Grant Thornton experience (up to first interview) - Audit 2011

Baker Tilly
Grant Thornton

I had my Grant Thornton telephone interview a few days ago for the Audit 2011 graduate intake and thought i would share my experiences. Unfortunately I was unsuccessful but i was told i was very close and my answers on the application form were great. Here is the process:

  1. The application form is pretty standard really. The only tricky bit are the four free text questions:
    a. the first deals with why GT and what differentiates them from competitors - I gave reasons for why GT first (spoke to reps at career fair, GT gets involves in a lot of charity work in the community, chance to work in many different sectors, responsibility given early, Bradenham manor, deal with clients face-to-face early on)

b. the second asks about your understanding of audit/ACA - discuss what audit is (analyse financial records, etc), what you do in your first year (learn how to do an audit, spend time on client premises, etc) and your knowledge of ACA (takes three years, have to pass every module, modules split into two stages, well respected qualification, study whilst you work, etc)

c. positions of responsibility - i found this difficult but they are looking for any kind of responsibility from work, studies or leisure. I used sports captain and mentor.

d.list extra-curricular activities - i wrote lots for this. They don’t want someone who is just academic. I spoke about all my sporting activities, travelling that i had done, and my language skills.

They responded a couple of days later to put me through to the next stage. Just make sure all your spelling and grammar is correct in this part. I think it is relatively easy to get past this stage if you do your research on the company and the role.

  1. Online tests. Just practice practice practice. I haven’t done maths since A level (as i do an Arts degree) and found the practice papers hard at first. But, it all clicks after a while. All you need to know is currency conversion, percentage change and be able to read a graph! I got most of them right in the end. You can get practice tests from efinancialcareers, wikijobs and kent uni website. I did all the ones i could get my hands on. I also got some from my university careers centre which helped. The real test is only a little bit harder than the practice ones. I answered all the questions except one in the time limit and passed.

The verbal reasoning test is easy. Just think about your answer and if you aren’t sure then put “cannot tell” which i did quite a lot.

I got a phone call a couple of days later to say that i had passed and offered me a phone interview a week later.

  1. Phone interview. This involves a few general questions about your university choice and A level/degree subject. Nothing too taxing. Then there are questions on five competencies:
    a) motivation - she said my answers here were really good - the questions were just about why you want to be an accountant, why audit, why not another service line, why GT (this is a particularly important one to think about). There were more questions about this than anything else. You need to really think about what differentiates GT from its competitors. I mentioned voluntary work done in the community as i had done research the night before about GT getting involved in charity work in a village near me. This impressed the lady a lot so look for something small like this. She was impressed with the level of research i had done. So, spend some time reading about GT on places like Accountancy Age or just do a general Google news search for them.

b) communication and credibility - my questions here were “when have you worked with someone with a different working style to you and what did you do?” and “when have you had to convince someone of your opinion”. I had not planned for these questions at all but i managed to think of something to answer them. My feedback from the interview made it clear that i should have done better here so i can’t really help much!

c) commerciality - The lady said to me in my feedback that i would have got to the AC if i had answered commerciality better. I asked her what i should have said and she gave me some model answers. The questions were:
“how is current economic climate affecting GT”. I only mentioned the effect on audit but she said other people had spoken about the effects on the company as a whole. So, look at effect on audit (minimal), corporate recovery (doing really well), corporate finance (not good), etc
“example of when you have invested in something and got a high return” - i still have absolutely no idea how to answer this question well!

d) leadership - she asked about what role i took in a team with an example, and to list things that i thought made a good team

e) organisation - how i organise my day, what have i done when a lot of deadlines at the same time. I spoke about my final year at university and having to do a lot of work with dissertation, seminar prep, careers stuff, etc

Then she gave me the chance to ask a few questions. I asked about four questions about the company, how many people have finance based degrees (i don’t), etc. She gave full answers.

She rang back a few days later to say i was very close but unfortunately was unsuccessful due to my answers on commerciality. So, if you have one coming up, really think about answering these questions. The feedback she gave me was excellent and i was very impressed with the firm. I would love to work for them but it wasn’t too be! She told me to apply for someone like BDO or Baker Tilly as well!

