Anyone had any Kingston Smith 2011 experiences?

Kingston Smith

I have just passed the online test stage and wondered what i should expect for the next stage. Any help would be awesome.


I have recently been offered an AAT Training contract with Kingston Smith at their city office in Barbican commencing in September 2011. They offer 9 places on the AAT scheme (either school leaver’s with BBB A Levels or above or people with a degree at 2:2 level) and 22 graduate places this year.

Following the online testing, I was called by KS telling me I was successful in the first round and they would like to book me in for a short 10 minute telephone interview with me. The questions were very straightforward on this phone call and fairly informal. Questions such as, why accountancy? what do you know about the AAT scheme? why not going to University?

The next day I was invited to an assessment day at the City office in London and told I had to present a 3 minute presentation on any topic of my choice to a small group and one of the managers at KS.

The assessment day is the most formal stage of the interview. When i went there were around 15 applicants, competing for places on either the grad scheme or the school leaver scheme. We firstly had to complete 2 paper-based, multiple-choice tests, the first one was data interpretation and the second was similar, just no mathematics needed to be done.

Following this, we then were split into groups of 4 or 3, and were taken off into smaller rooms to deliver our presentations. Once this had ended we were then all taken back into the larger room to sit and wait while they deliberated on who was leaving at this early stage of the interview. The group was cut from 15 to about 10, and then the successful applicnats then had lunch with some other trainees and graduates who were working at Kingston Smith, where we asked questions about the experiences of theirs and what the company was like to work for.

Follwoing the lunch, we had our 40 minute competency based interview’s with various member’s from HR where they read through your CV, application form, and asked questions from a list of pre-arranged questions; such as

why are you a suitable candidate?
why did you take the A-Level’s which you did?
Why this and not University?
Why have you chosen this career?

This was a fairly relaxed affair and is nothing to worry about; huge chunks of this time was the woman trying to sell the job to me, not the other way round. Following this assessment day I was rang the next day by the same lady who interviewed me telling me that I was through to the final stage of interviews, this time with the Partner at the city office and asking me when was a good time to be seen by him.

This interview was more formal but very similar to the previous interview at the assessment day, and was more abou the partner getting to understand more about you and could get along with you in the workplace. I was rang two days after the interview by HR, who informed me I was successful in my application and they offered me the job and sent the contract in the post.

KS seems like an amazing company to work for and would definately recommend it to anyone!


Cheers, that is an awesome reply! Congratulations on your job offer. I have just been informed that I am through to the assessment centre at the City office and your experience will definitely help my preparation. Thanks so much. They do seem like a good company to work for.

Just wondering, what did you do your presentation on?


Hey lwo7bm,

I’m also through to an assessment centre with KS, which one are you going to? Have you had any thoughts on what topic to do your presentation on? I have no idea!



Ye good luck with your interview’s,

I did my presentation on how football is run as a business. I was quite unsure whether this was appropriate as other people in my group did it on certain aspects of accountancy, but they told me in the interview that it was not about the content, it was to see the candidates presentation skills and how they can communicate and interact with others.

So I’d reccomend just doing it on something your passionate about and feel confident speaking to others about.

Good luck


Cheers for that accountancy92, i have a subject in mind now.

Sarahbles, mine is next week. How about you?


In reply to accountancy92 and every1else applying to KS…i actually didnt get thru to the interview stage because my presentation wasn’t relevant enuf…the HR lady told me that my actual presentation skills were good enough but i should have taken into consideration my target audience. ie the Senior manager (even though the majority of your audience are applicants :S) so id say that you talk about something accountancy/business related…


Hey lwo7bm, mine’s on the 12th Jan, couldn’t make the 21st Dec. I have a business related topic in mind so I hope it’ll be alright. Good luck with yours!



How did your assessment centre go?


It went okay but i did not get through to the final stage. The first thing you do is the numerical and verbal tests. The verbal is easy but the numerical is quite challenging. It is probably the hardest numerical reasoning test i have done. You need about 75% on each to get through. Just work quickly and you should be fine.

The presentations are a bit weird and we all found it quite a strange thing to do. I did a SWOT analysis on a company i worked for and did fine. Don’t use complex language and make sure everyone understands what you are saying. One guy didn’t get through because his presentation was too complex. Speak clearly as well and everyone used a script for theirs.

Then we all go back to the main room and get called one-by-one to find out if we are through. A really horrible way of doing it i thought. Those who stayed had lunch and then the interview which is just the standard competency based interview.

To be honest, I wasn’t very impressed with them on the day, and i think this shone through in my interview as the main reason i wasn’t put through was because I didn’t give a clear enough answer as to why i wanted to work for KS.

Good luck with your assessment day. If nothing else, it is good practice for future interviews.


Anyone have advice on the phone interview? Questions etc? Thanks!


I found the numerical test really simple; when I asked the HR lady that called me today what my results were, she said that I got 88% on the Verbal and 97% on the numerical. I thought I’d really struggled on the Verbal so I’m pleased to have done quite well.

I’ve got my telephone interview on Thursday so I’m quite excited about that. It sounds pretty similar to the HAT telephone interview, if anyone has had an interview with HAT. Just want a brief overview of the applicant. I don’t think it should be too bad.

Assessment centre (if I get there) sounds quite daunting. Is this presentation going to be Powerpoint based or something different? How long should I spend preparing for it?!
Too many questions to ask!

Anyways, thank you guys for the advice.


I’d like to ask you how long they took to get back to you after sitting the tests. I took the tests last Thursday and hav’t heard from them yet.
Can you share your experience from the telephone interview?

Many thanks


If I sat those tests on the day I got them, then that was the 7th March.
I got a call a week later (14th) telling me I passed and was invited to a telephone interview which was arranged on the 17th. That was delayed till the 21st for whatever reason.

I cant remember everything she asked but she did ask me:
What is the layout of the ACA qualification
What are 3 important attributes that an accountant should have

From answering the phone call to saying goodbye, the interview took 9 minutes


@ Lotak. I was talking about the numerical at the assessment centre. It is more difficult than the online test but if you got 97% then you will be fine :).

The assessment centre isn’t too bad. No powerpoint slides are needed and you can have a script with you. It was my first one which, i think, is one of the reasons i failed. Just be confident and prepare for it. Just do the presentation on a company you worked for or one you admire and you should be fine. Practice in front of friends and speak slowly and clearly.

@zorry_zz I don’t remember the telephone interview being too difficult. I think it was all about why KS, why audit, why London, etc. Just prepare answers to these and do some research on the firm and you should be fine. It is only 10 minutes long.

Any other questions feel free to ask?


Hi Guys!

I just sat their online tests and was bit worried about my performance. In the numerical test, I was able to do the first 17 questions easily but fell short of time for the last three. Neverthless, I completed the test but I am not sure with how much accuracy. The verbal was fine. I was wondering if any one of you have got any idea about what’s the passing marks for KS is and when should I hear from them?




Hey ca1254, have no idea what their pass mark is, but they got back to me within a few days to say I had passed. If you answered 17 and are confident they were all right that would probably be fine! Hope that helps.


Hey Jobhunter23! Thanks again! Hope it works out.


anyone had a final interview with a partner for ACA position and can offer any advice? or give some insight as to what it was like/what questions were asked??



I have my assessment day coming up and was wondering if someone who has had theirs could tell me the different topics the candidates presented on? I have an idea in mind but just want to see how it compares to the approaches of others.

Many thanks :slight_smile: