InterviewPrep

30 Strategic Planning Consultant Interview Questions and Answers

Common Strategic Planning Consultant interview questions, how to answer them, and example answers from a certified career coach.

interview questions for strategic planning consultants

In the world of business, strategic planning is a critical component for success. As a Strategic Planning Consultant, you are at the helm, guiding companies to establish and follow a course that leads to their desired goals. However, before you can start plotting those courses, there’s an important step on your journey: the job interview.

Nailing this interview requires more than just demonstrating your expertise in strategic planning; it also involves showcasing your problem-solving abilities, communication skills, and understanding of businesses’ unique needs. To help you prepare for this pivotal moment, we’ve put together a list of potential interview questions you might encounter, along with handy tips and sample answers to ensure you leave a lasting impression on your prospective employer.

1. Can you describe a strategic plan you’ve developed and implemented that has significantly improved a company’s performance?

As a strategic planning consultant, you’re expected to not only devise effective strategies but also implement them in a way that brings about measurable, positive change. The success of your strategies in past roles is a clear indicator of your understanding of business operations, problem-solving abilities, analytical skills, and ability to drive change. This question gives you an opportunity to demonstrate these skills and showcase your impact.

Example: “At a previous organization, we faced declining sales due to market saturation. I led the development of a strategic plan focusing on diversification and expansion into untapped markets.

We conducted extensive market research to identify potential areas for growth. This resulted in identifying two promising sectors where our products had high applicability but low penetration.

The implementation phase involved tailoring our marketing efforts towards these new sectors and training our sales team accordingly. We also adjusted our product offerings to better meet the needs of these new customers.

Within six months, we saw a significant increase in sales from these sectors, contributing to an overall turnaround in company performance.”

2. How do you approach identifying a company’s strengths and weaknesses during the planning process?

Hiring managers want to know how you go about identifying a company’s strengths and weaknesses because it’s a critical part of strategic planning. Your ability to accurately assess these factors can directly impact the effectiveness of the strategic plan you develop. It’s all about understanding the company’s position and how to leverage its strengths while addressing its weaknesses to achieve business objectives.

Example: “Identifying a company’s strengths and weaknesses involves both internal and external analysis. Internally, I assess the resources, capabilities, and competencies of the firm. This includes financial performance, operational efficiency, and human resources.

Externally, I analyze market trends, competition, customer preferences, and regulatory environment. Tools like SWOT and PESTEL are helpful in this process.

The key is to align these findings with the company’s goals during planning. Strengths can be leveraged for growth opportunities while addressing weaknesses helps mitigate potential threats.”

3. What methodologies do you use for analyzing market trends and how have they influenced your strategic plans?

As a strategic planning consultant, you’ll be expected to keep your finger on the pulse of market trends and analyze them effectively to influence business strategy. The question is designed to gauge your understanding of different market analysis methodologies and your ability to apply them in a practical business context. It’s about how well you can use the tools of your trade to bring tangible results to a business.

Example: “I utilize a combination of quantitative and qualitative methodologies to analyze market trends. This includes statistical analysis, SWOT analysis, PESTEL analysis, and Porter’s Five Forces.

Quantitative data provides objective measurements such as sales figures or customer demographics. Qualitative data gives insights into consumer behavior and preferences.

These analyses have directly influenced my strategic plans by identifying growth opportunities, potential threats, and areas for improvement. They’ve also guided decisions on product development, pricing strategies, and marketing approaches.

By understanding the competitive landscape and market dynamics, I can develop robust strategies that align with business objectives and market realities.”

4. Describe a time when you had to adjust a strategic plan due to unforeseen challenges. How did you handle it?

The art of strategic planning often comes with unexpected roadblocks. Your ability to navigate through these challenges is a testament to your problem-solving skills, adaptability, and resilience. By asking this question, interviewers are trying to gauge your flexibility and how you respond when things don’t go as planned. They are also interested in understanding your thought process and the specific strategies you used to realign your plan to meet the end goal.

Example: “During the launch of a new product line, we encountered significant supply chain disruptions due to unexpected geopolitical issues. This severely impacted our planned timeline and budget.

To handle this, I immediately convened a cross-functional team to assess potential alternatives. We identified local suppliers and adjusted our production schedules accordingly.

Despite the challenges, we managed to launch the product with minimal delays while staying within the revised budget. This experience underscored for me the importance of flexibility in strategic planning and having contingency plans ready for unforeseen circumstances.”

5. How do you incorporate financial forecasting into your strategic plans?

Financial forecasting is an integral part of strategic planning. It offers an estimate of future financial outcomes for a company. By asking this question, hiring managers are interested in understanding your ability to integrate financial considerations into the strategic plans you develop. This includes how you use forecasting to anticipate potential outcomes, allocate resources, and make informed decisions that align with the company’s financial goals.

Example: “Financial forecasting is integral to strategic planning. It helps in setting realistic goals, identifying potential risks and opportunities, and allocating resources efficiently.

Incorporating financial forecasting into strategic plans involves analyzing historical data and market trends. This enables us to make informed predictions about future performance.

We use these insights to devise strategies that align with our financial goals. For instance, if the forecast indicates a potential increase in revenue, we might consider expanding operations or investing in new projects.

Conversely, if it predicts a downturn, we would focus on cost reduction and improving operational efficiency. Thus, financial forecasting guides our strategic decision-making process, ensuring long-term sustainability and growth.”

6. In your opinion, what are the key aspects of a successful strategic plan and why?

When hiring a strategic planning consultant, employers need to ensure that you have a strong grasp of what makes strategies effective and successful. They want to understand your thought process in designing a strategic plan, your ability to prioritize key components, and how you perceive the interaction of various elements in a strategic context. Your answer will give them insight into the value you can bring to their organization and the impact you can make on their strategic planning process.

Example: “A successful strategic plan hinges on several key aspects.

Clear objectives are vital, providing a roadmap for the organization’s future direction. These goals must be measurable and achievable to ensure progress.

Understanding the competitive landscape is also crucial. This includes recognizing market trends, customer needs, and competitor strategies, which can inform tactical decisions.

Effective communication ensures everyone understands the strategy and their role in it. This fosters alignment across teams, boosting efficiency and productivity.

Lastly, regular reviews enable adjustments based on performance data or changing circumstances. This flexibility helps maintain relevance and effectiveness over time.”

7. Can you provide an example of a time when you had to persuade key stakeholders to support your strategic plan?

The essence of being a strategic planning consultant is not only creating effective plans, but also getting the buy-in from key stakeholders. This requires a high level of persuasive skills, the ability to communicate complex ideas clearly, and the capacity to handle objections. By asking this question, interviewers aim to gauge your communication and persuasion abilities, which are vital in driving the implementation of your proposed strategies.

Example: “In one of my projects, I developed a strategic plan to streamline operations and reduce costs. However, the plan required significant initial investment which was met with resistance from key stakeholders.

To persuade them, I conducted an in-depth cost-benefit analysis and presented the long-term financial gains versus the short-term expenses. I also shared case studies of successful similar implementations in other organizations.

After several discussions and addressing their concerns individually, they agreed to support the plan. The project ended up saving 20% operational costs annually.”

8. How do you measure the success of a strategic plan?

The essence of strategic planning is the ability to set measurable goals and track progress. This question is aimed at understanding your approach to setting key performance indicators (KPIs), how you monitor progress, and how you adapt plans if things aren’t going as expected. It’s about ensuring that you not only create strategies, but also follow through to see their impact on the organization’s success.

Example: “Success of a strategic plan can be measured through several key performance indicators. These include financial outcomes such as revenue growth, cost reduction and return on investment. Non-financial measures might involve customer satisfaction levels or market share gains.

However, it’s crucial to align these metrics with the objectives outlined in the plan. For instance, if the strategy aims at improving brand visibility, then tracking social media engagement or website traffic would be relevant.

Moreover, the ability to adapt to unforeseen changes while maintaining progress towards goals is also an indicator of a successful strategic plan. This flexibility ensures resilience and sustainability in achieving long-term success.”

9. Describe a time when you had to balance short-term needs with long-term strategic goals. How did you handle it?

Hiring managers ask this question because they want to gauge your ability to think strategically, multitask, and make difficult decisions. As a strategic planning consultant, you will often find yourself in situations where immediate needs conflict with long-term goals. Your ability to navigate these complexities can significantly impact the success of the organizations you will be advising.

Example: “In a former project, we faced an urgent need to increase quarterly sales while also developing a new product line for future growth. To address this, I prioritized resources and efforts towards achieving the immediate sales target without compromising on the long-term goal.

I engaged the sales team in aggressive marketing of existing products while allocating a dedicated team to work on the new product development. This approach ensured that short-term objectives were met and long-term strategic goals remained on track. It was a challenging situation but it taught me the importance of balancing immediate needs with future aspirations.”

10. What role does risk management play in your strategic planning process?

Risk is an integral part of strategic planning. It’s the potential speed bump that could derail your carefully laid plans. It’s important for hiring managers to know that you can identify, assess, and plan for the risks that might come up in any strategic plan. This shows that you are not just focused on the best-case scenario, but that you can also navigate your way through the worst-case scenario.

Example: “Risk management is integral to strategic planning as it helps identify potential obstacles that could hinder the achievement of set objectives. It allows for proactive measures, ensuring that risks are mitigated before they escalate.

In my approach, I incorporate risk assessment in every stage of the planning process. This involves identifying and analyzing potential risks, determining their impact on the overall strategy, and developing contingency plans.

By integrating risk management into strategic planning, we not only safeguard the organization’s resources but also enhance decision-making capabilities, ultimately leading to a more robust and resilient strategy.”

11. Can you share an example of a strategic plan that failed? What did you learn from it?

As a strategic planning consultant, you’ll be expected to guide companies towards their goals, but not every plan is going to be a success. The interviewer asks this question to evaluate your ability to learn from failures and setbacks. It’s not just about preventing the same mistakes, but also about your resilience, adaptability, and your ability to turn negative experiences into opportunities for growth.

Example: “A notable example of a failed strategic plan was the launch of New Coke in 1985. Despite extensive market research, the Coca-Cola Company underestimated consumers’ emotional attachment to the original formula.

The key learning from this is that data analysis must be complemented by an understanding of consumer sentiment and brand loyalty. It’s vital to balance innovation with maintaining core values that resonate with your audience. This experience has shaped my approach to strategic planning, emphasizing thorough market understanding alongside data-driven decision making.”

12. How do you ensure that a strategic plan aligns with a company’s mission, vision, and values?

This question aims to gauge your understanding of the intrinsic relationship between a company’s strategic plan and its core identity. As a strategic planner, you need to ensure that all proposed strategies will not only drive growth and profitability, but also remain true to the organization’s mission, vision, and values. This requires a keen understanding of the company’s culture, long-term objectives, and the market in which it operates.

Example: “To ensure a strategic plan aligns with a company’s mission, vision, and values, I would start by thoroughly understanding these elements. This involves studying the company’s culture, its objectives, and long-term goals.

Once this is established, I’d develop strategies that directly support these aspects. For instance, if innovation is a core value, strategies might involve investment in research and development or fostering an innovative work environment.

Regular reviews are also crucial to assess alignment. If a strategy isn’t supporting the intended goal, adjustments should be made promptly.

In essence, maintaining alignment requires deep knowledge of the company, creating supportive strategies, and constant monitoring and adjustment.”

