By Kenton Kivestu, ex-Google, ex-BCG, Founder at RocketBlocks
Published: April 27, 2017 | Last updated: May 29, 2019
Ok, you made it. We're at the very final step now. This is, by far, the most subjective question the interviewer will ask him/herself. Consultants often refer to it as the airport test and it's a simple question they ask themselves: if I was stuck in an airport with this person for three hours, would I be excited about that? It's a nice way of asking a very simple question: "Do I want to be around you?"
For an airport test deep dive, check out this RocketBlocks mini lesson with our Founder on why the airport test is so commonly applied.
Consulting interviews are likely the most meritocratic (and stressful!) interviews out there. But in all interviews, there is some element of a simple, personal question that the interviewer will ask themselves: do I want to be around you?
The airport test is an appropriate final question for the interviewer to consider because in consulting there is actually a good chance they could spend up to three hours in the airport with you! There is no simple, hard and fast way to make sure you nail this question. Like all things in life, there will be some amount of randomness (e.g., you and your interviewer were both swimmers and connect over that).
The best advice we can provide is to make sure you are the best version of your authentic self in the interviews. Focus on your unique abilities and what you can bring to table rather trying to play up traits or elements that you think the firm will want to hear.
Finally, one last way to think about this is, give the interviewer a reason to really like you. If you're a naturally friendly and gregarious person, this hook could just be your sunny disposition. If you're more introverted, find other ways to let your unique talents and interests shine. Highlight your unique interests and hobbies on your resume - you'd be surprised at how often people will ask about those.
Finally, when it's your turn to ask questions, don't forget to ask the interviewer some probing questions as well. For example, you could say, "I know consulting can be a stressful job, what do you do in your spare time to decompress and relax?" You'd be surprised how frequently some common ground that you're both excited about will come up.
This last question is something candidates overlook all the time. This might happen because candidates think it's insane that they'd ever have to convince a company like McKinsey or BCG or Deloitte that they really want to work there - shouldn't it be obvious!
Even if it is, or at least you think it is, don't forget that the interviewer will certainly ask themselves this question. Does this person actually want to work here? Of all the questions in the consulting recruiting process, this one might be the toughest to answer. It gets to the heart of the issue: why do you want to be a consultant and why do you care about this particular company? Our Founder shares his tips for this question here:
Finally, remember that everyone likes to hear honest appreciation. If you think Bain / Accenture / McKinsey / whomever, would be the greatest firm to work at for you, make sure you let them know that! Again, don't fake it. It will show through and backfire, but if you are truly excited about the firm and opportunity do not hide that. Without fail, your interviewer will be pleased to hear it.
After reading through this Guide, you should feel ready to move from learning about the context to actively preparing for your interviews. In this next stage, you'll start doing mock interviews, skill building and getting ready to hit the ground running on interview day. Think about everything you now know that will enable you to begin your interview preparations with confidence:
To aid you in your preparation, RocketBlocks has built a platform which specifically allows you to drill yourself on all the key skill sets you'll find in your case interviews. Good luck!
Real interview drills. Sample answers from ex-McKinsey, BCG and Bain consultants. Plus technique overviews and premium 1-on-1 Expert coaching.