I’m an established user here. I’ve created a new account since I would like to remain anonymous for this question. Please note that I can’t answer your comments/ answers.
At the beginning of my career I spent 3 years working as a management consultant receiving excellent performance reviews. I was successful both according to my project managers and clients, who stressed that I’m smart, very dedicated, structured, reliable and listen to them. I wouldn’t like to sound arrogant here. But you should take my word that I was good as a consultant. I also liked this job, learning new things, I loved working with clients.
Now after a short stay in another field, I would love to go back into consulting. I’ve had several job interviews already. Management consulting interviews are case interviews. You are normally given cases to solve.
I’ve had one positive answer from a small company, but also quite a lot of rejections. The motives of rejections were different and sometimes contradictory, e.g. “your answer wasn’t precise enough and you committed mistakes in the math but you passed the airport test ["likability test"] very well”, “I’m sure our clients would love you but your answers weren’t structured enough”. (This was the feedback from two Tier 1 consulting companies). "We don't think you have enough experience for this position but we found you a very friendly, communicative person" (middle-size unknown consulting company).
However, I’ve already received twice the feedback that was simply extremely negative. The feedback was “consulting is not for you, you’re too introverted and I can’t imagine you standing in front of the client and convincing them to anything. You're just not the consulting type, it simply doesn't play to your strengths. You should analyse data but not work in consulting”. (One company was a Tier 3, one a small unknown consultancy). The tone was friendly but the content of the feedback really bad.
Now, the truth is I’m not as extroverted as the stereotypical, noisy, arrogant management consultant - they were right in pointing that out. I’ve suspected I have a light form of Asperger’s for some time now. I don’t normally notice it while working and it provokes no problems (apart from in how I come across at some job interviews). I am very pro-active, can take the lead and have already managed big projects with much more senior people including CEOs. But I do understand that my difficulties with sustaining the eye contact for example (I don’t have problems looking people in the eye when I’m listening but have huge problems doing so when I’m speaking or thinking intensively) can create the impression of my being shy or reserved or very introverted. And as I have my interviews abroad, using a language which I speak fluently but which isn't my mother tongue (normally all other candidates come from the country I apply in), I need to focus a lot.
You can imagine that receiving such a harsh feedback does impact my confidence.
As a result I don’t know whether I should believe the feedback or not. But I really do like consulting and was given such an excellent feedback while working in this character that I simply don’t know what I should do next if I assume consulting is really not for me.
So the question is: How to distinguish valuable feedback from rubbish? Which feedback should be believed and serve as a basis for career decisions and which not?
P.S. To all IT professionals here: You can't imagine how I envy you if you are really assessed on your tangible skills, not impressions :)