I just wanted to take a bit of time to share my experiences in applying for a Grant Thornton grad scheme. Hopefully this will provide a bit of insight into what the process consists of and what they’re after!
The first part, of course, is the online application form. As always, fill in your academics, your employment history and then answer a couple of questions about your motivations and personal achievements. Send it off and you’re done, for now.
They’ll invite you to their online community called ‘Grant Thornton: I’ve applied’. Here, you’ll find articles and blogs written by trainees and past applicants about the process with their tips and stuff. Definitely have a good look through as there’s some super helpful stuff here.
At this point, it’s worth getting ingrained into your mind Grant Thornton’s core values, that they summarise with the acronym CLEARR: Collaboration, Leadership, Excellence, Agility, Respect and Responsibility.
Then, like most big companies, you’ll have to do their online tests – verbal, numerical and critical reasoning.
Their tests are designed by Kenexa I believe, so you should be able to find plenty of practice material online.
The numerical test has 20 questions in 20 minutes. Like most other numerical tests, you’re given a bunch of data and graphs and tables and asked questions based on the data, essentially. The key is to be quick, as you have just one minute per question!
The verbal reasoning test will display paragraphs, then present you with a statement which you have to decide is True, False or Cannot Say. The ability to read and absorb information quickly is crucial here.
And then the critical reasoning test is about your values and how you approach situations. Bear in mind the CLEARR values and you’ll walk this.
For this, you are presented with pre-recorded questions and you have to record your answer to it. Although it’s called an interview, it feels very different to a normal interview because there’s no actual interviewer to bounce off of. For that reason, it’s really important that you get plenty of practice in just to make sure you’re familiar with the format.
Make sure you have your application and CV in front of you, as the questions are mostly based on that kind of thing, as well as stuff like ‘why Grant Thornton’ and so on.
The interview isn’t super in-depth, so don’t worry too much about it, but do be prepared. This is the first chance they have to actually see and hear you!
If they like your interview, you’ll be invited to a half-day assessment centre.
The first part of this was a solo case study. Given a case study, you have 40 minutes to go through it and prepare advice to a fictional client, role played by a partner. So you’ll be expected to analyse the case study accurately as well as provide recommendations as to how to proceed, and this includes a short discussion with the ‘client’ who’ll ask questions. This bit will test both your technical skills as well as your ability to deal with clients in person.
Then there’s a group exercise. For this, your group is given a brief which has some missing information. As a group, you must discuss the brief, identify the missing information and come up with a proposal to be presented afterwards. Make sure your impact is heard and known, but try not to dominate the conversation – they’re looking both for leadership but also teamplay.
Finally, you’ll be taken for an hour or so long interview. This is largely competency-based. It’s much more in-depth than the video interview, and you’ll be asked about current affairs, some more philosophical matters and so on. The atmosphere was quite relaxed for me – surprisingly – as they aren’t trying to make you feel pressured or stressed. But they do expect a high level of preparation, so do your homework for this.
Finally, you’ll either receive your offer or some feedback! The whole process for me took around a month and a half, but it can be a lot shorter. I’d expect a week or two between each section.