PwC Student Skills Session

December 2012

Recently we had PwC visit us, and they let us into some secrets of the graduate recruitment process.

Apply early – The starting dates for graduate programmes are getting earlier and earlier each year, and many recruiters wait until they have recruited their new intake and then just close the programme, often before the closing date.

Do some self-assessment – Essentially spend time thinking before you make an application as to why you are applying for them.  Do some research into the organisation to decide if this is really the route you want to go down.

Make time –  to devote to the application.

What kind of candidates are PwC looking for?

PwC noted that they are looking for people who can do the following:

  • Lead and contribute to team success
  • Develop self and others through coaching
  • Be passionate about client/customer service

They also talked about where most graduates make mistakes with their applications:

  • Poor spelling and grammar – they suggested putting the document in Word first and run spell check through it – and don’t forget to ask a friend, or CareerCentral, to read it through for you.
  • Lack of detail in the answers on the application form
  • Lack of preparation in thinking about how to answer the questions, and feeling that answers were rushed. It’s okay to take a breath before responding!
  • Not enough research
  • Copying information off the website.

Top tips for psychometric assessments, interviews (including telephone interviews):

Prepare some specific examples to help you answer the competency type questions, such as ‘Tell us about a time when you have led and contributed to team success?’  Make sure you talk about the contribution you made, not the team as a whole!  They also mentioned the STAR technique for answering competency questions

S – situation

T – task

A – action

R – result     

For telephone interviews, PwC suggested having your application form and notes in front of you.  They also suggested using a landline, as it won’t suddenly lose connection, and most importantly, make sure you smile while talking, as it changes the tone of your voice!

They mentioned that the main reasons for failure are:

  • No preparation
  • Waffling
  • Failure to listen to the question
  • No structure to answers
  • Wrong attitude

Some example interview questions that they mentioned are:

1) Tell me what your greatest achievement to date has been and why?

2) Tell me about a recent business issue you have read about.  What is your opinion and why does this issue interest you?

If you’re interested in evenings at PwC, check out the below:

  • Open days/Evenings
  • Summer internship

See here for more information on careers at PwC.


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