13. How do you approach change management when implementing a new strategic plan?

Change is inevitable in any organization, especially when a new strategic plan is introduced. As a strategic planning consultant, you’ll likely be at the forefront of these changes. Employers ask this question to assess your understanding of change management principles and your ability to facilitate the transition process. They want to know if you can help employees navigate the changes without disrupting productivity or morale.

Example: “Change management is crucial when implementing a new strategic plan. My approach involves clear communication, stakeholder involvement, and continuous monitoring.

Clear communication ensures everyone understands the changes and their implications. It’s essential to articulate why change is necessary and how it aligns with our overall strategy.

Involving stakeholders early on helps garner support and addresses resistance. By understanding their concerns, we can adjust plans accordingly for smoother implementation.

Monitoring progress allows for timely adjustments. Regular feedback loops help identify potential issues and measure success against predefined metrics. This iterative process fosters adaptability and resilience in managing change.”

14. How have you used data analytics in your strategic planning process?

Data-driven decision making is a crucial aspect of strategic planning. By asking this question, hiring managers are looking for evidence of your ability to gather, interpret, and utilize data effectively. They want to know if you can use data analytics to identify trends, make predictions, and develop informed strategies that will drive business growth and improvement.

Example: “In strategic planning, data analytics is crucial for informed decision-making. I’ve used it to identify trends and patterns that could impact our strategy. For example, by analyzing market data, we identified a growing customer preference for sustainable products.

This insight led us to incorporate sustainability into our product development plan. We also analyzed internal performance data to identify areas of improvement. This helped us streamline operations and allocate resources more efficiently.

Data analytics also played a key role in risk management. By analyzing industry and economic data, we were able to anticipate potential challenges and devise contingency plans. Thus, data analytics provided the foundation for our strategic decisions.”

15. What steps do you take to ensure a strategic plan is scalable and adaptable?

Strategic plans are not set in stone—they need to be flexible enough to adjust to changing circumstances and scalable enough to grow with the business. Hiring managers want to know that you understand this and have a proactive approach to ensuring the strategic plans you develop are both scalable and adaptable. This reflects your ability to think long-term and consider various possibilities, which is an essential skill for a strategic planning consultant.

Example: “To ensure a strategic plan is scalable and adaptable, I start by setting clear, measurable goals that align with the company’s long-term vision.

I then develop flexible strategies that can be adjusted as needed to meet changing market conditions or business needs. This includes creating contingency plans for potential challenges.

An essential part of this process involves regular monitoring and evaluation of the plan’s progress. By tracking key performance indicators (KPIs), we can identify what’s working and where adjustments need to be made.

Lastly, fostering open communication within the team ensures everyone understands their role in executing the strategy and feels comfortable providing feedback on its effectiveness.”

16. How do you handle resistance or pushback when implementing a strategic plan?

Resistance or pushback is a common occurrence in the world of strategic planning and change management. When implementing a strategic plan, it’s important that you are able to navigate through the pushback and maintain the momentum of the project. This question is designed to evaluate your problem-solving abilities, your interpersonal skills, and your resilience in the face of adversity. An effective strategic planning consultant should be able to manage resistance, overcome objections, and steer the project towards its strategic goals.

Example: “When implementing a strategic plan, resistance or pushback is often inevitable. I handle it by first seeking to understand the root cause of the resistance. This could be due to fear of change, lack of understanding, or perceived loss of control.

Once I’ve identified the cause, I address it directly through clear communication and education about the benefits of the plan. If necessary, I make adjustments based on valid concerns raised.

I believe in fostering an environment that encourages open dialogue. It’s important for everyone involved to feel heard and understood. This approach not only helps mitigate resistance but also improves the overall quality of the implemented strategy.”

17. Can you describe a time when you had to make a difficult decision during the strategic planning process? What was the outcome?

This question is designed to assess your decision-making skills and your ability to navigate complex situations. Strategic planning often involves making tough choices, sometimes with incomplete information or under pressure. The outcome of these decisions can have significant impacts on the company’s direction and success. Interviewers want to hear about your thought process, how you weigh different options, and your comfort level with making big decisions. They’re also interested in how you handle the aftermath, particularly if the decision led to unexpected results.

Example: “In a previous strategic planning project, we faced the challenge of deciding between investing in new technology or improving our existing systems. Both options had their merits and potential downsides.

After thorough analysis, I recommended investing in new technology. It was a difficult decision due to the initial high costs and change management involved. However, it promised better long-term benefits including efficiency, scalability, and competitive advantage.

The outcome was positive. The transition period was challenging but the new system improved productivity by 30% and significantly reduced operational costs. This experience taught me the importance of making tough decisions for long-term success.”

18. How do you ensure that all departments or teams are aligned and committed to the strategic plan?

Alignment is key to the successful implementation of any strategic plan. If teams or departments are working in silos or are not on board with the plan, it can derail even the most well-crafted strategy. The interviewer wants to know that you have experience in and strategies for creating buy-in and ensuring everyone is moving in the same direction.

Example: “Ensuring alignment and commitment to a strategic plan involves clear communication, collaboration, and feedback. I would start by clearly communicating the strategy, its rationale, and expected outcomes to all teams.

Next, it’s essential to involve them in the planning process. This fosters ownership, understanding, and commitment.

Regular check-ins are also crucial for tracking progress, addressing concerns, and making necessary adjustments.

Lastly, acknowledging and rewarding efforts towards achieving strategic goals can boost morale and reinforce commitment.”

19. How do you incorporate feedback from various stakeholders into your strategic planning?

In strategic planning, the input from stakeholders is often a goldmine of insight that can shape the direction and success of the strategy. This is why interviewers want to hear how you take these viewpoints into consideration. They are interested in assessing your ability to balance different perspectives, handle potential conflicts, and use feedback to refine and improve strategic plans.

Example: “Incorporating feedback from stakeholders is crucial in strategic planning. I begin by identifying key stakeholders and understanding their interests and concerns. This can be achieved through interviews, surveys or focus groups.

Next, I analyze the collected feedback to identify common themes and areas of divergence. It’s essential to prioritize these inputs based on their relevance to the strategy development process.

Lastly, I integrate this feedback into the strategic plan. This might involve adjusting goals, redefining objectives, or modifying implementation tactics. Throughout this process, maintaining transparent communication with stakeholders is vital to ensure alignment and buy-in.”

20. What role does innovation play in your strategic planning process?

Innovation is the lifeblood of strategic planning. It’s what keeps strategies fresh, relevant, and competitive in today’s ever-evolving business landscape. So, when a hiring manager asks this question, they are looking for evidence that you understand the importance of incorporating new ideas and approaches into your strategic plans. They want to know that you’re not just capable of thinking outside the box, but that you prioritize it.

Example: “Innovation plays a pivotal role in strategic planning as it enables us to identify and explore new opportunities. It helps us challenge the status quo, rethink our approaches, and stay ahead of industry trends.

Incorporating innovation into strategy means looking beyond traditional methods. We must consider emerging technologies, shifts in customer behavior, and changes in market dynamics. This approach ensures we’re not just reacting to change but proactively driving it.

Therefore, innovation isn’t an optional extra; it’s integral to effective strategic planning. Without it, we risk stagnation and missed opportunities for growth and improvement.”

21. How have you used technology to enhance strategic planning and implementation?

The rapidly evolving world of technology is changing the landscape of strategic planning. For a strategic planning consultant, it’s not just about understanding the business and its goals, it’s also about leveraging the right technologies to aid in the planning and execution of strategies. Interviewers ask this question to gauge your familiarity with technology and its application in strategic planning, ensuring you can provide a modern approach to solving their business issues.

Example: “In my experience, technology is a crucial tool for strategic planning and implementation. I’ve used project management software to track progress, identify bottlenecks, and ensure timely completion of tasks.

Data analytics tools have also been invaluable in providing insights into market trends and customer behavior, aiding in the formulation of effective strategies.

Moreover, communication platforms like Slack or Teams help maintain transparency and foster collaboration among team members.

Overall, leveraging these technologies enhances efficiency, fosters informed decision-making, and facilitates seamless execution of strategies.”

22. Can you describe your experience working with cross-functional teams during the strategic planning process?

A strategic planning consultant is often at the center of many different parts of an organization, coordinating between them to create a cohesive, effective plan. Therefore, understanding how you can work within cross-functional teams to achieve these goals is essential. Your ability to navigate through different departments and unite them towards a common goal is a critical skill that interviewers are looking to assess.

Example: “In my experience, cross-functional teams bring diverse perspectives to strategic planning. I’ve found that this diversity leads to more innovative and comprehensive strategies.

I usually start by facilitating a discussion about the organization’s goals. This ensures everyone is aligned and understands what we’re trying to achieve. Then, each team member contributes their unique expertise during brainstorming sessions.

One challenge can be managing differing opinions. To address this, I encourage open dialogue and use decision-making frameworks to reach consensus.

Overall, working with cross-functional teams enriches the strategic planning process and results in robust, well-rounded strategies.”

23. How do you ensure that your strategic plans are customer-centric?

The crux of strategic planning is focusing on the end customer’s needs and desires. A plan that isn’t customer-centric won’t deliver the desired business results. By asking this question, hiring managers are trying to gauge your understanding of this critical aspect and your ability to develop strategies that revolve around the customer rather than being solely product or operation-focused.

Example: “To ensure strategic plans are customer-centric, I start with a deep understanding of the customer’s needs and expectations. This involves market research, surveys, and direct interactions.

Next, I incorporate these insights into the planning process. Each strategy is evaluated based on its potential to enhance customer value and experience.

Moreover, I believe in constant monitoring and adjustment. Customer preferences can change rapidly, hence it’s crucial to continuously seek feedback and adjust strategies accordingly.

Finally, aligning organizational culture towards customer centricity is key. Every team member should understand their role in delivering superior customer value.”

24. How do you keep up with the latest trends and developments in strategic planning?

As a strategic planning consultant, staying current with the latest trends, tools, and frameworks in the field is key. It’s not just about having the right analytical skills or understanding of business strategy. It’s also about knowing how to adapt your approach to fit a rapidly changing business landscape. Employers need to know that you’re proactive in staying updated and that you can bring the latest thinking to their strategic planning process.

Example: “Keeping up with the latest trends in strategic planning involves a combination of continuous learning and active networking. I regularly read industry-specific publications, attend webinars, and participate in relevant forums to stay informed about new methodologies or tools.

Moreover, I’m an active member of several professional organizations where I exchange ideas with peers. This helps me understand how different industries are adapting their strategies to changing market dynamics.

Lastly, I leverage digital platforms like LinkedIn to follow thought leaders and influencers who often share valuable insights on emerging trends. By doing this, I ensure that my approach to strategic planning remains current and effective.”

25. How do you prioritize initiatives when developing a strategic plan?

A strategic plan often includes multiple initiatives, and not all of them can be tackled at once. It’s crucial to prioritize based on factors like impact on business goals, resource availability, and timeline. Therefore, hiring managers are interested in understanding your approach to prioritization. Your answer to this question can demonstrate your ability to think strategically, manage resources, and drive results.

Example: “Prioritizing initiatives in strategic planning involves considering the impact and feasibility of each initiative. High-impact projects that align with business goals are prioritized, while those less aligned may be deferred or discarded.

Feasibility is assessed by evaluating resources, timeline, and potential risks involved. It’s also crucial to consider stakeholder buy-in as their support can significantly influence a project’s success.

Finally, it’s essential to maintain flexibility in our priorities as market conditions and company objectives evolve over time. This allows us to adapt and ensure we’re always working towards the most relevant and impactful goals.”

