The graduate recruitment process can seem really daunting: even if you survive the initial application sift, you can still look forward to a further two or three stages before you reach the final hurdle. But the key to success lies in preparation and understanding what the interviewer is looking for, so I caught up with Claire Jones, Student Recruitment Officer at PwC, to ask for her top tips to beat the odds.
Whichever opportunity you’re applying for at PwC (or anywhere else), there are some things that you should be thinking about so we’ve put together some hints and tips:
Do your research
We’ll expect you to be able to talk coherently and confidently about PwC, the position you’re applying for, the business world in general and yourself. The more you know about these things, the more prepared you’ll be, so you’ll have to get researching.
Think about investigating the following sources of information:
- Our brochures and website (careers and corporate)
- The financial media (press, television, internet)
- Relevant professional bodies (especially if they offer a qualification you’re interested in pursuing)
- Anyone you know who works for PwC (or a similar firm)
Don’t just give them a quick glance the day before your interview. Examine them, understand the issues and keep yourself up to date.
Completing your application form
Remember first impressions count so the application form is a major opportunity to sell yourself. Before you complete the form, you may find it useful to gather accurate details of your university and secondary education exam results, work experience and employment. While completing the form, remember to:
- Read and follow instructions carefully.
- Proof read everything you write including checking grammar and spelling.
- Be concise as you can elaborate at interview.
- Don’t repeat statements you’ve read in our brochures and website.
- Don’t be vague or lie about your results as we will check your academics at a later stage in the process.
Taking the tests
These tests help to determine your numerical, logical or verbal reasoning ability.
- You can practise taking the tests before you sit the real ones.
- The test will be timed and you should work as quickly and accurately through the questions you’re presented with.
- Ensure you read each question carefully and that you understand what’s required before committing yourself to an answer, especially where multiple choice answers appear similar.
We’ll also ask you to complete an Occupational Personality Questionnaire and you may be asked to complete a Student Talent Questionnaire.
Preparing for interview
Interviews can be nerve wracking, but the more prepared you are the more relaxed you should feel. Ensure to:
- Do thorough research prior
- Remind yourself of the things you’ve done that can help you demonstrate the skills and qualities we’ve listed
- Think about the questions you’re likely to be asked and your responses
- Come up with questions you want to ask
We’ll be looking to find out:
- Why you want to join PwC
- What you understand about the work we do
- What you think about the vacancy you’ve chosen
During the interview
Be truthful and concise, answer the exact questions asked and don’t ramble about irrelevant things. Our interviewers are not given a set list of questions to go through but you can expect most to be in relation to our ‘Global Core Competencies’ such as:
- What do you know about our business?
- Why have you decided to apply to us?
- Are there any issues or current affairs that interest you?
- What has been your biggest challenge?
- When have you worked in teams?
- How are you able to juggle your commitments?
Remember, we’re not expecting you to be perfect but preparing for some of these questions will certainly help you to feel confident that you’ve given it your best shot.
At the assessment centre
- Prepare what you’re going to wear beforehand – if in doubt, dress conservatively.
- All materials required such as paper and pens will be provided for you. You can bring your own calculator but if you choose not to, one will be provided for you.
- Make sure you bring all necessary additions eg reading glasses, inhaler, prescribed medication.
- You’ll undertake numerical, logical and verbal reasoning tests (depending on your business area) so prepare yourself for these and work through the practice information sent in advance.
- During the written exercise, you’ll be required to read the briefing materials and prepare a written report on the given subject.
- You’ll participate in either a group discussion or individual exercise so ensure that you speak clearly and audibly so that the assessors can hear you.
- There’ll probably be at least one and up to 11 other participants attending the same assessment day but remember you’re not in competition with them but judged on your own, individual merits.
And finally – good luck!