So, I’ve just been through the EY graduate application process and thought it might help some of you out to do a quick write-up of my experiences, as well as a summary of the process generally. There are no big surprises here – most big companies have a pretty similar process – but it’s always worth hearing about. I found that to be the case anyway!
Standard procedure: personal details, academic grades, employment history, all that good stuff. Good to note here is that they say they don’t screen out based on academic grades. In other words, your application won’t be thrown out if you have a 2.2 degree instead of a 2.1 – they weight their own online tests before making a decision.
After filling out your details, you’ll receive an email inviting you to their Strengths Portal. This is comprised of four assessments. These don’t have to be completed at the same time, but they recommend you do them in a day to stay sharp – probably sound advice, I’d say. These tests are…
• Situational strengths – given a series of scenarios, you’re asked how you would approach them or react to them.
• Business behaviours – very similar to the first test, but a bit more focused on internal matters. For example, what would you do if a manager asked you to do something unethical, that sort of thing.
• Numerical – 12 questions which are kind of timed and kind of not. Basically, there’s no time limit, but your score is based not only on accuracy, but also on how long it took you complete each question. So no hard time limit, but don’t mess around!
• What’s your mind – you’re presented with a series of statements and you have 25 points per set to allocate to each statement according to how true they are of you.
Throughout all of these (and the rest of the process, to be honest), you’ll want to keep in mind EY’s core values.
EY say they are looking for people…
• Who excel – leadership skills and commercial acumen
• Who are good at working in teams – listening, learning, sharing, developing
• With integrity – a clear sense of personal and professional accountability
• Who demonstrate respect – recognise the value of different backgrounds and points of view
• With energy, enthusiasm and courage to lead – passionate, excited and able to take charge
Keep these in mind and you won’t go far wrong.
You should hear if you’re successful within a week or two, and receive feedback if not. It was only around four days for me. If they like you, you’re asked to arrange a phone interview.
This lasts for around half an hour and is nothing to be too worried about. It’ll contain all the standard questions like why EY, why this service line, and a few questions on your CV and background. But it’s not a super long interview, so the grilling shouldn’t be too tough!
You’re near the final stage, so keep going.
A fairly standard assessment centre set-up. You’ll be asked to attend a ‘team meeting’ with other candidates. This group exercise is designed to test you in a few ways.
There’s the technical ability – you’ll be talking about a case study so you’ll need to know what you’re talking about. And then there’s the balance between leadership and teamwork. You need to try and show that you work well in a team, so ample time for listening and enabling others to speak. But you also need to demonstrate your capability to rise up when needed and take charge of the discussion.
Based on this, you then have to deliver a short presentation of your conclusions and findings.
And for your solo task of the day, you’ll be compiling a written report as if writing to a manager at EY.
You’ll soon hear if you’re through to the final bit – the big interview. Not many people make it this far, so well done if you have.
For me, this was held by a partner at EY with particular knowledge in the service line I applied for.
The line of questions was actually quite similar to the phone interview, but in much more depth. Be prepared to give a lot of good reasoning for your motivations, and have to hand examples in your history where you’ve demonstrated their core values – leadership, integrity and so on. For me, they tried to make it as relaxing as possible. I was still pretty stressed, but it did help. It felt like they wanted to get to know me rather than grill me, which was a big help.
About a week later I got the final result. If you’re unsuccessful, they’re good at giving feedback – they’ll give you a number for you to call so you can speak to an actual person about how you did, which is a big step up from many companies.
Anyway, best of luck, and please share your experiences here too!