I was having a look around the site and couldn’t seem to find much information on the Ernst and Young application process, so thought I’d pitch in!
Just a bit of background - I’ve received an offer for a summer internship for 2012 in Assurance Audit UK/I. I’m not sure how similar the process is for the other service lines, but I doubt there’s much of a difference.
So, starting with the initial application:
This is a standard online form. You must fill in general details about yourself as well as answer a couple of questions. This is a great opportunity to show yourself off a bit - let them know thy kinds of things you’re interested in and have taken part in.
The questions are:
How do you support others in a team situation?
For this question, my best advice is to highlight your past experiences of working within a team. This may include clubs, societies, sports teams, etc. Give specific examples of times you may have taken on extra responsibility or taken the time to help a coworker, etc. Also be sure to write about the outcome of what you did!
Do you seek challenges to stretch yourself?
Now is the time to talk about something that isn’t work or degree-related. You’re able to let them know what makes you well-rounded, by highlight new skills you have gained or times you’ve stepped out of your comfort zone. Examples might include organisng events, learning new languages, etc. Also say why it is important to you to take on new challenges and, again, the outcome or what the experience taught you.
Why can other people rely on you?
For this question, it’s time to highlight your key skills or character traits. Are you organised/outgoing/a good listener/proactive/sympathetic?
Some more generic advice: Look at Ernst and Young’s website and visit any graduate events if you can. You’ll get a real flavour for the type of people that work there and you can also get great advice from them!
And a WARNING: DO NOT apply unless you have done your research. And definitely don’t just copy and paste generic answers you have written. They’ll be able to tell and you’ll harm your chances of getting an interview.
Once you have sent off your application, you’ll be invited to do some online tests. I found the EY tests to be some of the easiest. There are 8 questions to complete in 6 minutes in three categories: Numeracy, Verbal, Diagrammatic.
The only advice I can give you here is to relax and set aside a decent amount of time to complete the practice questions.
Okay, so you’ve passed the online tests: Now it’s time for your first interview.
If possible, this will be held in the office you have applied to. Dress smart and make sure you arrive early. The interview style is pretty relaxed. In mine, I had two interviewers and each of them talked a little bit about themselves and then I was given a chance to tell them a little about myself. This was a great way to break the ice and I felt really relaxed.
The questions are ‘quick-fire’ - meaning they’ll ask you a question and your answer should be in the style of ‘yes/no’ and then a quick explanation and/or example. Beforehand, think of some examples of leadership, teamwork, a time you made a mistake, etc. I wouldn’t advise scripting answers, but it’s a good idea to have them in the back of your mind, so you don’t panic in the interview. And just be honest with your answers! They understand that everyone’s human and don’t expect you to be 100% perfect.
I don’t remember all of the questions, but here are a few I do remember:
- Give me an example of a business person you admire
- Have you ever had to work with someone you didn’t like?
- Tell me about a time you had to juggle a few things at once.
- Have you ever done something different the second time around?
- What is the most significant thing you have found out about yourself?
- What do you know about Ernst and Young?
- Where do you see yourself in 3 years?
- Why Audit (or the other service lines)?
I was told within an hour that I had been successful, so they’re pretty good at letting you out of your misery!
Finally, the assessment centre and final partner interview.
Firstly, not many people make it, so well done if you do! Secondly, just relax and let your personality and natural strengths shine through.
The assessment centre consisted of a few exercises:
Firstly, a team discussion. You’ll be asked to prepare some research beforehand. Don’t spend too long on this. They recommend no more than 2 hours. Be prepared to talk about your findings and engage in discussion, but don’t overshadow anyone else! This is a team exercise, and you’ll be judged on just that.
Second, you’ll be asked to make a phone call to a fictitious ‘Sam’, an intern who requires some negative feedback on a report. The phone call should last no longer than 15 minutes and the important thing here is to remain positive! Don’t put the intern down. Highlight areas for improvement and relate to the intern.
Next, you’ll be asked to condense a 8/9 page report into a more digestible length. This is fairly straight-forward and you shouldn’t have too many issues. You’ll also be asked to write an email inviting a business leader to speak at a graduate event. If you’re unfamiliar with the format of a business email, just look it up before the assessment centre.
Finally, you’ll be asked to complete the same tests as the online ones you completed. Again, don’t worry. Pay attention and be time-conscious!
The partner interview is not as scary as you might think. This is just a chat. They’ll ask you how you found the day and what you liked most/could have improved on. Definitely say something to improve on, but don’t be too negative. It’s definitely a tightrope, but remain positive. You’ll also be asked about your career motives. You should know about the structure of the graduate scheme/internship and about the relevant qualification you would be working towards. You may also be asked about what you think your personal strengths are. Relate them to the tasks you completed.
Of course, dress appropriately and stay professional and friendly. At lunch, you’ll have the change to mingle with the staff - do exactly that! Make a good impression and ask all the questions you need to. Also, if you do mess up on one of the tasks, don’t worry. Just brush it off and keep going. They’ll be more impressed with someone who can stay motivated and carry on than someone who simply gives up.
Hope that helps! Good luck!