26. Can you describe a time when you had to revise a strategic plan midway? What prompted the revision and what was the outcome?

The landscape of business is dynamic and unpredictable. As a strategic planning consultant, you will likely face situations where initial plans are not yielding the desired results or external factors necessitate a shift in strategy. This query is designed to assess your adaptability, problem-solving skills, and your ability to navigate changes. Your response will reveal how you handle setbacks, make tough decisions, and work to turn a potential failure into a success.

Example: “In a previous project, our team had to revise the strategic plan due to unforeseen market changes. A new competitor entered the scene with innovative technology that disrupted our initial strategy.

We quickly gathered data and conducted a SWOT analysis to understand the implications. The revision involved incorporating more aggressive digital marketing tactics and enhancing our product features.

The outcome was positive. We managed to retain our market share and even saw an increase in customer engagement. This experience taught me the importance of agility and adaptability in strategic planning.”

27. How do you balance the needs of different stakeholders when developing a strategic plan?

Strategic planning consultants operate at the junction of multiple intersecting interests. They must balance the needs of various internal and external stakeholders, all of whom have unique perspectives and expectations. Therefore, hiring managers want to determine if you can navigate these disparate viewpoints and develop a strategic plan that satisfies all parties as much as possible while still driving the organization towards its ultimate goals.

Example: “Balancing the needs of different stakeholders in strategic planning involves clear communication, active listening, and prioritization.

I start by identifying all key stakeholders and understanding their unique perspectives and interests. This is achieved through one-on-one meetings or focus groups.

Next, I prioritize these needs based on business objectives, feasibility, and potential impact. It’s crucial to be transparent about this process to manage expectations.

Finally, it’s about finding common ground and creating a plan that aligns with the overall goals of the organization while addressing stakeholder concerns as much as possible. Regular feedback loops ensure continuous alignment and adjustment where necessary.”

28. Can you provide an example of a strategic plan you’ve developed that involved significant change management?

Change is the only constant in business, and as a strategic planning consultant, you’re often expected to be a catalyst for that change. This question helps interviewers gauge your understanding of the complexities involved in implementing strategic change, your ability to anticipate potential challenges, and your problem-solving skills when obstacles arise. It’s about ensuring that you can not only create a strategic plan, but also manage the change it brings effectively.

Example: “In a previous project, I developed a strategic plan to transition a company from traditional marketing methods to digital. The change involved significant retraining and restructuring.

The first step was conducting a SWOT analysis to understand the current situation and potential challenges. Then, we set clear objectives such as increasing online presence and boosting customer engagement through social media.

We implemented changes gradually, starting with training sessions for employees on new technologies and techniques. We also established a feedback system to address concerns promptly.

The result was a successful shift to digital marketing, leading to increased brand visibility and sales. This experience demonstrated how effective strategic planning can facilitate major organizational changes.”

29. What is your approach to training and development to support the implementation of a strategic plan?

As a strategic planning consultant, your ability to not just develop, but also implement and manage plans is essential. This includes the ability to train and develop those who will be executing the plan. Interviewers want to ensure that you have the skills and methodologies to effectively communicate and guide teams through the changes and new processes that a strategic plan often involves.

Example: “My approach to training and development for strategic plan implementation is twofold.

One, I believe in personalized learning paths that cater to individual needs and roles within the organization. This ensures everyone has a clear understanding of their part in the strategy.

Two, I focus on continuous learning. The business environment is dynamic, hence our strategies must evolve. Regular training sessions help keep everyone updated and aligned with the current strategic direction.

This combination promotes ownership, engagement, and successful execution of the strategic plan.”

30. How do you maintain flexibility and adaptability in your strategic plans to accommodate unexpected changes in the business environment?

Change is a constant in the business world, and strategic plans need to be flexible enough to adapt to new circumstances. Employers want to ensure that you can not only create a robust strategic plan, but also monitor its effectiveness, make necessary adjustments, and keep it aligned with the company’s evolving business objectives. In essence, they want assurance that your planning skills are balanced with a healthy dose of adaptability.

Example: “Maintaining flexibility in strategic plans involves continuous monitoring of external and internal factors. I utilize data-driven approaches to identify trends or changes that may impact the plan.

Adaptability is achieved by incorporating feedback loops into the planning process. This allows for timely adjustments based on new information or changes in circumstances.

Scenario planning also plays a crucial role. By considering multiple potential futures, we can prepare contingency plans and be ready to pivot when necessary.

In essence, it’s about staying informed, being responsive, and having backup plans.”

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  • Research the Firm and Its Practice Areas: Gain a deep understanding of the consulting firm's history, culture, key practice areas, and recent projects. This insight will help you tailor your responses to align with the firm's strategic approach and client base.
  • Master Strategy Frameworks: Be familiar with essential strategy frameworks such as Porter's Five Forces, SWOT analysis, and the BCG Matrix. These tools are often used to structure your thinking and approach to case studies.
  • Practice Case Studies: Case studies are a cornerstone of strategy consulting interviews. Practice solving various cases to sharpen your analytical skills and learn to articulate your thought process in a structured manner.
  • Refine Your Quantitative Skills: Brush up on your ability to perform quick and accurate mental math, as well as your proficiency with data analysis and interpretation, as these skills are often tested during case interviews.
  • Develop a Structured Communication Style: Consultants must present information in a clear and logical way. Practice structuring your answers to both fit and case questions using the Situation, Complication, Question, and Answer (SCQA) technique or the Pyramid Principle.
  • Prepare for Behavioral Questions: Reflect on your past experiences and be ready to discuss how they have prepared you for a career in strategy consulting. Focus on stories that demonstrate leadership, teamwork, and problem-solving.
  • Prepare Insightful Questions: Develop thoughtful questions that demonstrate your strategic thinking and show that you have a vested interest in the firm's work and culture.
  • Engage in Mock Interviews: Simulate the interview experience with peers or mentors to gain feedback on your case approach, analytical skills, and communication style. This practice can also help reduce interview anxiety.

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14 Strategic Consultant Interview Questions (With Example Answers)

It's important to prepare for an interview in order to improve your chances of getting the job. Researching questions beforehand can help you give better answers during the interview. Most interviews will include questions about your personality, qualifications, experience and how well you would fit the job. In this article, we review examples of various strategic consultant interview questions and sample answers to some of the most common questions.

Strategic Consultant Resume Example

Common Strategic Consultant Interview Questions

What motivated you to pursue a career in strategic consulting, what do you think are the key skills necessary for success in this field, what do you think distinguishes successful strategic consultants from those who are not, what do you think are the biggest challenges faced by strategic consultants, what do you think is the most important thing that clients should look for when choosing a strategic consultant, what do you think are the most common mistakes made by strategic consultants, what do you think is the best way to develop a successful consulting practice, what do you think is the most important thing that consultants should keep in mind when working with clients, what do you think is the most important thing that clients should keep in mind when working with consultants, what do you think is the best way to develop a successful consulting relationship, what do you think is the most important thing that consultants can do to add value to their clients, what do you think is the best way to develop trust between a consultant and a client, what do you think is the most important thing that clients should look for when choosing a consultant, what would be your advice to new consultants just starting out in their careers.

There are a few reasons why an interviewer might ask this question. First, they want to know if you have thought about your career choice and if you have a clear motivation for pursuing it. It is important to be able to articulate your motivation because it shows that you are thoughtful about your career choice and that you have a clear goal in mind. Additionally, the interviewer wants to know if you are truly passionate about strategic consulting and if you have the drive to succeed in this field. Passion and motivation are key qualities that employers look for in candidates, so it is important to demonstrate them during the interview process.

Example: “ I have always been interested in strategy and how businesses operate. I enjoy problem solving and working with others to find creative solutions. Consulting seemed like the perfect way to combine my interests and skills. I also wanted to work in an environment where I could continue learning and growing. ”

Strategic consultants need a variety of skills in order to be successful. They need to be able to think critically and analytically in order to identify problems and develop solutions. They also need to be able to effectively communicate their ideas to clients and other stakeholders. Furthermore, they need to have strong project management skills in order to plan and execute consulting engagements. Finally, they need to have a deep understanding of the industries they work in and the trends that are shaping them.

Asking this question allows the interviewer to gauge the candidate's self-awareness and understanding of the skills necessary for success in the role. It also allows the interviewer to get a sense of whether the candidate has the ability to think strategically and develop creative solutions.

Example: “ There are many key skills necessary for success as a strategic consultant. Some of the most important skills include: 1. The ability to think strategically and identify key issues and opportunities. 2. The ability to conduct comprehensive research and analysis. 3. The ability to develop creative and innovative solutions. 4. The ability to effectively communicate with clients and other stakeholders. 5. The ability to project manage and deliver projects on time and within budget. ”

The interviewer is trying to understand what the consultant believes are the key skills and attributes needed to be successful in the role. This question allows the interviewer to gauge the consultant's self-awareness and understanding of the skills needed to succeed in the role. It also allows the interviewer to see if the consultant has any insider knowledge or tips that could help the company improve its strategic consulting practice.

Example: “ There are several key factors that distinguish successful strategic consultants from those who are not. First, successful strategic consultants have a deep understanding of the industries they serve. They know the key players, the major trends, and the challenges faced by businesses in their sector. This knowledge allows them to develop insights and recommendations that are tailored to the specific needs of their clients. Second, successful strategic consultants are excellent communicators. They are able to clearly articulate their ideas and present them in a way that is convincing and persuasive. They understand how to influence decision-makers and get buy-in for their recommendations. Third, successful strategic consultants are skilled project managers. They are able to manage complex projects and ensure that they are delivered on time and within budget. They have a track record of delivering successful results for their clients. Fourth, successful strategic consultants have strong relationships with their clients. They build trust and rapport with their clients and maintain these relationships over the long term. They understand the needs and objectives of their clients and work collaboratively with them to achieve success. Finally, successful strategic consultants are continuously learning and evolving. They keep up with new trends and developments in their industry and incorporate this knowledge into their work. They are always looking for ways to improve ”

There are a few reasons why an interviewer might ask this question. First, they want to see if you are aware of the challenges faced by strategic consultants. This is important because it shows that you have a good understanding of the industry and the challenges it faces. Second, they want to see how you would address these challenges. This is important because it shows that you have thought about the issue and have a plan to address it. Finally, they want to see if you are able to think critically about the challenges faced by strategic consultants. This is important because it shows that you have the ability to identify problems and come up with solutions.

Example: “ There are a few challenges that strategic consultants face. First, is the challenge of providing accurate and timely advice. This means that they need to have a good understanding of the current business environment and be able to anticipate future trends. Second, is the challenge of managing client expectations. Clients often have unrealistic expectations of what a consultant can do for them. They may also be resistant to change, which can make it difficult for a consultant to implement their recommendations. Third, is the challenge of maintaining objectivity. A consultant needs to be able to provide unbiased advice, even if it goes against the interests of their client. Finally, is the challenge of managing conflict. When working with multiple stakeholders, it can be difficult to keep everyone happy. This can often lead to conflict between parties, which a consultant needs to be able to manage effectively. ”

The interviewer is likely trying to gauge the consultant's ability to think critically about the consulting industry and identify key factors that clients should consider when choosing a strategic consultant. This question also allows the interviewer to assess the consultant's understanding of the consulting process and what clients should expect from a successful engagement.

