based industry?

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#13 RE: Interview(s) at Bearinpoint UK
27/02/2012 18:09

ryanbingham to marsday (#12)

Yes, I explained my situation to them pre-application. I had to apply for the graduate 'trainee' role because that was the ONLY entry route they had for newcomers to the business and the company encouraged me to apply for it.

I'm well aware that MC is a performance based industry but as I've never done MC before, I can't exactly get hired as an experienced consultant straight off the bat.

They knew this from my application, yet still invited me to meet for interview and abuse.

The 'revenue' comment came at the end of the discussion about my experience at the software company. HR person was alluding to what my long term future would be with BearingPoint.

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#14 RE: Interview(s) at Bearinpoint UK
27/02/2012 21:08

Mr Cool to ryanbingham (#13)


You would think that people as bright as management consultants claim to be would have worked out by now that there is little point in inviting people to interview when its patently obvious that they will fail at the last hurdle on what should have been identified at CV stage. i.e you are not a “fresh” grad and that’s what they want in this instance. However there’s nobody dumber than an MC with “a process to follow”.

Think long and hard if you regard this as age discrimination. Frankly you may have a case – the HR manager compared you directly to younger people and used that as a reason for not hiring you. On the other hand it is not discriminatory to suggest that you have been slow to get to the starting gate compared to people of a similar age. In that respect it is not your age that is the issue but your level of directly comparable and relevant experience.

It does sound like a pi$$ed off HR Manager having a bad day put their mouth into gear and blamed you for passing two interviews that their own colleagues should probably have used to conclude that you should not be on the grad recruitment track. The comments on generating $1m of new business seem particularly pathetic coming from someone in HR – the department form whom the term “draining, non-productive overhead” seems to have been invented.

You might want to write a polite letter directly to the individual accepting the final decision, but pointing out the disappointing waste of everyone’s time. Improve them for the future and maintain your dignity. If revenge is sweeter than dignity, copy in the MD and stir up some $hit. If you have lots of energy to commit to a cause without any documentary evidence, then contact an industrial tribunal.

On a more positive note, learn from the experience. Many MC firms are extremely inflexible in their hiring with very prescribed points of hiring. They take fresh grads, experienced MC’s at 2-5 years in, then either industry experts or MC Managers, then SM’s, then Directors etc. MBA grads slot in somewhere to those categories depending on whether they have pre-MBA MC experience or not. Applying to these rigid firms is a waste of time; you need to identify those with a more fluid approach and stick to them. What ever you do, don't be as dumb as the people you are understandably criticising and continue to follow inapproriate processes while hoping for a miracle.

Finally, perhaps the lesson is that MC is not for you. There are many things I wish I’d been. I have to accept that for some of them I’ve left it too late (or that going back to them would incur a very, very heavy price). It hasn’t stopped me being happy, free, fulfilled and extremely well paid.

Tough love buddy, but Elvis didn't sue the guy who didn't sign him and we all know who ended up looking the fool.

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#15 RE: Interview(s) at Bearinpoint UK
10/03/2012 08:38

Camster to ryanbingham (#1)

"Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me".

I suggest you take the above to heart and learn to turn instances such as your Bearing experience into opportunities.

You will encounter prejudice everywhere - in India, in Germany and most definitely, in the UK. Being called an "effin bloody foreigner" whilst on an engagement, almost run down by a car in Slough after an O2 meeting (I parked at Tesco and was crossing the road), where the Caucasian driver (after missing me) stopped and shouted obscenities at me..... are but some examples of what I've experienced.

Abysmal interviews are nothing new. Think of them as a positive indication that the company is not good enough for you. Like Mr. Cool, I went in to meet that very same consultancy. Felt a funny vibe, looked them up on the Internet and came across many less-than-positive reviews, upon which I retracted.

Laugh it off. What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger. Turn it into humour - than puts people in an awkward position, disarms then, might even get them on your side.

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