I’ve recently been offered a job by Grant Thornton in their R+R in London. As Wikijob has been so helpful to me during the recruitment process I thought I’d give the complete run down on what happened and how to go about your recruitment.
Firstly GT use an online portal to ask you a series of questions. This is the very first stage of their recruitment process. The questions are -
- Please explain why you believe you are suited to a career at Grant Thornton and in particular the business stream that you have applied to.
- Please detail your understanding of the trainee role for the area that you have applied to, including any commitments required for professional qualifications (if applicable)
- We aim to develop our graduate trainees early in their career and you will be expected to take on early responsibility. Describe any positions of responsibility you have held.
- We look for well rounded individuals to join our teams. Please detail any other extra-curricular activities , interests, scholarships, awards and prizes.
Furthermore, they ask for a CV to be uploaded so make sure your CV is top notch and includes all the relevant details. Online guides for CV’s can be found around the internet, but make sure you include a list of extra curricular activities you have participated in.
I was then asked to undertake a verbal reasoning and numerical reasoning test. Out of all the tests I have undertook GT’s were the hardest. Make sure you are prepared and have practiced alot online. Do it in a quiet space and make sure you are fully concentrating.
Then, if you are successful you will be invited to a telephone competency interview with a member of HR. This interview will last 30 minutes and is quite informal, they are just trying to get a bit more information on the type of person you are. In this interview don’t feel nervous or uncomfortable. I got the feeling that the interviewer was just as uncomfortable in the situation as I was, telephone interviews tend not to be the best way to grasp what a candidate is like. But make sure you are confident and you try have a number of examples for each question. They may ask you to further develop your answer so make sure you know how it will apply to your specific job within GT. Here is the complete list of the questions I was asked at this stage -
- Why you chose your A-Levels
- Why you chose your University
- Why you want to join Grant Thornton
- Why you want to join the particular service line to which you have applied.
- Give me an example of when you have worked in a team
- Give me an example of a task where you have had to do some detailed research.
- Give me an example of where you have solved a problem or dealt with a problematic situation.
- Why Grant Thornton
- Why this line of service?
- Give a brief explanation on the background to the credit crunch.
As i said earlier, make sure you have a number of answers for each question above and you are willing to develop them. Know your job role and what activities you will be carrying out. Try to merge the person specification with your answers to show you are suited to the job.
If you are successful past this point you are doing well. They have separated you from the rest of the candidates and are interested in offering you the role. You just need to impress the managers and partners from here on in. Remember they want to offer you the job, they aren’t there to throw you back - show them you are that person and you have big career aspirations.
You will then be invited down to London for an interview with a member of HR. This interview is similiar to your original HR interview but it is a bit more focused on business awareness. For this interview, you will need to have read the news for the past couple of weeks including all the latest business news and articles on a range of websites.
I can’t remember the questions for this interview but they will very much focussed on the business world and what is happening. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A DETAILED KNOWLEDGE ON THE CREDIT CRUNCH AND VARIOUS SOLUTIONS THAT HAVE BEEN PROPOSED BY DIFFERENT ECONOMISTS/GOVERNMENTS. Knowing this you will impress the interviewer. The lady I had in the interview was very friendly and made me feel very relaxed. I got the feeling that GT have a very relaxed atmosphere in their offices and this was the perfect environment for me. Make sure you put yourself across as a friendly individual with many extra curricular activites under your belt, BUT you are willing (and have shown) to put in the hard work.
I then received a phone call (the next day in the morning which showed they were interested) to invite me back to London to meet a partner and my potential manager. GT arranged this interview very quickly and I was down in London within a few days. For this interview make sure you come across as approachable, friendly but hard-working.
Firstly I had an interview with my manager who was very friendly and talkative. We sat in an office and had an informal discussion on the current events in the economy and discussed a range of solutions. Once again make sure you are up to date with all the latest financial and economic news as he will want to discuss them with you. He will criticise some of the proposed solutions and you must show that you understand what he is saying.
When I had my interview with the manager we discussed the ‘bad bank’ theory proposed by EU nations for about half an hour. We even ended up nearly arguing about the theory with myself saying it wouldn’t work and him liking the solution. I think this showed that I was ready to analyse in depth any solution and showed good critical skills. Don’t be afraid to voice your opinion and counter argue anything he says. It’s a discussion so you should be willing to look at both sides of the coin.
The manager then went away and invited the partner into the room. Obviously the partner’s time is very demanding so it definitely shows you are close to getting the job when he is interested. This interview was more about you as a person. He has seen your CV, the results to all your interviews and just wants to check that you will fit into the ethos at Grant Thornton.
The partner that I had for this interview was a big football fan, and he noticed straight away that I played football. We actually talked about premiership clubs and their financial situation, and discussed Set Blatter’s proposal to limit the debt that clubs have. After discussin this for a good 20 minutes, he asked me about work experience, working in a team, when you’ve been in a situation where a team member hasn’t been doing his work… by now these answers should roll of your tongue because you’ve been asked them 3 or 4 times in interview situation by GT.
After this brief interview (20 - 30 mins) we shook hands and left and he wished me all the best in my career. At this point I was thinking I hadn’t got the job due to the fact he wished me the best in my career which was a strange expression to use straight after an interview. However, I reached London Paddington train station and noticed I had a voicemail on my phone from a member of HR. Obviously I immediately rang them back and they offered me the job stating that the manager and partner had been very impressed with me.
I think I’ve learnt many things about the GT recruitment process and above is pretty much everything you need to know. Below is a few extra notes that you might want to be aware of to help you out with GT.
- I arrived for all my interviews atleast 30 minutes early. It gave me the opportunity to sit down and read the paper, and make sure I was up to date with all the latest news. It just so happened whilst I was in my interview with the manager the BoE had reduced IR’s to 1% so we talked about this for a while. I was helped that I had read a good article in The Times whilst sitting in reception!
- Obviously wear a suit, top button done up, nice tie. I like to wear white shirts with a respectable tie. None of this pink malark for interviews. Also carry a pen at all times, when I had my HR interview the lady didn’t have a pen and I offered her mine which will always help!
- Wear a watch to interviews - shows time keeping!
- Short, well trimmed hair. And for gods sake men - SHAVE!
- Make sure that they are aware of all the extra curricular activities. GT run an inter departmental football team alongside other sports. Make sure you know about this. Do some charity work that you can put on your CV - furthermore try to make your charity work applicable to the job. I helped out a look sole trader who was having financial trouble.
- Be confident not cocky, be on time not late, smile dont be nervous, chat with other candidates dont put yourself in a corner, and show your a leader!