Example: “ The most important thing that clients should look for when choosing a strategic consultant is someone who has a deep understanding of their industry and can provide insights and recommendations that are tailored to their specific situation. The consultant should also have a proven track record of helping companies achieve their desired results. ”

There are a few reasons why an interviewer might ask this question. First, they could be testing your knowledge of the industry and common pitfalls that consultants face. Second, they might be interested in your opinion on how to avoid making these mistakes. Third, they could be trying to gauge your level of experience and expertise.

It is important to be prepared to answer this question, as it will show the interviewer that you are knowledgeable about the industry and that you have thought about the common mistakes that consultants make. In addition, your answer will give the interviewer insight into your level of experience and expertise.

Example: “ There are a few common mistakes made by strategic consultants: 1. Not really understanding the client's business and industry. This can lead to recommendations that are not relevant or practical for the client. 2. Not taking the time to understand the client's specific situation and needs. This can lead to generic advice that is not tailored to the client's unique circumstances. 3. Over-reliance on data and analysis, without enough qualitative insights. This can lead to recommendations that are too theoretical or academic, and not grounded in reality. 4. Failing to build consensus and buy-in from key stakeholders within the client organization. This can lead to implementation problems down the road, as well as resistance and resentment from those who were not involved in the decision-making process. 5. Not having a clear and concise deliverable that articulates the key findings and recommendations in a way that is easy for the client to understand and act upon. This can leave the client feeling frustrated and confused, and less likely to implement the consultant's recommendations. ”

There are a few reasons why an interviewer would ask this question to a strategic consultant. First, the interviewer wants to know if the consultant has thought about how to develop a successful consulting practice. This shows that the consultant is serious about the consulting business and is willing to put in the work to make their practice successful. Second, the interviewer wants to know what strategies the consultant would use to develop their practice. This helps the interviewer understand the consultant's thought process and how they would approach the task of developing their business. Finally, the interviewer wants to gauge the consultant's level of experience and expertise in the area of business development. By asking this question, the interviewer can get a better sense of whether or not the consultant is qualified to help their company develop a successful consulting practice.

Example: “ There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best way to develop a successful consulting practice depends on the individual consultant's strengths, weaknesses, and areas of expertise. However, some tips on how to develop a successful consulting practice include: 1. Finding a niche: Specializing in a particular industry or type of consulting can help you stand out from the competition and attract clients who are looking for someone with your specific skillset. 2. Developing a strong brand: Creating a recognizable brand for your consulting business can help you attract clients and build trust with potential customers. 3. Creating a robust marketing strategy: A well-thought-out marketing strategy can help you reach your target market and promote your consulting services effectively. 4. Delivering quality work: Providing quality work to clients is essential to developing a successful consulting practice. Satisfied clients are likely to recommend your services to others, which can help you grow your business. ”

The interviewer is asking this question to gauge the consultant's understanding of the client-consultant relationship and what is important to keep in mind when working with clients. It is important for consultants to keep in mind that their role is to help the client solve a problem or achieve a goal, and not to simply tell the client what to do. The consultant should also be aware of the client's budget and time constraints and tailor their advice accordingly.

Example: “ There are a few things that consultants should keep in mind when working with clients: 1. Always keep the client's best interests in mind. This means that you should always be looking for ways to help them improve their business, even if it means making some tough decisions. 2. Be honest with your clients. This includes being upfront about your fees and any potential conflicts of interest. 3. Be responsive to your clients' needs. This means being available when they need you and being able to adapt to changing circumstances. 4. Build a trusting relationship with your clients. This will make it easier for them to confide in you and give you the information you need to help them succeed. ”

There are a few reasons why an interviewer might ask this question to a strategic consultant. First, it allows the interviewer to gauge the consultant's understanding of the consulting process and what clients should expect. Second, it allows the interviewer to see how the consultant prioritizes different aspects of the consulting process. Finally, it allows the interviewer to get a sense of the consultant's communication style and whether they are able to articulate complex concepts in a clear and concise manner.

The most important thing that clients should keep in mind when working with consultants is that the consultant is there to help them achieve their goals. The consultant should be able to provide objective advice and insights based on their experience and expertise. The client should also be aware that the consultant may not have all the answers and that it is important to be open to new ideas and solutions.

Example: “ The most important thing that clients should keep in mind when working with consultants is to be clear about their objectives. What are they trying to achieve? What are their goals? Once the consultant understands the client's objectives, they can develop a plan to help the client reach their goals. ”

There are a few reasons why an interviewer might ask this question to a strategic consultant. Firstly, it allows the interviewer to gauge the consultant's understanding of what it takes to develop a successful consulting relationship. Secondly, it allows the interviewer to see how the consultant would approach this type of situation. Finally, it allows the interviewer to determine whether the consultant has the necessary skills and knowledge to be successful in this role.

Example: “ There are a few key things that are important in developing a successful consulting relationship: 1. Establishing trust and mutual respect - This is essential in any relationship, but especially important in a professional setting. It's important to be able to trust your consultant and feel like they have your best interests at heart. 2. Communication - Open and honest communication is key to any successful relationship. This includes being able to give and receive feedback in a constructive way. 3. Shared goals and objectives - It's important that both parties are clear on what the goals and objectives of the project are. This will help ensure that everyone is working towards the same thing and avoid any misunderstandings down the line. 4. Flexibility - Things change, and it's important to be flexible in order to accommodate those changes. This could mean being open to changes in scope or timeline, for example. 5. Respect for each other's expertise - It's important to remember that you hired a consultant for a reason! Respect their expertise and allow them to do their job. ”

The interviewer is trying to gauge the consultant's understanding of how to add value to their clients. It is important for consultants to be able to identify opportunities for their clients to improve their business operations and then work with them to implement those changes.

Example: “ There are a few things that consultants can do to add value to their clients: 1. Help them identify their goals and objectives. 2. Assist in the development of strategies to achieve those goals. 3. Help implement the chosen strategy. 4. Monitor progress and make necessary adjustments along the way. 5. Evaluate the results once the goal is achieved. Each client is different, so the specific ways in which a consultant can add value will vary from case to case. However, these are some general guidelines that apply in most situations. ”

It is important for a strategic consultant to develop trust with their clients in order to have a successful working relationship. Trust is important because it allows the consultant and client to feel comfortable sharing information and working together to achieve objectives. The best way to develop trust is to be honest, open, and transparent with clients.

Example: “ There are many ways to develop trust between a consultant and a client, but some of the most important include: 1. Establishing clear and open communication from the start. This means being honest about your capabilities and what you can realistically achieve for the client. 2. Keeping the client updated on progress and being transparent about any challenges or setbacks. 3. Following through on commitments and meeting deadlines. 4. Providing value-added services and going above and beyond what is expected. 5. Building a rapport with the client and getting to know them on a personal level. ”

There are a few reasons why an interviewer might ask this question to a strategic consultant. First, it allows the interviewer to gauge the consultant's understanding of the consulting industry and what clients should consider when hiring a consultant. Second, it allows the interviewer to see how the consultant views the role of a consultant and what they believe is the most important thing that clients should look for when choosing a consultant. Finally, it allows the interviewer to get a sense of the consultant's personal philosophy on consulting and how they approach their work with clients.

The most important thing that clients should look for when choosing a consultant is someone who is a good fit for their specific needs. Every client is different, and so there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. The most important thing is to find a consultant who has the right skillset and experience for the particular project you are working on. Additionally, it is important to find a consultant who you feel comfortable working with and who you can trust to give you honest advice.

Example: “ The most important thing that clients should look for when choosing a consultant is someone who is knowledgeable and experienced in the specific industry or field that the client needs help with. The consultant should also be someone who is able to think strategically and provide creative solutions to problems. ”

The interviewer is asking this question to gauge the consultant's ability to think strategically and provide advice that is based on their experience in the field. It is important for consultants to be able to provide advice that is rooted in their understanding of the industry and the challenges that new consultants face. This question allows the interviewer to see how the consultant views the role of consultants and the advice they would give to those starting out in their career.

Example: “ There are a few pieces of advice that I would give to new consultants just starting out in their careers. First, it is important to build a strong network of contacts. This will help you to get your foot in the door with potential clients and also to keep up with industry trends. Second, it is important to be able to articulate your value proposition clearly and concisely. This will help you stand out from the competition and win over potential clients. Finally, it is important to always be learning and growing. Keep up with industry trends and developments, and continually strive to improve your skillset. By doing so, you will position yourself as an expert in your field and be better poised for success. ”

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Interview Questions about Strategic Thinking and Planning – Learn how to answer them

An excellent leader always thinks a few steps ahead . They keep the bigger picture on their mind while making everyday decisions, making sure that the team, department, or entire company follows the right direction, pursuing the long term goals of the business. Strategic planning is an important skill for all mid-level and top-level management jobs. It’s more than a skill– it’s a mindset, the way you approach your work.

Hiring managers and CEOs will typically ask you a few question that relate (directly or indirectly) to your ability to think strategically . Let’s have a look at 7 of them, and how you should answer them in order to make the right impression on your interviewers .

Table of Contents

In your opinion, what role does strategic planning play in this managerial role?

If they ask about it, it likely plays a crucial role . But you should elaborate on this answer. Explain the responsibility you will have in the team, for setting the overall direction , for understanding the market trends , and predict the future .

You understand that without knowing the final destination the ship can hardly reach the harbor . And without knowing where you are eventually going as a team, you won’t be able to manage your people effectively.

But you also understand that things change quickly in the economic climate of 21st century. Strategic thinking is not a set and forget task for you . You will revisit your plans regularly, and make adjustments if the situation demands it.

Describe your process of setting long term goals for your team.

The key is to show them that you have some system in your strategic planning , and pillars you stick to. The overall vision and mission statement of the company can be one of your pillars.

Before deciding about the goals of the team, you consider the goals of the entire organization , the role your team plays (or should play) in achieving these goals, in attaining the lofty vision. Then you devise your goals accordingly, finding the sweet spot.

You understand that your team isn’t a stand-alone unit in the company , or in the entire economy. There are always bigger goals to follow, and everything relates to everything. You keep this on your mind while deciding about long term goals for your team.

What’s more–you try to be ambitious and realistic at the same time . It makes no sense to aim too low–that’s not why you became a manager. But you also want to set long terms goals your employees find viable , because if they struggled to imagine your vision, they would find it hard to work on it day after day…

interview questions for strategic planning consultants

How do you inform people about your strategic decisions?

It’s not only about form, or timing. Communication is also super important , and you should place the value on it in your answer.

Say that first and foremost, you make sure that everyone understands your decisions , the long term plan, ans what role they play in it . You may communicate this during managerial meetings, but you may also have one on one with the representatives of lower-management , explaining everything clearly, and with the help of follow-up questions ensuring that they got your point, and understand how it impacts their work.

Of course if we talk here about an unpopular decision –such as restructuring the company, or terminating contracts, or cutting salaries, timing is also important. What’s more, when announcing an unpopular decision you make sure that people understand why you had to make it , and that you did not really have another option.

* May also interest you : Creative thinking interview questions

Tell us about a time when you failed to achieve your goals in work.

The situation you narrate doesn’t interest the interviewers as much as the attitude you show, and the way in which you analyze the situation . Can you admit making a mistake? Can you identify the factors that contributed to the failure? And did you learn your lesson in the situation?

Try to go back in time, all the way to setting your goals. Describe the process of planning –what you had on your mind, what you tried to achieve, milestones and goals you set. But perhaps you underestimated something, or market conditions changed–and you didn’t have a plan B, or something else happened.

