Ernst and Young First Interview



I have a first interview with Ernst and Young on the 3rd September for the Advisory Consultant Programme March 2011. I had a first interview with KPMG on the 26th July for an Actuary position but was unsuccessful. My feedback was - which was very useful - was that my weak areas were Career Motivation and Business Focus. I knew I failed at the Business Focus portion because I had been travelling for 6 weeks and I couldn’t keep up with the news adequately.

However I was surprised about Career Motivation. I was wondering what he was looking for when he asked

“where do you see yourself in 10 years?”

I really couldn’t answer this, I said a fully qualified actuary. And he nodded encouragingly but I really couldn’t think of any elaboration on this. Apparently I had not thought this through.

Also with Business Focus he asked:

“give me a company which has been growing successfully in the past 10 years and what would they advise them”

I thought I had given a good answer by saying Google, and he liked that. But I couldn’t think of any advice.

All responses will be most welcome!


Hi ifeyinwa,

I wouldn’t worry about the KPMG interview too much. I think that the Ernst and Young first interview is very different.
If you read these forums, it explains that they now do a strengths based interview, and I do not think there are a lot of questions on Business Focus and Career Motivation.

I had a KPMG interview and assessment day but did not get the job - I am chasing feedback on this!

In terms of career motivation, I would just look at what the role entails and what you like about it and why you would be good at it.

I have an Ernst and Young interview coming up before 3rd Sept, so I may be able to give some more advice then.


Just did an EY first interview, wikijobs is really up to date but i thought I’d put up my experience to re-assure others. All EY first interviews are strengths based, there will 2/3 area specific questions:

Why Advisory/assurance etc- talk about how it interests you, fits your skillset
Why this office - harder, but have something, talk about the client mix etc

the rest will be plucked from the q list already up on forums and the EY wikijob page. { }

The interview is more a chat really, don’t over-plan as they will sense that, they know things go up on wikijobs (interviewer mentioned this and i threw my script out the window in my head), they will even let you talk more generally without specific examples or use a mix of specific and general experiences in your answers. Its actually fine, you can improvise 95% of the interview, just have something semi-prepared for the trickier questions (only one or two will really come up)

-when have you persuaded someone

  • how do you build a relationship
    -when have you gone out of your way to help someone
  • do you keep promises (tricky for an example)
  • talk about your strengths and weaknesses ( did not handle this well, very nearly gave being a perfectionist as a flaw, which i’m pretty sure is career suicide for most obvious answer of all time)
  • have you ever had to change your approach to solve a problem (this or a variation of will definitely come up)

These may not sound difficult but they are definitely the trickiest of the bunch and really benefit from some modest prep (not competency scale prep, don’t have a mini essay, just something you can talk about and expand on a bit if they ask a follow up). The rest you will be able to come up with more or less on the spot, they are perfectly happy to give you a minute if you ask. They have a checklist they are using for questions, and they kind of pick, choose and improvise what and how they ask. If you are really stumped just ask if you can come back to that one ( what was the last thing you learned about yourself from an experience) , we never did come back to it so it won’t count against you. I definitely flubbed a couple of answers, noticeably, and still got through, that’s because i definitely hit the targets of integrity ‘hard work, problem solving ability and teamwork/communication’ : these are really the strengths they are looking for and as your giving an answer you’ll be able to feel them searching for it;as you raise a keyword or action they will write it down. Just remember to talk about how you involved other people, considered their concerns etc, its very straightforward and they are not trying to catch you out.

In these interviews they are looking for specific strengths but also for you to enter a state called ‘flow’ , which is when you get more and more animated, this means strengths appear naturally and also that the experience is likely to be genuine. So have your examples, but don’t have a STAR approach, don’t rehearse, just have something you can talk about and rapidly put in new details as you remember them, i could feel my interviewer noticing this as i got more into my answers.

My point is prepare, have a one sentence answer for all the questions ready, but in the interview you will flesh out that answer and because you aren’t over-prepared, it will happen naturally and both you and the interviewer will benefit.

All in all its very straightforward, pretty low stress, you’ll get to ask some questions at the end and you can still score points here so come up with a couple, also they will ask you about yourself at the beginning and maybe a current affairs issue - I’d been reading the paper before i went in and ended up mentioning that artificial lab-grown hamburger (hand on forehead, SIGH) , the one time FT goes for a puff piece and it gets me hook line and sinker.

Made it through so by all means talk about JFK conspiracy theories and maybe mention your allegiance to UKIP and you could still be fine.


I’m not sure if this thread is still alive, but it really helped me prior to my phone interview yesterday and so I thought I’d share. I was interviewed for the actuarial summer placement. I was initially invited for an interview in person at their office, but couldn’t make it since I was out of the country - this really worried me and I was sure I was at a huge disadvantage and wouldn’t get through.
However, this interview was by far the most positive recruitment experience I’ve had!
I prepared tonnes of material on business awareness questions, latest issues in the insurance/pensions sector… Never had to look once. The interview was 100% competency based, and the layout and type of questions that would be asked was made clear to me from the start.
There were initially 2 or 3 questions about me which I was told “didn’t count” (hmm). Anyway it really did seem like the interviewer wanted to get to know me a little better first.
Then, there were 16 competency based questions, really straightforward ones, some more tricky, most of them have been mentioned in this thread. The ones I remember were: “Do you always keep promises?”, “How do you maintain relationships?”, “Do you speak the same to everyone?” (or something along those lines), “Why do you want to work in the business sector?”.
The only tricky thing I guess was that the questions were very, very general - it was easy to start mumbling. I had to keep it clear in my head that despite not asking “about the time when you… etc”, they still wanted a clear example, my role, the result, and how it is relevant to them.
Anyway, the interviewer was extremely nice, and… I got a phone call just an hour later to say I made it through, was given his work mobile in case I couldn’t get through to HR or had any questions at any stage, and was told I’d know the date of my AC within the next 24-48 hours.
Honestly a really good experience. All I can say is - don’t stress! They are not trying to catch you out!