Common consultant interview questions typically focus on drawing out the candidate's strengths and weaknesses. Within that interview framework, questions about why the applicant thinks he or she is the right person for the job and what each candidate sees as being the most important consultant skills are often asked during interviews. More direct consultant interview questions often involve applicants being asked straight out what their strengths and weaknesses are.
Employers or clients who hire freelance consultants for projects are usually interested in how candidates answer these questions, not only to find out possible strengths and weaknesses, but to see the communication style, confidence and honesty applicants exhibit by their answers. For example, if a consultant replies that he or she doesn't really have any weaknesses, that answer is likely to be seen as overconfident and not totally honest. On the other hand, if an applicant answers consultant interview questions about weaknesses with a long list of them, this may be viewed as honest, yet lacking in confidence that could affect job performance.
Many employers ask candidates directly to mention their weaknesses to test the applicant's poise during a difficult conversation. While a slight hesitation can be seen as positive in that the applicant is carefully giving the question some thought, stammering or appearing obviously uncomfortable is likely to affect the interviewer negatively as he or she may wonder whether the candidate could act this way with customers or staff. When an applicant answers the question by trying to turn a strength into a weakness, such as by saying that he or she works too much, it may not particularly impress the interviewer. Instead, many of those asking consultant interview questions are likely to want to hear about a genuine weakness and how the candidate is striving to resolve it, such as by using organizer containers to tame a messy desk.
Employers and clients trying to hire consultants commonly ask questions regarding strengths to see how well applicants can sell their skills. Bragging replies are viewed unfavorably, while the best answers to strength-related consultant interview questions are those that mention a strength, then back it up with results or behavior from past work experience. For example, a candidate for a consulting project or position may answer "building client relationships" and have a list of past customers' recommendations and references handy to show the interviewer to back up the statement.