One way or another, you failed to reach the goal–and you take full responsibility for this as a manager . You understand what you did wrong, or neglected. You learned from the situation, and won’t repeat the same mistake again, while working on your strategic plans or setting your goals in your new job.

* Special Tip : Strategic planning isn’t the only tricky area they will inquire about in your managerial interview. You will face questions about adaptability, prioritization, dealing with ambiguity, and many other tricky questions. If you want to avoid “interview headaches”, and finally streamline your preparation for the big day, have a look at our Interview Success Package . Up to 10 premium answers for each difficult interview question will help you stand out in the interviews, impress the hiring managers, and get an amazing offer at the end. Thank you for checking it out!

If we hire you for this managerial job, what goals will you set for yourself and for your team?

This one is a bit tricky. Your ability to answer it correctly depends on your knowledge of your future employer , and their current situation. Needless to say, you should do an extensive research about your future place of work.

What they do, what they try to achieve, who their main competitors are, what is their position on the market. And of course, what role you can play in all this as their new manager . This should help you understand the basic direction, and perhaps even set some goals for you for the first year or two.

If you cannot find the information, however, and job description does not help you much, you still have two options for a decent answer .

First one is being honest and humble , and saying that before setting any goals, you have to talk to the executives, and understand what exactly they expect from you and from the team you will lead. Or at least your place in the company. Only when you understand such things will you be able to set right goals for yourself and for the team.

Another option is referring to general indicators of success . Increasing profits, reducing expenses, improving the customer satisfaction or retention, etc–depending the the position you have, the team you will lead. Of course each corporation will be satisfied if you reach such goals as a manager…

How do you measure the effectiveness of your strategy?

This isn’t always easy , especially if you work on something and the fruits of your efforts will become apparent much later– when everything eventually clicks together , and you will dominate the market.

Anyway, you can say that you will always try to set some partial goals , or point out certain indicators you can realistically measure , and will continuously monitor them while working.

While this isn’t a bullet-proof way of measuring the effectiveness of your strategy, it can definitely help you identify that things aren’t going the right way , and take action accordingly.

Of course when we speak about some specific strategy and position, when you can set very clear indicators (such as number of deals closed each month), it’s easier to measure the effectiveness of your strategy.

Tell us about a time when you demonstrated leadership at work.

More than anything else, true leadership (on the highest level of corporate hierarchy) is about making unpopular decisions , challenging the status quo , or setting overall direction for a team, department, company, or the entire country (if we talk about politics).

And that’s exactly what you should talk about–because they do not hire you to keep the status quo . They hire you to change and improve things, to set new strategic plans and take their company (or a team within it) to the next level.

Do not be afraid to talk about a time when you were bold in your decisions or expectations . It doesn’t matter whether others supported or opposed you, and whether your suggestion or decision eventually went through, and had a desired effect.

The most important thing is to show that you thought about the bigger picture , and did not mind challenging the routine in the place, the way they had done things before you came onboard…

* May also interest you : Are you a leader, or a manager?

Conclusion, premium answers to all questions

Strategic thinking and planning is an important skill, something we learn by experience . Interviewers may ask you several questions while trying to assess your ability to think strategically. Their questions may range from relatively simple (How do you set long term goals?) to tricky situational or behavioral questions (Tell us about a time when you failed to reach your goals in work) .

Try to prepare a short answer to each question from the list, following my hints. And do not forget to do a throughout research about your future employer, their vision and goals, and the role you will play in the company. It will help you with your answers to the questions about strategic planning and thinking.

Last but not least, do not neglect your preparation for other tricky interview questions –questions about prioritization, dealing with pressure or ambiguity, and with many other situation you can experience in the workplace. If you need help, have a look at our Interview Success Package . Up to 10 premium answers to 31 tricky scenario based questions (+ more) will help you streamline your interview preparation, and eventually outclass your competitors and get the job . Thank you for checking out out, and I wish you best of luck in your interview!

May also interest you :

  • Leadership interview questions – Each great manager is an excellent leader. Learn how to answer questions about leadership.
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  • Analytical skills interview questions .
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Strategic Planner Interview Questions

The strategic planner assesses a company's goals and identifies strategies that will help to achieve these goals. The strategic planner is also responsible for observing sales metrics to see if new strategies are effective in reaching the company's goals.

When interviewing strategic planners, the ideal candidate should have excellent data analysis skills. Be wary of candidates who are unwilling to perform thorough research when forming strategies.

Interview Questions for Strategic Planners:

1. can you describe the methods you use to assess operational effectiveness.

Tests the candidate's experience and competence in research and analysis.

2. Share an experience when your advice was not received well. How did you handle the situation?

Reveals the candidate's communication and interpersonal skills as well as the ability to deal with difficult situations.

3. Can you provide an example of a project or procedure you implemented that improved organizational growth?

Illustrates the candidate's previous experience and competence.

4. What important information do you evaluate before developing a business strategy?

Tests the candidate’s knowledge of business strategies.

5. Your analytics report proves to be incorrect. What steps do you take to correct the problem?

Demonstrates the candidate’s problem-solving skills.

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17 Strategic Planning Manager Interview Questions and Answers

Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from a strategic planning manager, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.

interview questions for strategic planning consultants

Strategic planning managers develop, implement, and oversee an organization’s long-term goals, objectives, and strategies. In order to be successful in this role, strategic planning managers must have excellent analytical, problem-solving, and decision-making skills.

If you’re interested in becoming a strategic planning manager, you’ll need to ace a job interview. During the interview, you’ll be asked a variety of questions about your experience, skills, and knowledge. You may also be asked to provide examples of times when you’ve used your skills to solve problems or make decisions.

To help you prepare, we’ve compiled a list of sample strategic planning manager interview questions and answers.

Are you familiar with the different types of strategic planning?

What are some of the most important elements of a successful strategic plan, how would you go about developing a new strategy for your organization, what is your experience with developing budgets for strategic plans, provide an example of a time when you had to change a plan due to unforeseen circumstances., if hired, what would be your priorities during your first few months on the job, what would you do if you noticed a disconnect between different departments’ plans, how well do you work under pressure, do you have any experience leading meetings, when reviewing past plans, what would you consider a success and what would you consider a failure, we want to increase our customer base. what ideas do you have for doing so, describe your process for evaluating the success of a plan., what makes you qualified for this position, which industries do you have experience in, what do you think is the most important skill for a strategic planning manager to have, how often would you recommend updating strategic plans, there is a new technology that could drastically change the industry. how would you react to this news.

This question can help the interviewer determine your level of expertise in strategic planning. Use this opportunity to highlight any experience you have with different types of strategic planning and how it helped your organization succeed.

Example: “I’ve worked with several different types of strategic planning, including SWOT analysis, environmental scanning, mission statements and vision statements. I find that each type of strategic planning is useful for a specific purpose. For example, when my team was working on our annual budget, we used SWOT analysis to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats within our company’s financials. This allowed us to make informed decisions about where we should allocate funds.”

This question can help the interviewer determine your understanding of what it takes to create a successful strategic plan. Use examples from previous experience to highlight your ability to lead and manage teams through the process of creating a strategic plan.

Example: “A successful strategic plan needs to be detailed, realistic and measurable. I find that having clear goals with specific targets is important because it allows you to measure progress throughout the planning process. It’s also important to have buy-in from all levels of management so everyone understands their role in achieving the company’s objectives. Finally, regular communication between departments and stakeholders is essential for keeping everyone informed about the progress of the strategic plan.”

This question can help the interviewer understand how you approach your work and what steps you take to complete it. Use examples from past experiences in which you developed a strategy for an organization or company, and explain how your process helped achieve success.

Example: “I would first assess my team’s strengths and weaknesses to determine where we need improvement. I find that this is one of the most important steps when developing a new strategy because it helps me understand what areas are performing well and which ones need more attention. From there, I would create a plan for implementing our goals and objectives by creating measurable targets and timelines for achieving them. This allows me to stay organized and ensure all aspects of the strategic plan are accounted for.”

Interviewers may ask this question to learn more about your experience with financial planning and budgeting. Use your answer to highlight your ability to create budgets that are realistic, achievable and effective for the organization’s goals.

Example: “In my previous role as a strategic planning manager, I worked closely with our finance team to develop budgets for each of our strategic plans. We used these budgets to track our progress throughout the year and make adjustments when necessary. This process helped us stay on track with our objectives while also ensuring we were making smart decisions with our finances.”

Employers ask this question to see how you adapt to change. They want to know that you can still complete your work and meet deadlines even when unexpected circumstances arise. In your answer, explain what steps you took to ensure the project stayed on track despite the changes.

Example: “In my previous role as a strategic planning manager, I had to make several adjustments to our plans due to changing client needs. One of these instances was when we were in the middle of developing a marketing plan for one company but then received an urgent request from another company asking us to develop their entire digital strategy. We immediately met with the first company to discuss the situation. After some discussion, they agreed to allow us to focus on the second company’s request while also agreeing to hire us for future projects.”

This question helps the interviewer determine how you plan to make an impact in your new role. Prioritizing tasks is a skill that many employers look for when hiring a strategic planning manager, so give them examples of what you would do first if hired.

Example: “My top priority during my first few months on the job would be to get to know everyone and learn more about the company’s culture. I’d also want to understand the goals and objectives of the organization and create a strategy for achieving those goals. After creating a strategy, I would implement it by developing plans for each department within the organization.”

This question can help interviewers assess your ability to work with others and resolve conflicts. In your answer, you should show that you are willing to collaborate with other departments and use your problem-solving skills to find solutions.

Example: “If I noticed a disconnect between different departments’ plans, I would first try to understand the reasons for this disconnect. Then, I would meet with representatives from each department to discuss their goals and objectives. Afterward, I would create a plan that combines elements of both departments’ strategic plans while also addressing any issues or concerns raised during the meeting. This process would ensure that all parties involved were on the same page and working toward the same goal.”

This question can help an interviewer determine how well you perform in a fast-paced environment. Strategic planning often requires working under pressure to meet deadlines and produce quality results. In your answer, try to explain that you are able to work effectively under pressure while still maintaining high standards for your work.

Example: “I am very comfortable working under pressure because I know it’s part of the job as a strategic planning manager. When I’m faced with a tight deadline, I always make sure to prioritize my tasks so I can complete them on time. I also find that being organized helps me manage my time more efficiently when I’m under pressure.”

The interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your leadership skills. As a strategic planning manager, you will likely lead many meetings throughout the year. In your answer, describe how you plan and run effective meetings. Share any tips or strategies that help you keep meetings organized and on schedule.

Example: “I have led several large-scale meetings in my previous role as a strategic planning manager. I find it helpful to create agendas for each meeting so everyone knows what topics we’ll discuss. I also like to use visual aids during meetings to help others understand complex ideas. For example, I once used a PowerPoint presentation to explain our company’s financial goals.”

This question can help the interviewer understand your critical thinking skills and how you learn from past experiences. Use examples from previous roles to explain what went well and what didn’t, and how you would apply those lessons to this role.

Example: “In my last position as a strategic planning manager, we had a goal of increasing sales by 10% within six months. We met that goal early, but I learned that it’s important to set realistic goals that are challenging enough to motivate employees but also achievable so they don’t feel discouraged. In another instance, we were tasked with creating a plan for a new product launch. While our team was able to come up with some great ideas, we didn’t have any metrics in place to measure success or failure. Now, I always make sure to include key performance indicators when developing plans.”

This question can help the interviewer understand your strategic planning skills and how you might apply them to their organization. Use examples from your experience that show your ability to create strategies for growth, including how you measure success.

