Saturday, December 03, 2005

The "X" Factor

Great to see that Yash has taken this initiative to start a collaborative blog to help students prepare for consulting interviews.
I was thinking as to what should I write in my first post. I think the "X" factor is an interesting topic to write on. So what does "X" factor mean? Essentially in the consulting context this has two dimensions -
first is the personality of the person being interviewed.
second is how has the person carries himself in the interview.
The first one is important because recruiters often ask the question - "Can I work with this person as part of a two member team in a remote location for six months?" The answer to this question is critically important and often decides whether a firm wants to hire the person or not. Having said this you cannot become a "fun" person overnight if you are essentially an introvert or do not like too many social interactions. So this part of the "X" factor is difficult to control and work on ....
The second one is how one dresses and carries himself when he is being interviewed. This variable is completely in our control. The points given below are specific to consulting interviews and may not hold true for a "IT services company" interview....every sector has its own requirements
  1. Make sure you have the right suit on. Borrowing your quaddies jacket is definitely a no no !! A black suit stiched to your requirements is the safest bet as far as consulting interviews go ... Blazers purchased off the shelf normally are not a good idea.
  2. A white shirt is again a safe bet..a double cuff shirt with classy cuff-links really goes well with a black suit..Also as far as shirt goes it makes sense to purchase a brand new one just before the interview season. Old white shirts beaten to death by the laundry guy are not ideal
  3. A plain tie or a striped tie goes well with a black suit and a white shirt. Mickey mouse motifs on the tie are not ideal for a consulting interview !!
  4. A black shoe should be combined with a black belt. The biggest goof up is a black shoe with a brown belt or vice versa...
  5. Those who wear specs may want to get brand new ones made - the type you see the "consulting types" wearing ...rimless with anti-reflection lenses et al

What does the above mean ?? Style is no substitute for substance - none of this will get you through a consulting interview. But does it matter - the answer is a resounding yes !! The people who come down to recruit also evaluate as to whether they can put you in front of the client on day 1 - having the right appearance helps...

So while you practice the case interviews and tear the wetfeet and vault guides apart, make sure you make the trip to the Raymonds showroom and are ready when the d-day comes...

The "X" factor counts ....

- Rohit

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Guys,

I am not a current student.. infact I am aspiring to be one.

This was quite a nice blog on how to carry yourself i.e. X Factor.
I have some consulting experience and have given some interviews in my career.

Please excuse me if I am talking rubbish but I felt as if some points were missing. It is very much true that a person has to really carry himself well at an interview.. you know as they say "First Impression is the last impression". Here are my two cents:

1. Walk straight and with confidence.
2. Exchange pleasantries with the panel with a firm handshake. Don't be shy shaking hands with a female executive.
3. Maintain eye contact with the panel. Especially with the person asking a question.
When explaining something or giving a reasoning, make sure you are not looking at just one person who asked you the questions. Make sure you look at everybody maintaining eye contact.
4. Never cross your legs in front of the Interview panel. That usually indicates nervousness. Don't shake your legs.
5. Be upright while sitting and your hands should be on the arm rests of the chair or on your lap.
6. Make sure to have a smile on your face all this time.

These are just some points from personal experience.