BDO First Interview


Quick question: do BDO ask any commercial awareness questions at their first interview?
Apart from that, is the info on this site still accurate about what happens? (20 min presentation, 45 min interview, competencies are: risk taking, working under pressure, teamwork, taking criticism, and completing work for someone to look at)

Thanks for any responses!


I had my first round for business assurance the other day.

There wasn’t a 20 min presentation for me, and I was alone on the day.

My first requirement was to take my interviewer through my CV, which took about five minutes- as far as I can remember he didn’t interrupt to ask questions. Then we moved onto classic competency questions:

Teamwork: When have you had to present something to a team? What is your teamworking style? When have you had an ineffective team member and how did you deal with him/her? When have you had to promote a society or cause and how did you do it?
Innovation: When have you shown innovation to achieve a goal?
Commercial Awareness: How do you keep up to date with financial news? What has recently caught your eye?
Time management: When have you had to work under pressure?
BDO: Tell me what you know about BDO. Why business assurance, why did you choose this city? Which other firms have you applied to?

I didn’t get asked about negative criticism, risk taking or showing work to others.

If I remember any other questions I’ll post them, but these are the ones that immediately come to mind.


Damn, that’s quite different. Thanks Mugicha.
My service line is tax, has anyone had an interview recently for that? Bit worried now that the prep I have done might not be all that useful!


That’s a great post Mugicha, thanks very much. I have an interview with BDO on Tuesday, this is excellent stuff, interview preparation gold!

Was the interview fairly structured, in that the interviewer had a list of prepared questions?

In how much detail were you questioned with regards to your chosen service line?

I’m a little bit nervous, so any further info would be greatly appreciated!


I’ve had first-round interviews with BDO, E&Y and Deloitte now.

I found E&Y interview friendly and convivial, and rather enjoyed the eccentric questions.
Deloitte interview was very austere with a very rigid structure with interviewer speaking no more than absolutely necessary.

BDO, then, was somewhere in between. The interviewer was friendly but professional. My competency answers would often form the basis of a short dialogue. I’d say the interviewer had about 12 half-page boxes on his assessment sheets to fill in. I was rarely interrupted, but occasionally would be asked to expand on my answer or qualify it a bit more.

I’ve had a lot of experience in journalism and I was also specifically asked, “so why have you chosen not to pursue a journalistic career?”

@lukeb: You should certainly have a structured answer ready for why you’ve chosen your service line. But on top of that, take more time than you usually would to learn about BDO and how they differ from Big 4 firms. One of the questions, as I mentioned earlier, was: “tell me what you know about BDO.” I think you should go armed with a few facts and figures from the website (70% growth in revenue over last two years, number of countries it operates in etc.) in preparation for this.

A couple more questions I’ve just recalled:

  • “How do you think the credit crunch has affected BDO’s services?”
  • “How would you decide which job offer to take up, if you were successful with more than one firm?”

Thanks very much, that really is very useful. I’m certainly feeling a bit more confident about the interview now - I could probably give a decent answer to most of those questions already, and hopefully now with a bit more preparation I’ll be able to ace them!

So did you get through your interview? BDO really appeal, from what I’ve read I would seriously consider an offer from them over a Big 4 firm.

Thanks again, and good luck with the job hunting!


Thanks for that, found it helpful.

I’m a bit stuck on the innovation type question though, can anyone give me a bit of advice on that or any examples they might use just to help me out? I’m sure there’s something which I’m just missing, but right now I’m struggling with that one.


Innovation is about bringing something new to an established method or concept. Think of a time when you suggested or did something eccentric. Did it work? Your interviewer wants to hear how you addressed a certain task/challenge and what questions you asked yourself before coming up with this novel idea.

Always structure your answers CAR - context, action, result - as advised on the interview techniques section of this site. Substituting ‘context’ for ‘challenge’ might also help you think about it.

I would offer you my own example but I don’t want to give myself away too much.

Incidentally, another question I’ve just remembered from my interview is: “tell me about a time you’ve delegated.”



Good luck with your interview tomorrow!


Thanks Mugicha. Your help was very useful and much appreciated.

It went reasonably well, and I’ve just received an email telling me I’m through to the assessment day. The format was largely what you described (although the competency questions were very different), and it wasn’t too tricky really. It was slightly weird actually, the ‘interview’ part was actually over very quickly (like 20 mins or so?) and we then spent maybe a further 20 minutes/half an hour just chatting about BDO and the options I might have. Quite informal, and relatively painless compared to the likes of Deloitte.

On a related note, I thought the atmosphere, offices and general process was significantly more enjoyable and welcoming than various Big 4 firms I’ve been to so far… Definitely food for thought.


I have mine tomorrow morning,

This threads really useful and I’d like to thank all the contributers to it so far, its been a great help!

I’ll be sure to add my experience too


Had mine today and it went very well touch wood

began with a simple ‘run me through your cv’ question followed by why accounting, why bdo, why audit and why i’d be suited. Then we talked a little my choice of uni and choice of A levels.

Then moved onto competencies and there were a fair few although not too taxing. The various ‘give examples of when worked in a team and it was successful, a team which wasn’t successful’ questions came up. Also a time when i’ve tutored someone and a time where I have presented to a group or society and how.

Pretty much after all my answers he attempted to dig a bit deeper so make sure you have a little extra for each example.

Finally he asked about what I knew about BDO that I hadn’t already stated under my answer for ‘why bdo?’ and how the economic situation effects bdo and their clients. He asked how I keep up to date with the business world. Not even any stories that interest me just of how I keep up to date.

Also another was how I would go about deciding where to work if I got offers from the places I had applied to.

If you’ve done the necessary prepartion and you can talk clearly and keep it concise, you should have no problem

It was actually very enjoyable day and I thought the chance to meet a recent joiner was great and really useful


Out of interest, which office are you applying to? I ask because I was considering audit, but places seemed to be full for London by the time I applied…


I applied to London and was invited for an interview, however, places were full by the time I could book one and have since redirected my application to the Birmingham office

also, I got the email inviting me to the AC this afternoon :smiley:


Hey mazmazcool and lukeb, congrats on being invited to the AC! Have you had them yet? How did they go? Are they still the same as what has been described elsewhere on this site?


I have mine on wednesday :slight_smile:

It seems that with this AC, although it is much longer than the others, there is actually much less to prepare.

There is no retesting of numerical or verbal, instead a fast track exercise which from what I’ve read there is nothing I can do to prepare. The presentation and group exercises I guess will be the same as elsewhere and the ice breaker exercise is just a matter a settling down and enjoying yourself.

That only leaves the partner interview which seems to be very much like the first interview from the sounds of things so I guess I’m just refreshing myself of what I have done with regards to various competencies and preparing one or two questions and making sure I know the services that BDO offers its clients


Thanks mazmazcool, and good luck for Wednesday! I am sure you will do well, let us know how it goes won’t you.


Does anyone have any tips for what to put in the application form?

Im not really sure what to say to questions like why you want to join bdo? I want to because its a mid tier firm, and i think it’ll have better job satisfaction etc but is that the kind of thing they mean? Or what?



Thanx a ton for sharing ur Interview experience.After you finish ur AC, Can u elaborate more on what the Fast track exercise is? Is it the “Pack of Cards” Business Simulation, e-tray, or a case study exercise? All the very best for ur AC!!!


Thanks every1 for ur valuable inputs.Have my Interview very soon.