Example: “I would first analyze our current customer base to see what we’re doing well and where we could improve. I’d then develop a plan to reach new customers by identifying target markets with similar interests or needs as our existing ones. For example, if we have a lot of customers who are parents, I may want to focus on reaching out to local parenting groups or organizations. We could also look at our website analytics to determine which pages aren’t getting enough traffic and find ways to make them more relevant.”

The interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your analytical skills and how you use them to evaluate the success of a plan. Use examples from past projects to describe how you measure success, analyze data and make decisions based on those results.

Example: “I typically start by reviewing the goals we set for ourselves at the beginning of a project. I then look at our progress reports to see if we’re meeting deadlines or making any changes to our original plans. After that, I compare our current performance against our initial projections to determine whether we’re ahead of schedule or behind it. From there, I can decide what steps we need to take to meet our goals.”

Employers ask this question to learn more about your background and how it relates to the job you’re applying for. Use your answer to highlight any relevant experience, skills or education that makes you a good fit for the role.

Example: “I have five years of strategic planning experience in my current position as a senior strategic planner. In this role, I’ve helped develop plans for several departments within our company, including marketing, sales and operations. My previous employer also promoted me twice during my time there, which shows that I’m qualified for this managerial role.”

This question can help the interviewer understand your experience level and how it applies to their company. Use this opportunity to highlight any relevant skills you have that would be beneficial in this role, such as communication or leadership abilities.

Example: “I’ve worked primarily in the technology industry for my entire career, but I also have a background in marketing and advertising. In my current position, I work with both departments to create strategies that support our goals. This has helped me develop an understanding of what each department needs from strategic planning so we can all work together more effectively.”

This question can help the interviewer determine if you have the skills and abilities they’re looking for in a strategic planning manager. Use your answer to highlight one or two of the most important skills, and explain why these are so important.

Example: “I think that communication is the most important skill for a strategic planning manager to have. A strategic planning manager needs to be able to communicate with all levels of an organization, from senior management to front-line employees. I’ve found that being able to clearly and concisely convey information is essential when working with others. This skill has helped me build strong relationships with my team members and other departments.”

This question can help interviewers understand your approach to strategic planning and how often you recommend updating plans. You can answer this question by explaining the frequency of updates in your previous role, or you can explain a specific time when an update was beneficial.

Example: “I would recommend updating strategic plans at least once per year. In my last position as a strategic planning manager, we updated our plan every six months. This helped us stay on track with our goals and objectives while also allowing us to make changes if needed. I think it’s important for businesses to have regular check-ins to ensure they’re making progress toward their goals.”

This question is a great way to see how you would react in an uncertain situation. It’s important for employers to know that you can adapt and change with the industry. In your answer, explain what steps you would take to learn more about this new technology and implement it into your strategic plan if it seems like a good fit.

Example: “I think it’s important to be open-minded when learning about new technologies. I would first do my research on the technology to understand its capabilities and limitations. Then, I would discuss the potential of implementing this technology into our strategic plan with my team. If we all agree that it could benefit our company, then I would work with my manager to create a budget for this new project.”

17 Corporate Travel Agent Interview Questions and Answers

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10 Corporate Strategy Interview Questions and Answers for strategy consultants

flat art illustration of a strategy consultant

  • Digital Strategy
  • Growth Strategy
  • Mergers & Acquisitions
  • Organizational Strategy
  • Turnaround Strategy
  • Innovation Strategy
  • Customer Strategy
  • Marketing & Sales Strategy
  • Sustainability Strategy
  • Operations Strategy
  • Financial Strategy
  • International Strategy
  • Public Sector Strategy
  • Private Equity Strategy
  • Retail Strategy
  • Technology Strategy
  • Healthcare Strategy
  • Energy Strategy

1. Can you describe your experience working with clients in our industry?

I have had the opportunity to work with several clients in the industry over the past few years. For example, in my previous role at XYZ Consulting, I led a team that worked with a large healthcare company.

  • First, we conducted a comprehensive analysis of their current operations and identified areas where they could improve efficiency.
  • Using this analysis, we developed a customized strategy that included several targeted initiatives to enhance their operations, reduce costs, and improve patient outcomes.
  • Over the course of the engagement, we worked closely with the client's leadership team to ensure that they were aligned with our recommendations and that we were able to implement the initiatives effectively and efficiently.
  • Throughout the engagement, we tracked progress against our goals and communicated regularly with the client to ensure that they were satisfied with our work.

As a result of our efforts, the healthcare company was able to realize significant cost savings while improving patient outcomes. Specifically, we were able to reduce operating costs by 15% while improving patient satisfaction scores by 20%. Overall, I believe that my experience working with clients in the industry has prepared me well for a role at your organization and I am excited about the opportunity to bring my expertise to the team.

2. What is your approach to understanding and analyzing a company's current strategy?

My approach to understanding and analyzing a company's current strategy begins with a thorough review of all available data, including financial reports, market research, product roadmaps, and customer feedback. I then conduct interviews with key stakeholders, including senior leaders, managers, and front-line employees, to gain a deeper understanding of the company's goals, strengths, weaknesses, and competitive landscape.

  • Firstly, I review the company's financial reports to gain insight into its revenue, profitability, and cash flow trajectory. This data allows me to understand the company's financial strength, profitability, and potential areas for expansion or improvement.
  • Then, I conduct market research to evaluate the competitive landscape and emerging trends in the industry. This helps me to identify potential threats and opportunities for the company to consider in its strategy.
  • Next, I review the company's product roadmaps and customer feedback to understand its current product offerings and customer satisfaction levels. This provides valuable insight into the company's strengths and areas for improvement in terms of product development and marketing.
  • Finally, I interview the key stakeholders to understand their perspectives on the company's strategy, including its vision, mission, goals, and competitive positioning. This helps me to build consensus around the company's current strategy, identify potential roadblocks, and develop a roadmap for executing the strategy.

Through this approach, I am able to gain a comprehensive understanding of a company's current strategy and develop insights into potential areas for improvement. For example, in my previous role, I employed this approach to develop a new business strategy for a Fortune 500 company, resulting in a 15% increase in annual revenue and a 25% increase in profitability over a two-year period.

3. Can you walk me through your experience developing and executing strategic plans?

Throughout my career, I have developed and executed strategic plans in various positions. One notable experience was when I was the Director of Strategy for a manufacturing company in 2019. My team and I were tasked with improving profitability in our factory by reducing costs and increasing revenue.

  • To begin, we conducted a thorough analysis of our current operations and identified areas where we could cut costs without sacrificing quality. We then implemented cost-saving measures such as optimizing production schedules and reducing waste, which led to a 15% decrease in our operating expenses.
  • Next, we focused on boosting revenue by expanding our product line and developing more efficient distribution channels. We launched three new products and expanded our sales team, resulting in a 20% increase in sales revenue.
  • As we continued to monitor our progress, we also implemented a system to track key performance indicators (KPIs) and regularly reviewed them to ensure we were on track to meet our goals. This allowed us to make adjustments and course-correct quickly if necessary.
  • In the end, our strategic plan resulted in a 35% increase in profitability for the company.

In summary, my experience developing and executing strategic plans has been successful in achieving significant results for the organizations I have worked for.

4. What methods have you found effective in identifying new business opportunities for clients?

During my time at XYZ Consulting, I utilized a variety of methods to identify new business opportunities for our clients. One particularly effective approach involved conducting thorough market research and analysis to identify trends and gaps in the market.

For example, while working with a client in the food industry, I conducted comprehensive research on consumer preferences and identified a rising trend in demand for plant-based protein alternatives. Based on this, I recommended that our client invest in developing a new range of plant-based protein products, which resulted in a 15% increase in overall sales within 6 months.

I also found that networking and building strong relationships with industry leaders and experts proved to be a valuable source of new business opportunities. By attending relevant conferences and events and engaging in meaningful conversations with key stakeholders, I was able to identify potential partnerships and collaborations that ultimately led to lucrative new business ventures for our clients.

  • Conducting thorough market research and analysis to identify trends and gaps in the market
  • Networking and building strong relationships with industry leaders and experts
  • Engaging in meaningful conversations with key stakeholders

5. How would you go about evaluating the success of a corporate strategy?

Evaluating the success of a corporate strategy is a crucial step in determining whether it is worth continuing with the current plan or making adjustments for better results. The following steps would be involved in evaluating the success of a corporate strategy:

Define the objectives - The first step would involve determining the specific objectives the strategy is trying to achieve. For example, if the strategy is aimed at increasing revenue, then the success of this strategy would be measured based on an increase in revenue.

Gather data - The next step would be to gather data to evaluate the success of the strategy. This would involve collecting information such as sales figures, website traffic, and customer feedback.

Analyze the data - After gathering the data, the next step would involve analyzing it to determine whether the strategy has been successful. For example, if the strategy was aimed at increasing revenue, an increase in sales figures would indicate that the strategy has been successful.

Compare the results - It is important to compare the results of the strategy with the original objectives. If the strategy has achieved the objectives, it can be deemed a success. However, if the strategy has not achieved the desired results, adjustments may need to be made to the strategy.

Make improvements - Based on the data analysis, adjustments can be made to the strategy to improve its effectiveness. For example, if the strategy was aimed at increasing website traffic, but the data shows that the traffic has remained stagnant, adjustments to the marketing campaign or website design may need to be made.

Repeat the process - Evaluating the success of a corporate strategy should be an ongoing process. Companies should regularly review their strategies and make adjustments as necessary to ensure continued success.

As an example, during my time working with Company X, we implemented a new strategy aimed at increasing customer retention rates. Through our data analysis, we were able to determine that our customer retention rates had increased by 20% within the first three months of implementing the strategy. This success was due to improved customer service and personalized marketing campaigns. By continuing to evaluate and adjust our strategy, we were able to maintain a steady increase in customer retention over the next year.

6. Can you provide an example of a project where you provided recommendations that resulted in significant positive impact for the client? Can you walk me through what you recommended and how you arrived at those recommendations?

During my time at XYZ Consulting, I was tasked with helping a client in the retail industry increase their online sales. After conducting a thorough analysis of their current online presence, I discovered that their website was poorly designed, difficult to navigate, and lacked robust product descriptions and images.

  • To address these issues, I recommended a complete redesign of the website with a focus on user experience. This included creating a simple and intuitive navigation bar, improving the page load speed, and adding high-quality product images and descriptions.
  • In addition to this, I suggested optimizing the website for search engines by conducting keyword research and implementing SEO best practices. I also recommended improving the checkout process to make it more streamlined and efficient.
  • Finally, I suggested launching an email marketing campaign to reach out to potential and existing customers with personalized offers based on their browsing history and past purchases.

After implementing these recommendations, the client saw a significant increase in online sales. The website's bounce rate decreased by 20%, the average session duration increased by 30%, and the conversion rate improved by 25%. The email marketing campaign had a 15% open rate and 7% click-through rate, resulting in a 10% boost in sales.

7. What challenges have you faced in implementing corporate strategy, and how did you address them?

During my time as a Corporate Strategy Manager at XYZ Company, I faced a major challenge in implementing our new cost-cutting strategy. Our goal was to reduce expenses by 20% within the next fiscal year while still maintaining our high level of customer satisfaction.

The first challenge we faced was lack of employee buy-in. Our employees were resistant to change, and many felt that the new strategy was too aggressive. To address this, I spent time meeting with employees one-on-one to gain their perspective and concerns. I also held town hall meetings to address questions and concerns, and incorporated some of their feedback into the final strategy.

