I had my Final Assessment Day with TI at Deloitte a few weeks ago, and received an offer. I got a lot of use out of this site, and thought I’d give something back by sharing my experiences.
I can’t really say what it is you need to do here to ensure being waved through to interview. The questions asked are probably the key differentiator. Showing that you are aware of the nature of the role for which you are applying, and demonstrating understanding of any professional qualification you will have to study for is probably the most important thing to do.
You will be required to attach a CV, make sure that you know this very well - reference was made to my CV during both my first round interview and latterly in my Final Round partner interview.
Numerical and Verbal Reasoning Tests
I am a numerical klutz, yet I was able to pass the numeracy test by practising several exemplar tests. The SHL numeracy test is very similar to the Deloitte test, and if you run through this 3 or 4 times, you will be well positioned for the numeracy test.
My verbal skills are, I think, strong, so I found the VR Test extremely easy to complete. I did no practice for it, but can only assume that I passed since I was soon carried through to first round interview. If you want a taste of what it is like, SHL provide an example test that is similar in nature to that used by Deloitte.
Incidentally, when invited to take the tests, you will be told to complete them “within 72 working hours”. This is a highly confusing way of saying “within three days”. It does not mean “within three working days”, nor does it mean “within 9 working days, based on 72 divided by the average of an 8 hour work day”. I, rather foolishly, left it for a while to complete the tests - they were accommodating of this, although looking back it was a stupid way to jeopardise my application for no good reason. When I did the same thing with PWC, it meant that I lost my service line preference (you’d have thought I’d have learned a lesson then and there…). So, do the tests within 2 days of being invited - they are not particularly difficult, so there is no need to put them off.
First Round Interview
Consists of: Case Study, Interview on the Case, Competency Questions
The Case - You are given a pack containing information about a company that Deloitte helped to transform. You have time (30 minutes, I think) to read through the case and prepare your answers. The pack outlines the firm’s history, the objectives of the transformation process, and provides a lot of prose in which is hidden a series of problems facing the firm. Your instructions are to consider 10 questions which the company wants addressed. These are relatively straightforward to discern.
You must: work out the problems facing the firm, assess priorities of action, answer the 10 questions. Make sure you can justify your answers. If applying to TI, then ensure that your answers have a technological bias - try to think of ways that IT solutions could provide answers to the challenges facing the firm.
Having prepared the case, your interviewer will pick you up. I was very lucky in that I had a great first round interviewer who was extremely personable and established a very good rapport. You will be asked to run through the ten questions. I think it is important not to be limited by the questions - I offered other observations on the case, and was actually told point blank that no one had thought of some of those points before.
The Competency Interview - once the case questions have been addressed, you will move seamlessly into the competency half of the interview. This will turn on the usual things - providing examples of teamwork, instances when you had to solve a complex problem, etc. Look up the Deloitte Core Competencies, on their website, and prepare TWO examples for each. This will catch a lot of people out - the interviewer will ask you to give TWO instances of how you fulfilled a particular competency.
Final Assessment Day
This will take place either in the morning or the afternoon. The morning session begins at 8am, the afternoon at 2pm.
You will be taken into a large room with a table along with about 6 other candidates. This is where you will spend most of the day, reading cases, preparing presentations and completing a written exercise.
You have 5 tasks to complete in the course of the day. You are given a timetable telling you when these tasks will take place or when they have to be handed in – it’s up to you to ensure to meet the time deadlines. Interviewers and assessors will come to collect you at the appointed time, but you must be ready to present your case or hand in your written report at the appropriate time. TAKE YOUR SCHEDULE WITH YOU TO ALL INTERVIEWS! Keep an eye on the time! If your interview starts to overrun, your interviewer may not notice and it will severely damage your ability to complete your other tasks.
You have 1 hour to prepare a case study presentation. You are given a large booklet outlining a business that is in trouble in various ways. Your task is to identify the key problems and possible solutions, create a flip chart set of slides outlining your proposed solutions, and prepare to give a 10 minute presentation to an interviewer on the case
The key thing is to have a VERY clear structure. Break down the problems, then move on to outline solutions.
You will be questioned on your solution – although I found the inquisition to be quite light, lasting only 10 minutes or so. Be prepared to justify your priorities and face questioning of the shortfalls in your solutions.
Your case study interview will rapidly become a competency interview. This is VERY similar to the first round interview, so try to be prepared to give new material. That said, I repeated myself a lot and recycled much of what I had said before, so they clearly don’t mind that too much.
This went badly for me, and I was sure I was screwed. The partner seemed absolutely exhausted and totally bored by proceedings. There was very little opportunity to display my commercial awareness or even my interest in Deloitte. I was surprised, and don’t feel that my experience was typical – so I don’t feel I can really provide useful advice. Just be prepared to give yet more competency examples – by this point I was repeating things I’d said in the earlier interview just an hour beforehand. Based on this, I assume that it is safe to use the same example to illustrate different competencies.
There is a 15 minute break period in your schedule. This is a trick, since you are allowed to work through it, and everyone else does, so in effect this is no break. You will need to use the time as a buffer zone to let you catch up on the written exercise in the event that any of your earlier interviews overrun.
Task: Provided with a brief and a slide packet. You are required to assimilate a mass of data and write a 2 page letter (in handwriting on paper) outlining for managers the transformation programme a company is about to undertake. You must focus on several key areas. The VAST bulk of the information provided to you is irrelevant and cannot be usefully deployed in your letter. The key skill here is to pick out a few salient facts from the data and use it as the foundation of your letter. Make sure to get into the character that you are asked to assume. Be VERY careful to manage your time on this one – you are entirely responsible for finding the time to read the data packs and write the letter in the time between your various interviews.
This is probably the last thing you’ll do on the Assessment Day. You will be presented with a ridiculous problem. Ours had something to do with a fictional nation that faced financial ruin. You have only 30 minutes in which to work out the key problems facing the country and select solutions from a list provided to you. The exercise is fundamentally simple, but I got the impression that all the assessors are looking for is your capacity to interact well with the group, and don’t care what conclusions you reach on what is frankly an absurd exercise – the names of everything are jokes and the solutions are hilarious, in contrast to the realism of all the other cases you will do over the whole application process – so you should focus on coming across well, rather than on solving the task. The key thing to do is to speak first and to be the one to set the key decisive moments of the discussion – take early control by suggesting the order in which you should approach the problem. Make sure to bring quiet members of the group into the discussion. Praise other contributors when they make a good suggestion. A rather unusual tip – when you enter the room with the group at the beginning of the day, make sure and sit right at the end of the table, not in the middle, because the assessors will be better able to see and notice you come the group exercise at the end of the day. It will also give you a chance to leap up and take control of the flip chart if you so wish.
You will have “lunch” after the Assessment if you had a morning session, and before you begin if you are scheduled for the afternoon. I say “lunch” because it is in reality just a buffet, and you spend a lot of time talking to new analysts who come down to chat with you that there is precious little time to eat. If you have the lunch before the assessment, well, I don’t know what you can do, since the last thing I feel like doing before facing multiple interviews and case studies is to eat finger food! Furthermore, eating carries the risk that you will end up spilling something on your suit right before interviewing – or worse, messing up your smile with a piece of samosa trapped surreptitiously between your teeth.
If you’re going to get an offer, they will most likely phone you on the evening of the day of your assessment centre. This has always been my impression with job interviews in all fields – if they want you, they will let you know almost instantly by telephone; if they don’t, they will wait for ages and then email you. Make sure to have your phone switched on for the rest of the day after the assessment!