What are the main types of consultancy?
Consultants can be found in a wide range of industries, and the type of consultants vary too, depending on their own expertise. Usually, a consultant tends to work with high-level executives in a business, such as the senior management team.
Forms of consultancy include:
Management consultants work with the management teams of an organisation to improve its performance, offering objective advice from an external perspective. Usually, a management consultant will identify problems by gathering information, and then use this knowledge to suggest or implement solutions.
HR consultants help organisations to solve personnel-related problems and human resources needs. They offer solutions and recommendations to management teams about recruitment and hiring, as well as health and safety knowledge and legal compliance.
In a similar way to HR consultants, recruitment consultants focus on helping organisations to hire the right people. Recruitment consultants create job adverts, screen and interview applicants, and ensure that the candidate and the organisation are a suitable match.
A strategy consultant helps organisations create strategies to deliver change. This might include deep analysis of business practices and goals, plans for cutting costs and increasing revenue, or making key decisions and giving high-level advice.
Technology, hardware and software are part of the expertise of an IT consultant. They help organisations develop robust IT strategies and solutions, evaluating and advising on the existing infrastructure, and designing and implementing a technology and software solution where needed.
What skills do consultants typically need?
There are certain prerequisites that a successful consultant usually needs – these are often part of the requirements for employment that are included in the job description.
A Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field is often required, and in some cases a Masters. Often employers who are recruiting for consultant positions are looking for at least three years of experience too.
In terms of skills and aptitudes, consultants typically need:
Communication skills (to make complicated ideas simpler to understand)
Listening skills (to fully understand problems)
Theoretical and practical expertise (work and life experiences to base knowledge on)
Analytical skills (to work with data and information to understand a problem)
Creativity (improvisation; finding multiple solutions)
Agility (to adapt to industry changes)
Integrity (successful candidates are trustworthy and responsible)
Leadership (ability to motivate and inspire staff)
Project management (to handle staff, data and timelines)
Self-confidence (knowing your worth and ability, including self-awareness)
Collaboration (consultants need to be able to work closely with employees at every level)
What psychometric tests do consultancy firms use to assess these skills?
Psychometric tests are used in the application process for a wide variety of jobs across almost every business sector. These are tests designed to evaluate inherent skills like the ability to learn, how you behave in work situations, and what motivates you.
For consultancy roles, there are a few types of psychometric assessments that are more likely to be used in the recruitment process, as follows:
Situational judgement tests
A situational judgement test assesses a candidate on their decision-making and work-related behaviours, using a series of realistic scenarios based on situations that might be found in the workplace.
These are usually multiple-choice questions, and to answer a candidate has to select which course of action would be the most beneficial, given the situation.
In consultancy, making decisions and taking the most appropriate action for the scenario is always important. Situational judgement tests put a candidate in a stressful situation and then asks them to act and make a decision under pressure – much like what could happen in the workplace.
Personality tests are not so much about putting a candidate into a ‘box’, but more about assessing what type of person they are.
In a personality test, applicants often have to select from a number of descriptive words or phrases, choosing the one that is most (and sometimes least) like them. There are no right or wrong answers in a psychometric personality test, though each job role will have specific traits and behaviours sought.
Personality tests in consultancy roles can help demonstrate your leadership style, your ability to deal with pressure, how you work with other people, and what type of work you prefer.
Deductive reasoning tests
Deductive reasoning is one of several types of logical reasoning tests. In a deductive reasoning test, candidates are presented with some information and a conclusion about that information, and they need to deduce from the information given if the conclusion is true.
For consultants, the ability to think logically and make rational deductions based on limited information is crucial. Deductive reasoning assessments allow employers to test a candidate on their ability to reach the correct decision by following a logical process.
Numerical reasoning tests
Numerical reasoning isn’t about a candidate’s maths ability; the actual maths used in the questions is just simple operations, percentages and ratios. However, the test is looking at your ability to extract information from graphs and tables to make the right calculations to find the answer.
For consultants, analysis is almost as important as data-gathering: so being able to read information and data provided in a graph or a table is a skill that employers want to see. There is no point in analysing the wrong information.
Verbal reasoning tests
Communication is vital, and a verbal reasoning test assesses a candidate for their ability to quickly read and understand a passage of text in order to answer a question about it. This is not about previous knowledge; the content of the text doesn’t matter as much as the information presented.
As a consultant, you will be expected to be able to read, understand and apply information in written format, so being able to do this quickly is an important skill that employers looking for consultants will want to see.