The second challenge we faced was identifying the areas in which we could cut costs without sacrificing quality or customer satisfaction. To address this, I led a comprehensive analysis of our expenses and identified areas where there was inefficiency.

Lastly, we faced the challenge of acting quickly and implementing the strategy effectively. To address this, I led a project team to identify key performance metrics and benchmarks, establish a timeline for implementation, and establish a system for monitoring progress. In the end, we were successful in reducing expenses by 23% while still maintaining a high level of customer satisfaction.

I learned a lot from this experience, including the importance of employee buy-in, the importance of flexibility and adapting to feedback, and the importance of monitoring progress to ensure success.

8. How do you stay updated on industry trends and changes that could impact your clients' strategies?

Staying up-to-date with industry trends and changes is crucial to ensure that my clients' strategies are relevant and effective. Here are the top ways I keep myself informed:

  • Attending Industry Conferences: I attend at least two industry conferences every year to learn about new trends and network with other professionals. For example, last year, I went to the Digital Marketing Summit and the Social Media Week Conference, where I learned about the latest social media algorithms and the power of influencer marketing.
  • Reading Industry Publications: I subscribe to several industry publications and regularly read articles and reports to stay updated. For instance, I read Marketing Week and Harvard Business Review, which provide insights on marketing campaigns and business strategies used by companies.
  • Following Thought Leaders on Social Media: I follow industry thought leaders on LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media platforms. For example, I follow Neil Patel for digital marketing insights and Ben Thompson for technology trends.
  • Participating in Webinars: I participate in webinars to learn about specific topics. For example, I attended a webinar last year on 'Optimizing SEO for E-commerce Websites,' which helped me gain knowledge on e-commerce optimization strategies.
  • Building a Professional Network: Finally, I have an extensive network of professionals in my industry who I regularly communicate with to share insights and learn about industry trends. For example, I'm a member of MarketingProfs, which is a community of marketers where I discuss industry trends and share best practices.

The tangible benefits of staying updated on industry trends include:

  • A 25% increase in client satisfaction scores,
  • A 15% increase in new client acquisitions for the company,
  • A 10% decrease in client churn rate.

By staying informed about industry trends, I can provide my clients with data-driven insights and best practices that help them build effective corporate strategies.

9. What information or data do you typically gather when developing a corporate strategy?

When developing a corporate strategy, I gather a variety of information and data to ensure that my decisions are based on concrete evidence. Firstly, I analyze various market reports and trends to better understand the current business landscape. This includes researching competitors and evaluating their strengths and weaknesses.

I also collect information about the company's financial history and current standing, including revenue, expenses, and profit margins. This allows me to identify any areas in which the company may need to improve and develop strategies to address those issues.

Additionally, I gather data on customer feedback, including surveys and reviews. This helps me to identify areas where the company is excelling and where we can make improvements to better meet our customers' needs.

Finally, I collaborate with various stakeholders within the company, including departmental managers and executives, to ensure that everyone is aligned on the company's goals and objectives. This collaboration helps to ensure that the proposed strategy is feasible and aligned with the company's vision.

  • Market reports and trends
  • Financial history and current standing
  • Customer feedback
  • Collaboration with stakeholders within the company

10. What is your experience collaborating with cross-functional teams to develop and execute strategy?

Throughout my career, I have worked extensively with cross-functional teams to develop and execute strategy. One of my most notable experiences was when I served as a project leader for a major strategic initiative at my previous company. Our goal was to increase sales revenue while making our supply chain more efficient.

  • First, I assembled a cross-functional team comprised of individuals from finance, marketing, and supply chain departments.
  • We then conducted extensive research and analysis to identify the key opportunities and challenges we faced in meeting our objectives.
  • Next, I facilitated a series of collaborative workshops where we brainstormed and evaluated potential solutions and strategies.
  • Ultimately, we developed and implemented a comprehensive plan that not only achieved our sales revenue goals but also delivered significant cost savings in our supply chain operations.

Another example of my experience collaborating with cross-functional teams to develop strategy was when I was tasked with leading a new product launch. I worked closely with colleagues from marketing, product development, and finance to develop a go-to-market strategy, including pricing, promotion, and distribution plans. As a result of our collaboration, we successfully launched the product, achieving sales that exceeded our initial projections and capturing a significant share of the market.

Overall, my experience working with cross-functional teams to develop and execute strategy has led to positive outcomes for the companies I have worked for, including increased sales revenue, improved supply chain efficiencies, and successful product launches.

Congratulations on preparing for your corporate strategy interviews in 2023! The next crucial steps are to write a captivating cover letter and prepare an impressive CV. To make the cover letter writing process easier, check out our guide on writing a standout cover letter . Additionally, use our guide on writing an impressive strategy consultant resume to get your CV ready for submission. If you're searching for a new corporate strategy job, don't forget to browse our remote job board for business operations . Good luck with your interviews and job search!

Top 50 Strategic Interview Questions to Ask Candidates

Mike Simpson 0 Comments

interview questions for strategic planning consultants

By Mike Simpson

On average, filling a vacancy costs companies a little more than $4,000 per new hire. With that much money on the line, getting it right the first time is a must. And that’s where strategic interview questions to ask candidates come in.

By asking the right questions when you meet with applicants, you increase your odds of securing the perfect person for the job. If you want to make sure you’re using the best approach possible, here’s everything you need to know.

Interview Strategy

Before we dig into the top strategic interview questions to ask candidates, it’s essential to spend a moment discussing best practices. You need a great approach if you’re not just going to find the cream of the crop but also entice them to come on board.

Overall, about 50 percent of candidates have declined job offers due to a poor candidate experience. That means, if the interview process is subpar, you may lose half of your top contenders right there. Ouch, right?

So, how do you make sure that you don’t just find a great candidate but also convince them that this is the opportunity for them? By having a great interview strategy.

When you’re interviewing, you need to evaluate two main things. First, your primary goal is to determine if the candidate has the right skills to excel. Second, you want to gauge culture fit, as that can play a big role in the new hire’s level of success.

How do you figure all of that out? Well, by asking a mix of traditional and behavioral job interview questions.

Traditional job interview questions are usually straightforward. You’re requesting a piece of information directly.

While traditional interview questions can be “yes” or “no” questions, it’s usually best to try and make them open-ended. For example, you shouldn’t just ask candidates, “Do you have [skill]?” Instead, go with “Can you tell me about your experience with [skill]?” That way, your asking for more than a simple “yes” or “no,” helping you gather more information.

Behavioral interview questions are a bit different. With these, you usually use one of two approaches.

First, you can present the candidate with a scenario, asking how they’d act if a particular event occurred. Second, you can request examples of how they’ve previously tackled a certain kind of situation.

Both of these strategies are all about seeing how a candidate may behave in the workplace under specific circumstances. They ultimately allow you to anticipate how they’d perform in the role, making them crucial question types to ask.

Now, let’s talk about the topics you need to tap on. In most cases, you want to have some general job interview questions, as well as position-specific ones.

General job interview questions apply to a range of positions. Usually, they focus on fundamental workplace skills or traits that every employee needs to bring to the table. As a result, you can use them when interviewing for nearly any kind of vacancy.

For example, “ How do you deal with stress ?” is universally important. Every job comes with some level of stress, so this is a good one to ask essentially any applicant.

On the other side of the equation are job-specific questions. With these, you want to hone in on any must-have skills or traits for that particular position.

Since job-specific questions like these relate directly to a position, they aren’t universally wise ones to ask. For example, while asking a software developer to tell you about their experience with a programming language is a good idea, you don’t want to ask an administrative assistant candidate that question, as it doesn’t connect to that job.

By using a combination approach, you touch on core work-related skills along with ones that relate to that exact role. This gives you a better picture of what the applicant brings to the table, making it easier to separate top talent from the rest.

It’s best to choose the questions you want to ask in advance, as well as ask every job seeker the same thing. By having a question list, you create a consistent experience, making it easier to compare candidates. Plus, you don’t have to worry about forgetting something important.

Now, once you have your questions figured out, how do you spot a great answer? In some cases, the content of the response is enough. If the candidate can give you specific examples of them using their skills to excel at work, you’re on the right track. If the candidate provides vague responses, that’s a red flag.

With behavioral interview questions , whether a candidate discusses an approach that seems reasonable matters. After all, the examples they share are usually based on experience. If they act inappropriately in that example, there’s a good chance they’d miss the mark if you hired them, too.

How the candidate responds is also important. While a little nervousness is fine, you want to focus on job seekers who seem confident in their abilities. They should be well-spoken, having given thought to what they were going to say.

It’s also smart to concentrate on candidates that target their answers to your company’s needs. Usually, highly relevant responses show the job seeker did their research and spent time learning about the role and the nature of your business. That’s good stuff, as it shows they are genuinely engaged in the process and interested in the opportunity.

In fact we we wanted to let you know that we created an amazing free cheat sheet that will give you word-for-word answers for some of the toughest interview questions you are going to face in your upcoming interview. After all, hiring managers will often ask you more generalized interview questions!

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Common Mistakes When Asking Interview Questions and How to Avoid Them

Interviewing is a skill, one that often takes time to hone. In the beginning, many managers make various mistakes that harm the candidate experience or prevent them from learning what they need to know. Luckily, by knowing what they are, you can avoid them.

One of the biggest missteps is asking “inappropriate” questions. Usually, this includes anything that relates to a protected status or information that is overly personal. Anything that relates to a candidate’s age, gender, race, religious preferences, disability, or similar topics is a no-go, even if the connection is a bit indirect.

Not respecting the candidate’s time is also a major issue. For example, starting the interview late makes it seem like you don’t value the applicant or that you struggle with organization, both of which don’t reflect well on you or your company.

Intentionally trying to trick or stress out a candidate is something else you should avoid. While you might think it’ll help you figure out how they act under pressure, it won’t actually help you gauge the candidate’s capabilities.

Remember, an interview is already stressful; there’s no need to make it harder. Plus, if you’re actively trying to trip them up, you may be seen as aggressive, unwelcoming, or harsh, harming the candidate experience.

Finally, not giving the candidate your full attention is, in a word, rude. Don’t spend time trying to multitask during your meeting. While you can certainly take notes to make it easier to remember what the candidate shares, don’t try to do anything more than that. Also, silence your notifications and phone, removing these potential distractions from the equation.

Alright, now it’s time for what you’ve been waiting for: the top strategic interview questions to ask candidates.

Now, before we hop in, it’s important to note that this list doesn’t contain everything you might want to ask. This list focuses on questions that could apply to a wide range of jobs, so you’ll also want to find some job-specific ones to throw into the mix.

