Working as a consultant for a big firm can be a challenging but rewarding career. Booz Allen Hamilton stands out among consulting firms because it’s mission-focused, has a flexible culture, and has a better work-life balance than other big consulting firms.
So if you’re applying to or interviewing with Booz Allen Hamilton, what are the key things you need to know to be successful?
In this article, we’ll discuss:
- Booz Allen Hamilton’s values and culture,
- The Booz Allen Hamilton interview process,
- What Booz Allen looks for in fit/behavioral interviews,
- What Booz Allen looks for in case interview, and
- Our 5 tips for acing your Booz Allen interview.
Let’s get started!
Booz Allen Hamilton’s Values and Culture
Booz Allen was established in 1914, on the eve of World War 1, by psychology graduate Edwin G. Booz. At a time when the world was moving into a new era of Lean manufacturing, pioneered by Henry Ford, Booz insisted that “people, not products” were the basis for organizational success.
For over 100 years, Booz Allen Hamilton has taken pride in its innovative and tenacious approach to solving problems.
The company does a lot of work for the U.S. Government. They acted as the first consultants to NASA in 1958 and remain deeply involved with NASA and other parts of the government to this day. They supported the Department of the Treasury to become an early adopter of cloud technology, one of the first in government. They’ve also done work with the Department of Energy, the Army, the Department of Defence, and the Center for Disease Control.
This history has significantly impacted the Booz Allen culture and helped shape its 5 core values:
- Ferocious integrity. Do the right thing and hold yourself and others accountable for their choices and actions
- Unflinching courage. Bring bold thinking and “speaking truth to power.” Have courage in your convictions irrespective of the pressure from other influences.
- Passionate service. Listen to others in order to build meaningful relationships. Create communities through generosity and empathetic action. Above all, “embrace the mission.”
- Champion’s heart. Strive to be the best and to bring passion to the work you do. However, it’s also essential to find joy in the work you’re doing and to view failure as an opportunity for learning and growth.
- Collective ingenuity. Be creative and resourceful in how you approach problems, always seeking to make a difference. Recognize and harness the skills and capabilities of others, so your impact is greater than the sum of its parts.
It’s important to consider Booz Allen’s values and history as you decide whether to apply. Does the company feel like a good fit for you?
If Booz Allen is a fit, tailor your cover level and behavioral interview stories to show you also identify with these values. This will significantly boost your chances of moving on in the recruiting process.
The Booz Allen Hamilton Recruiting Process
The Booz Allen Hamilton Application
When you apply to Booz Allen Hamilton, you’ll need to do your research as you need to choose a specific role.
Booz Allen Hamilton recruits for positions in 5 different areas, so choose the one that suits your skills and interests:
- Digital Solutions
The company has lots more information about the different specializations on their website and encourages you to follow them on social media to get a feel for the job.
For students, check out your school’s job portal for opportunities and apply there first. This then sets you up to complete your interview on-campus. You can also network at on-campus Booz Allen Hamilton events.
Other candidates will need to set up a profile on the Booz Allen candidate portal, Workday. After that, you can apply directly to roles of interest and attend informational events offered via their website.
Nail the case & fit interview with strategies from former MBB Interviewers that have helped 85% of our clients pass the case interview.
The Booz Allen Hamilton Interview Process
Once you’ve submitted your application, if your skills and capabilities match what Booz Allen is looking for, they’ll be in touch to schedule an initial phone screen.
Booz Allen stresses that they want candidates to feel clear about the recruitment process and as well-prepared as possible. They provide a “hiring roadmap” that details how the process works.
After the initial phone screening, there are a series of technical screens, video interviews, and individual or panel interviews by the recruiting team.
Exactly which of these elements you’ll need to do is dependent on the role applied for.
