skip to navigation skip to content



How to be the best consultant at Gallup

In our new series ‘How to be the best…’ we hear from recruiters on the frontline about what it takes to make it in their world.

MBA consultants

As you would expect of the world’s largest human behaviour ‘measurers’, Gallup feels it is uniquely placed when it comes to assessing the kind of talent the company itself wants to attract.

The research and strategic consulting giant has spent the last eighty years developing the science of measuring how humans think, feel and behave – an ideal platform from which to carry out their own recruitment.

Director of Talent Sourcing, Saurav Atri has no hesitation when asked what he looks for in a potential MBA consultant:

‘Talent. It’s their talent that makes a person unique. Skills and knowledge can be important but those things can be taught. We measure and understand talent probably better than anyone – measurement of human behaviour is what we do after all! We have a very finely honed talent assessment process, including our own specially developed psychometric tools that help us identify the right people for the right role.’

Once Atri has established that the candidate has the kind of talent that would fit at Gallup, other factors come into play:

‘We look for what corporate exposure the person has had – work experience, projects, internships – that has taught them how to operate in the corporate world. Things like etiquette, grooming, ability to adapt to the culture. These are all important. Ultimately I need to ask myself – could I put this person in front of the CEO?’

Then it is confidence, self-motivation and the ability to take ownership that Atri is seeking to tick off his list:

‘Confidence is vital – we want people who feel they can change the world. As the culture at Gallup is entrepreneurial, they also have to be self-starters, able to operate effectively with minimal supervision. We don’t give people managers, we give them a ‘Go-to’ who is there for guidance, but ultimately we believe in hiring the best talent and letting them run with it.’

When it comes to previous work experience, Atri describes Gallup as ‘agnostic’, accepting all backgrounds, and even none for exceptional cases. Talent and attitude trump experience every time:

‘We take a deep dive into how candidates feel, think and behave and how they describe their reactions to past situations in work and in life. This tells us a huge amount about how they will react at work.’

So what are the nuts and bolts of the Gallup recruitment process? Candidates go through three steps: an online application process, including an online talent assessment form; then a phone interview with a talent analyst to probe further into thinking and behaviour; and finally, a face-to-face meeting with hiring managers.

Post-recruitment, what can new consultants expect in terms of development? Along with the space and light-touch support to find their own path in the company, Gallup also offers their renowned online assessment StrengthsFinder programme to its own people.

StrengthsFinder has taken the corporate world by storm since its launch in 2001 and is fully available to Gallup consultants themselves, to help them develop their innate talents.

Atri comments: “When we bring someone in we try to put them in the right role that will set them up for success from the start. But we also help them develop – and the consultation path itself is fast-paced at Gallup and offers rapid growth for individuals.”

And that career path is set to become even more attractive for would-be consultants as Gallup prepares to announce a major new partnership with McKinsey, offering organisations the full gamut of consultation expertise, and MBA recruits – an opportunity potentially unrivalled in the world of corporate consulting.

For these potential consultants, Atri has honed his advice into five top tips:

  1. We’re often told, when growing up, to work hard on our weaknesses and become a good all-rounder. I say concentrate on your strengths – invest the eight years and 10,000 hours it takes to become an expert – it’s what will make you unique.
  2. Go experiment. Find what you’re passionate about – what you would do even if you didn’t get paid. That’s the thing you should devote your career to.
  3. Have a coach and a mentor. Your coach will turn you from a swimmer into a medal winner by examining all aspects of your performance. Your mentor is the one who has done it all before and can advise you from their own hard-won experience.
  4. Create your own X-Factor – the thing that creates an exceptional differentiating factor that you can talk about to recruiters or investors.
  5. Build relationships – including with yourself. Making the right relationships is crucial to your career – and don’t neglect the one with yourself. Understand and develop who you are – everyone has their own unique power and potential.