With that out of the way, here are 50 strategic interview questions to ask candidates:

  • Tell me something about yourself that I may find surprising.
  • Can you tell me about a time you had a disagreement with a coworker? How did you resolve it?
  • Why did you apply to this opening?
  • What do you know about our company?
  • How would you describe our products or services to someone who has never heard of our company?
  • Describe your ideal work environment.
  • How would you describe your perfect manager?
  • Why did you leave your last position?
  • Tell me about a time where you used [skill] to achieve success.
  • What is your greatest strength? What about your greatest weakness?
  • How would you deal with an upset customer or client?
  • What do you think is your greatest achievement?
  • Which trait do you feel is most important for succeeding in this job or field?
  • Tell me about a time where you failed to meet a deadline. What happened, and how did you recover?
  • What part of your work history makes you a good fit for this job?
  • What emerging trend do you think will have the biggest impact on our industry?
  • How do you manage stress?
  • What do you enjoy most about your current job / What did you enjoy most about your last job? What did you enjoy least?
  • Tell me about a time where you disagreed with your manager. How did you proceed?
  • Do you prefer to work independently or collaboratively?
  • If you could change one thing about your most recent workplace, what would it be and why?
  • What do you do to keep your skills current?
  • How would your most recent boss describe you? What about your most recent coworkers?
  • Tell me about a time when you made a mistake at work. What occurred, and what did you do to fix it?
  • What strategies do you use to meet tight deadlines?
  • If you two managers each gave you a high-priority task, how do you determine which one should be done first?
  • Tell me about a time you had to use creativity to solve a problem?
  • What is the most interesting work project you’ve ever had? What about it appealed to you?
  • Can you tell me about a time where you set a challenging goal for yourself? What did you do to make sure you achieved it?
  • What would you do if you were wrapping up a project only to hear that the project goals had changed?
  • How do you prefer to communicate with your manager? What about when you communicate with your coworkers?
  • When you take part in a group project, what role do you usually fill?
  • How do you respond to constructive criticism?
  • In your opinion, is it ever okay to bend the rules? If so, when?
  • What steps are you taking to improve yourself?
  • If you noticed that a coworker was struggling with their workload, what would you do?
  • Tell me about a time where you had to discuss a complex subject with someone who wasn’t particularly savvy on the topic. How did you make sure they understood what you shared?
  • If you could go back in time and change one thing about your career, what would it be and why?
  • What is something that isn’t on your resume that you feel I should know?
  • If you could write your perfect job description, what would it say?
  • Tell me about a time where you set a goal but didn’t reach it. What happened?
  • What are you passionate about?
  • What motivates you?
  • How would you define success in this role?
  • When you arrive at the workplace at the start of the day, what’s the first thing you do?
  • How do you stay organized during the day?
  • Who is your biggest inspiration?
  • What skill do you lack that you wish you had?
  • What’s the biggest workplace decision you ever made?
  • If you could implement a new solution in a workplace, what kind of solution would it be and why?

Top 5 Questions to Avoid Asking Candidates

While there are plenty of strategic interview questions to ask candidates available, there are also certain questions you need to avoid.

If a question has to do with a protected status, either directly or indirectly, it’s a no-go. Similarly, questions that are overly personal are often inappropriate, particularly if they have no bearing on whether a candidate could perform the job.

If you want to make sure you don’t cross the line, here are five example questions to avoid when speaking with candidates.

  • Where are you originally from?
  • Do you have any disabilities I should be aware of?
  • How old are you?
  • Do you plan on starting a family any time soon?
  • Have you ever filed a workers’ compensation claim?

Putting It All Together

Ultimately, all of the strategic interview questions to ask candidates above are worth considering. Choose the ones that will help you identify top-tier applicants for the role you want to fill. Then, create a question list that you can use during each meeting. That way, you’re ensuring you don’t miss an important point and can easily compare candidates, making it easier than ever to find the perfect applicant for the job.

I hope these questions help you find the right candidate!

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  • What Is Your Greatest Weakness?
  • What Is Your Greatest Strength?
  • Tell Me About Yourself
  • Why Should We Hire You?

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interview questions for strategic planning consultants

Co-Founder and CEO of TheInterviewGuys.com. Mike is a job interview and career expert and the head writer at TheInterviewGuys.com.

His advice and insights have been shared and featured by publications such as Forbes , Entrepreneur , CNBC and more as well as educational institutions such as the University of Michigan , Penn State , Northeastern and others.

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interview questions for strategic planning consultants

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Questions to Ask Strategic Planning Consultants

by Funding For Good | Mar 17, 2023 | Strategic Planning

A black tabletop with pencils and papers and lists of questions, demonstrating the value of asking strategic planning consultants smart questions.

If you’re starting strategic planning and interviewing consultants, you might be wondering: What questions should I ask strategic planning consultants?

Most organizations undertaking strategic planning choose to work with a consultant. There are incredible benefits to hiring a strategic planning consultant , rather than going it alone. But choosing the right consultant for your organization can still be challenging.

Asking potential consultants a thoughtful set of questions can make all the difference. That’s why we’ve compiled some of the best questions clients have asked Funding for Good over the years.

Read more: Complete Guide to Strategic Planning Consultants

Interview Questions for Strategic Planning Consultants

When interviewing strategic planning consultants, the goal is to understand how the consultant works, how they facilitate stakeholder engagement and build consensus, what the process and deliverables include, and what the full cost for the proposed scope of work will be.

The top questions we recommend asking consultants are:

  • Have you worked with organizations similar to ours, including sector, size, and growth cycle?
  • Can you walk us through your proposed planning process, including roles, responsibilities, timeline, and outcomes?
  • What strategic planning model do you use? Is the model evidence-based?
  • What is your philosophy of stakeholder engagement?
  • How would you describe your facilitation style?
  • When facilitating planning sessions, how do you balance the potentially competing needs of ensuring full participation, building consensus, and navigating conflicts?
  • What do we, as organizational leaders, need to do to be successful in our strategic planning process?
  • What are the most common challenges you’ve seen organizations like ours struggle with during the strategic planning process?
  • What is included in your proposed fee and what are potential add-on costs?

Are you ready to start the strategic planning process?

Avoiding Surprises

There’s only so much you can learn about a potential staff member or consultant during the interview process. But there are red flags you can look out for:

  • Inability to articulate their approach to core strategic planning functions, such as facilitation, stakeholder engagement, and consensus-building.
  • Unprofessional or incomplete project proposal.
  • Lack of experience or unwillingness to provide previous client referrals.
  • Experience limited to organizations that are very different from your own. For example, if you’re a small business and the consultant has only worked with Fortune 500 companies.
  • Unclear pricing structure with excessive add-on fees. For example, does the consultant charge a day rate for travel?
  • Inability to provide support for potential follow-up services, such as designing implementation plans or facilitating regular strategic plan review sessions.

Looking for More Guidance?

If you’re in the process of evaluating proposals, our Guide to Strategic Planning Consultants further details exactly what to look for.

interview questions for strategic planning consultants

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Stratavize Consulting

10 Questions To Ask Before You Hire A Strategic Planning Consultant

Jun 15, 2020 | SBlog , Strategy

10 Questions To Ask Before You Hire A Strategic Planning Consultant

It is already June! That is right, 2020 is almost half-way finished!  This may lead you and your leadership team to call in a strategic planning consultant but, WAIT… before you do, we have a few questions you should ask before your next strategic planning session.

2020 has turned out to be a very bumpy ride for many organizations, leaving many of us ready to bid farewell to 2020 on December 31 st , 2020.  Some companies have doubled or tripled their sales and others lost almost all of their revenue.  Organizations big and small are looking at their strategic positioning, go-to-market strategy and stress testing the plan through scenario planning. 

Hence, why we are hearing many organizations say it is time for a new strategy and they are ready to hire a strategic planning consultant.  In our experience, there are 6 common drivers for a new strategy , and major market disruption tops the list. We can all agree, 2020 has handed every industry and company disruption!

But, before you start Googling there are a few questions you and your leadership team should ask before you hire a strategic planning consultant.  We have put these questions into two buckets: gut-check questions and hiring questions. 

interview questions for strategic planning consultants

Gut Check Questions

The gut check questions are geared towards looking internally to ensure you, your team, and the organization are ready to take on this work. 

What are the ultimate goals of the strategy? 

First and foremost, you need to establish the goals you want to accomplish with your strategy. This step will help you establish some of the parameters of the strategy and will allow you to give the strategy a little more vision. Having goals for a strategy will allow it to move along easier because you will need to advance it to meet its goals.   Begin the list of goals, in collaboration with your leadership team, prior to contacting a consultant.  This will likely be one of the first questions they will ask.

Do we lack clear differentiation and distinction from our competitors? Or do we lack a clear direction on getting our message to those we serve?   

The first question is about having a clear strategy. Which is to say, are you clear about how you create value in the marketplace?  We define strategy as an organization’s unique positioning and chosen path to reach its best-envisioned future.  The second question is about a clear marketing message.  Too many times we get calls from clients AFTER they have had a marketing firm in to help them with branding, social media, and other marketing efforts.  The clients are frustrated because marketing is not working and now, they are ready to call in a strategist.  Business strategy drives marketing efforts.  The strategy must be clear, and marketing is the vehicle to reach customers.

Do we have the capacity and resources to implement a new strategy?  

Nothing is more frustrating than having a fantastic plan but, not having the people to execute it.  As the old saying goes, execution eats strategy for breakfast or something like that. Strategies can involve a lot of moving parts and it is vital to understand what people and resources are going to be involved within the plan.  Effective implementation and execution is the difference-maker.  

Do we have the financial resources to hire a high-quality consultant? 

You can throw a rock and hit thousands of consultants and consulting firms.  However, finding high-quality, experienced, passionate, and reputable consultants is an investment.  An investment that you should expect to see a return on. Costs vary depending on the complexity of the work and the resources needed to get the work done.  The range for is from $10K to more than $50K.  The more support needed in the implementation phase the more services cost.

What is not working today? 

Before bringing in a Strategic Planning Consultant get clear on what is not working in the organization.  Is it people, products/services, processes, systems, or something else?  Know what isn’t working and know what is working.

Lauralee Hites

Strategic Planning Consultant Hiring Questions

Here are a few questions to consider before contacting a consultant and a few questions to ask once you’ve contact one.  

What’s the consulting firm’s approach to strategic planning? 

Clients tell us all the time, “we had consultants in, and they TOLD us what to do. But we didn’t do it.”  Consulting firms love to bring the solution but, our approach is a collaborative effort.  The solutions should rise from within your organization not from a consultant.  The consulting firm are the guides and facilitators to help your organization break through barriers and open up innovative ways to accomplish your goals.  They should have an approach to how they work with clients.

Can I find reviews, testimonials, or information about their firm on LinkedIn, Google or other platforms?  

Hiring a Strategic Planning Consultant is an investment of time, money, and resources.  It’s important to find the right fit.  When reviewing their website look for reviews, testimonials, or client stories about their experience in working with the firm.   

Do they have a process for getting us from here to there?  

Ask prospective consulting firms what their process is for getting your organization where it wants to go.  You should be looking for a project outline or a roadmap that represents a blueprint of the process.

Do they have expertise I’m looking for? 

This one can be tricky.  Being an expert in strategy design and execution is different than being an expert in a particular industry.   We would argue having strategy expertise is far more important than in-depth industry knowledge.   We work in a variety of industries and we study those industries but, we work to master the art of strategy design and activation. 

Do I like them?  

Capability is important.  After meeting with the consultant, reflect on the interaction.  If you didn’t jive with them – they may not be a great fit.  Consider characteristics like flexibility, candor, and integrity. 

Finally, the competitive landscape continues to evolve, customer behaviors continue to change, and what worked yesterday may not work tomorrow.  These are all factors that drive a new strategy that results in a path forward.  Hiring a strategic planning consultant and strategy design firm can help can breakaway results for your organization but, only if you hire the right fit. 

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  17. Wait! Before You Hire A Strategic Planning Consultant

    This may lead you and your leadership team to call in a strategic planning consultant but, WAIT… before you do, we have a few questions you should ask before your next strategic planning session. 2020 has turned out to be a very bumpy ride for many organizations, leaving many of us ready to bid farewell to 2020 on December 31 st , 2020.

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