What Booz Allen Looks for in Fit / Behavioral Interviews
Unlike many consulting firms, Booz Allen places a greater emphasis on behavioral and fit questions than they do on a typical case interview. Though candidates interviewing for the Analytics, Digital Solutions, Engineering, and Cyber groups will have a greater focus on technical questions.
Booz Allen places a significant emphasis on people. It describes its culture as “kindred” and cares about recruiting people that fit well with its values.
For this reason, candidates may face several behavioral interviews during the recruiting process.
Early on in the Booz Allen Hamilton interview process, most candidates will be asked to walk the recruiter through their resume. Prepare for this by looking at your resume and identifying the achievements that you are particularly proud of or that fit well with the Booz Allen culture and values. Develop stories around them to answer fit interview questions and workshop them with friends to make sure they’re polished for your interview.
Booz Allen is interested in you as an individual, so be sure to mention experiences that makes you unique and explain why and how you got involved in it.
Answering behavioral questions well requires you to do 3 main things:
- Explain the context
- Give an example of how you’ve used the skill the interviewer is looking for
- Describe the positive impact of your actions.
The ASTAR (E) Framework acts as a helpful way to approach and structure your answer to any behavioral question.
Sample Booz Allen Hamilton Fit Interview Questions
Tell Me About a Time That You Exhibited Leadership Qualities
As a consultant, you’re given the responsibility of leading work early in your career.
This question gives Booz Allen Hamilton the chance to explore your leadership skills and experience to date.
- Start by explaining the circumstances in which you acted as a leader. Who or what were you leading, and what were you tasked to do?
- Next, describe the leadership qualities you demonstrated and how they acted to move the work forward.
- Finally, expand on the impact your leadership had. What was the outcome of the task? If you were leading as a team, how did they react to your leadership? What evidence do you have that you were successful?
Describe the Greatest Challenge in Your Last Job and How You Addressed It
In answering this question, Booz Allen is looking to see how resilient you are and how confident you are in handling adversity.
Courage and integrity are Booz Allen Hamilton’s top 2 values, so using an example where you’ve had to demonstrate those is smart.
Perhaps you had to handle a problematic colleague who acted without integrity, and you called them out? Or perhaps you noticed someone more senior making mistakes and had to raise the issue?
Or maybe you made a significant mistake and had to share that with others. In that case, describing how you put things right and what you learned from the experience could be a powerful story to tell.
What Project Are You Most Proud Of and What Was Your Role In It?
This question allows you to share a time when you contributed to a project or team to make a positive difference.
- Start by describing the project you’re proud of. What were you working on, and why was it important?
- Secondly, talk about your role. What was your contribution to the team or project? How did you shape the role to fit your skills? How did you work with others to maximize the impact you had?
- Finally, talk about how your specific contribution made a difference to the outcome of the project. How did you know it had made a positive impact? What feedback did you receive from others?
Tell Me About a Difficult Technical Problem You’ve Encountered and How You Resolved It
This question is looking to discover how you solve tricky problems.
A core skill in consulting is understanding and analyzing client problems, synthesizing information, and offering a sensible, comprehensive solution to solve them.
- Start by explaining the context. What was the problem you faced, and why was it causing an issue for your team, project, or business?
- Next, describe what information you gathered and what steps you took in order to offer a solution for the problem that you encountered.
- Finally, explain how your solution resolved the issue and what impact that had.
Find out more about preparing for Behavioral Interviews in our guide.
What Booz Allen Looks For in a Case Interview
Booz Allen Hamilton gives consulting recruits case interviews as well as fit interviews. Case interviews are sample business problems that reflect the ones that they solve for clients.
Example: A North American pharmaceuticals manufacturer wants to increase its profit margin by 5%. How can they do this?
Case interviews are meant to test for structured problem solving, so it’s good to have a approach that shows this skill. Here’s the 4 step approach we recommend.
1 | Make Sure You Understand the Question Being Asked
A great way to do this is to repeat back to the interviewer what you’ve understood the client’s problem to be and any expected outcomes.
