Thought Leadership

Executive Search

How to recruit Bain, BCG and McKinsey management consultants


by Steven Stewart
Senior Practice Leader at Charles Aris Inc.

If you’re in a position whereby you’ve recently tried to hire a Bain, BCG or McKinsey consultant for your team or organization, you know that we are in a candidate-driven market – the likes of which we’ve not seen since 2007, maybe even 2000.

So how do you attract such a highly sought-after candidate in an ultracompetitive market? Here are three tips to help drive your success:

  • Know your competition. When recruiting strategy consultants into your organization for the first time, it’s easy to mistake the consulting firm as your competition. “If they leave McKinsey to join us, they can get off the road, spend time with their friends and families, and get their weekends back!” While all of this may be true, bear in mind you’re not competing with McKinsey for this candidate’s attention. Instead, you’re competing with five other companies who are trying to hire the exact same profile.
  • Know your “So what?” Once you’ve acknowledged that you’re competing with other organizations, it’s important to come up with your “So what?” First, recognize that the career opportunities strategy consultants are considering upon exiting consulting have all of the same perks which your opportunity will afford them: better work-life balance, less travel, a bright and talented team, competitive pay, matching 401(k), full relocation package, etc. In other words, yesterday’s differentiators are today’s table stakes. So, then, what makes your role so different? Maybe it offers a clear path to a P&L role. Perhaps it will afford that consultant the proverbial “seat at the table” whereby the candidate will rub elbows with some of the most senior executives in the organization. Perhaps it’s a new team, product or function through which the candidate’s success can materially impact the growth or trajectory of the company.
  • Sell the Four Reasons. There are Four Reasons A-players will make a career change: Company, People, Job and Opportunity. I’ve listed the questions candidates will typically ask themselves about each of these four:

1. Company – “Does this company have a brand name? Are they known as leaders in their industry? Does the organization’s leadership have a compelling strategy to realize their growth goals?”

2. People – “How long have most team members been with the company? What skills do they bring to the table? What will I learn from them that I don’t already know? What’s the management style of my superiors? What’s the work/life balance? How social is the team?”

3. Job – “What will I be doing on a daily basis? What challenges will I be expected to solve? How will solving these challenges impact the welfare of the business? How far from the top does my boss stand in the organizational structure? What level of exposure to senior leaders can I expect?”

4. Opportunity – “What do the compensation and benefits look like? Where does this position lead within the organization? How quickly can I move up? What milestones must I achieve to ensure promotion?”

Recognizing ahead of time how candidates will evaluate your opportunity, you can structure your interview in such a way that not only are you qualifying the candidate, you’re also selling them.

There are multiple variables that play a part in landing a Bain, BCG or McKinsey consultant – including timing, location and, yes, sometimes a little luck. But once you know your competition and the unique value proposition your role has to offer, you’re well on your way!


"Thanks, Charles Aris, appreciate your dedication in finding such great talent for us to select from."

— The VP of Strategic Product Management for a Fortune 30 retailer, responding to an email informing him that Charles Aris Inc.'s candidate had just accepted the retailer's job offer.