Are Hiring Methods for Management Consulting Jobs Changing?

How to successfully recruit for management consulting jobs

To what extent have hiring processes for management consulting jobs changed?

There have recently been several announcements of change in methods of recruiting talent, particularly at graduate level. However, when one looks closely into the ideas and actions currently being floated, is it really so different to the tried and tested “traditional” approaches adopted over the last 40 years or so?

David McClelland of Harvard University was in the vanguard of substituting measures of intelligence [IQ] with a competency based framework for predicting individuals’ future potential.

EY’s self-described ‘transformation’ of their newly revealed selection process seems, as far as I can judge, an attempt to level the playing field not so much by demoting the importance of academic achievement, but promoting alongside an adapted competency-based framework in identifying ‘strengths’. There are clearly parallels between EY’s approach and McClelland’s thinking but there is nevertheless little new in the mix.

Tomas Chammor-Premuzic, Professor of Business Psychology at University College London published an article in the Harvard Business Review in June this year posing two questions:

Firstly, what should be should be assessed ?

  • The ability to learn and solve problems;
  • A willingness to work hard;
  • Emotional Intelligence – identifying those employees most rewarding to deal with; the most likeable in their interactions with others.

Secondly, how is the assessment made?

This is perhaps where proposed recruitment methods for do indeed differ:

  • Behavioural analytics – monitoring & measuring day-to-day activity. This is most effectively used for internal recruitment or benchmarking the ‘ideal’ candidate.
  • Web scraping – applying algorithms to estimate job potential or fit. A candidate’s digital footprint is studied to try to assess their IQ and personality.
  • Gamification – creating IQ and personality tests that are fun to complete. Deloitte and IKEA are two companies who have already used this assessment method to evaluate potential candidates.

On the face of it, these initiatives are at the cutting edge of current day habits and practice; it is intriguing to consider how hiring processes will evolve. Chammor-Premuzic admits that it is too soon to know if these ideas will catch on; until a greater body of monitoring outcomes, feasibility studies and even ethical considerations is collated, employers may be sceptical. He concludes that whilst further research and development continues, it is most likely that traditional methods of competency based assessments will continue to be applied and trusted.

Closing reflections:

In any event, there are no excuses for being unaware of these new developments. In particular, the management consulting community tends to favour early adoption of innovation more readily than most. Whether you are a management consultancy hiring manager or a potential candidate looking at management consulting jobs, it might be highly beneficial to exploring how you might adapt your approach in readiness for the emergent transformations ahead.

Take note and watch the space closely…when the evidence lends credibility to such innovative ideas, momentum to change in hiring processes for management consulting jobs are likely to accelerate quickly.