2 | Take Your Time to Process All the Information You Have About the Issue
Silence during an interview can feel daunting, but since your interviewer is looking for a structured problem-solving approach, it’s much better to plan out your approach carefully than rush to answer and potentially miss something important.
Frameworks can be useful to both organize data and decide how you want to tackle the case.
We’ve got a list of Case Interview Frameworks that can help you break down the problem, but don’t be afraid to tweak a framework to suit the case you’re facing.
It shows an interviewer you’re adaptable and can think independently.
Once you’ve decided on an approach, share this with the interviewer. It’s an opportunity for them to guide you if you’re off track or if you’ve missed anything.
3 | Ask Questions to Get the Case Facts You Need
Now’s the time to ask for more information on any gaps you’ve identified in the data and use the answers to help shape your recommendation to the client.
4 | Make Your Recommendation Based on Everything You’ve Learned
In the final step, summarize all the information you’ve gathered during the interview.
This should include your understanding of the problem the client is facing, the key issues you’ve identified, and any assumptions you’ve made.
It should finish with a clear recommendation on how to tackle the problem and any risks associated with that approach.
For more information and video examples of great case interview answers, check out our Comprehensive Guide to Case Interview Prep.
Our 5 Tips for Acing Your Booz Allen Hamilton Interview.
Tip 1: Research
Understanding the role you’re expected to do and how you can make an impact, is important.
There’ll be questions on what you know about your potential job role, the Booz Allen Hamilton culture and values, and what you expect your career pathway to be.
Make sure you’ve considered why Booz Allen is the right firm for you and can share where you hope to be after 5 years.
Tip 2: Take Your Time
Make sure to pause and consider your response before answering questions, especially case questions that require a structured response. Even though every second in an interview can feel like an eternity, it’s much better to take the time to organize your thoughts than rush your answer and possibly leave something out.
If you need extra time to think, you can always flag that to the interviewer. Saying, “I’d just like to take a moment to think about your question so I can offer the best possible answer,” shows that you’re confident enough to control the pace of the interview.
Tip 3: Ask Questions
Whether you’re searching for more information in the case interview or interested in training and development opportunities within the firm, make sure you ask your consulting interviewer good questions.
On their website, Booz Allen emphasizes that thoughtful questions can be a powerful way to engage your interviewer.
Plus, remember that the interview is a chance for you to see if you think that Booz Allen is a match for you, not just the other way around!
Tip 4: Prepare In Advance
Anything you can do to make you feel more confident during the interview is time well spent:
- Practice case interviews with a friend, family member, or trained coach to make sure you’ve nailed down your approach.
- Learn a few case interview frameworks to give structure to how you tackle problems.
- Read, and re-read any instructions you’re given about the interview process. Make sure you know where you’re going, and when, who you’re meeting, and have any documentation you need with you.
- Before the video interview, make sure your tech is working well and that you’re in a quiet space where you won’t be disturbed. For more on how to successfully tackle video interviews, check out our article on Virtual Case Interviews.
Tip 5: Be Yourself
No one else has the same unique story as you do. Make sure to highlight the key skills and capabilities that make you you. Booz Allen cares about their people as individuals so make sure to show off the things you are passionate about and how you contribute and make a difference.
– – – – –
In this article, we’ve covered:
- The Booz Allen Hamilton culture and company values,
- The Booz Allen Hamilton recruiting process,
- What’s assessed in the Booz Allen behavioral interview,
- How to structure the Booz Allen case interview, and
- Our top tips for success in a Booz Allen Hamilton interview.
Still have questions?
If you have more questions about the Booz Allen Hamilton case interview, leave them in the comments below. One of My Consulting Offer’s case coaches will answer them.
Other people prepping for Booz Allen Hamilton case interview found the following pages helpful:
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Nail the case & fit interview with strategies from former MBB Interviewers that have helped 85% of our clients pass the case interview.