Hope that helps. Any more questions, let me know

motivation, communication, commerciality, organisation and leadership


Thank you for the post! I am sorry you didnt have the chance to go to the next stage…my interview is tomorrow…failed Deloitte and KPMG…now trying for mid tier firms to see how things go!

thank you so much tho!! it really helps!!

for future reference…I think the question on “example of when you have invested in something and got a high return”

I think you can say things like you knew are you are very weak at one of your modules, you therefore spent more time on it, (the investment is time), and name something you may have to give up for it like (one or two nights out with friends)…and in the end you get the results you wanted so the time you have invested in the module was worth it :slight_smile:

i think that will be a good enough answer…


How did your interview go? They seem like a really good firm to work for. I’ve still got KPMG, EY, BDO and RSM first interviews to go! Lol.


Why GT?
Why accountancy?
Why audit? Why not another service line?
What is audit?
What will you do in your first year?
Where else have you applied to?
Example of successful teamwork
When you had to vary your communication style
When you worked under pressure
Talk about a recent news


it went ok…i thought i wouldnt hv a chance coz I thought I didnt perform well enough but I got through to A.C!! :smiley: and their feedback was really good as well. I think that’s the differnce between big 4 and mid tier firms…if you make a tiny mistake in big4 interview then you are gone and they cannot even bother giving you feedback as they rejected so many people a day…!!! but i think mid tier firms are a lot nicer and give you chance to add on additional comment in the end on why they should hire you. so i keep my fingers crossed now for my A.C!! thanks for all your tips!!! that question did come up about investment!!! :stuck_out_tongue:

good luck with your up coming interviews!!! you will do fine!!! I didnt apply EY but KPMG interview was very difficult!!! they asked me ‘if you are the CEO of British Airways…what would you do??’ I was not prepare for that!!! so I just waffled things on top of my head!!! lol and they asked a lot business focus questions…I have prepared so well but they are just so random!!!

good luck!!!


Just had my telephone interview today and questions were pretty much the same as treehouse17:

First he explained how it would work:
There were three main sections:

  1. General questions about your understanding of GT and the role
  2. Competency questions
  3. Time for me to ask any questions

First he asked couple of warm up questions such as:
Tell me how university is going.
And he also asked me to explain a random sport I play which I mentioned in my application form. They really do read it so make sure you know what you wrote!

Then the proper questions started:

What do you know about the qualification you will study for?
Why GT and what differentiates us?
Why audit and why not say tax?
Why an accountant?
What will you do in your first year?
Where else have you applied?
He then asked me how far through I was in those applications.
Give an example of when you have had to vary your communication style.
Then a couple of questions based on my response.
Given an example of when you have been under time pressure.
What was the outcome?
What would you do differently next time?
What components do you think make a good team?
Given an example of when you have worked in a team?
What was the outcome of your work?
Given an example of when you have had to manage a client.
How is the current economic climate affecting GT?
What about the clients of GT, how are they affected?

Then I was able to ask some questions at the end, just ask a couple of interesting things not easily answered by looking on the website and you’ll be fine.

All in the entire interview lasted 45 mins and was not too bad.
I know I didn’t answer every question amazingly but as long as you just relax and move onto the next question you’ll be fine.
A lot of the initial questions I had basically answered in my application form so I basically said the same thing without repeating word for word.

There may have been a couple more questions but that’s all I can remember I’m afraid!

I’ll find out sometime in the next 5 working days if I’m through to the next round. I hope this helps someone, this website has certainly helped me!


I have a phone interview coming up this Wednesday. Can someone help me with the questions about how the current economic climate affects GT and its clients?


there are 4 main service line in GT:

Audit: auditors need to be more careful when they audit firm’s accounts as firms are more likely to have a urge to ‘fix’ numbers under these economic climate to make the accounts look good

Tax: easy…have you read the news last week? VAT!! you can elaborate it on that one yourself.

Reorganisation: higher demand as businesses are struggling under difficult trading condition and need advice on Recovery and reorganisation.

Corporate Finance: a lot less demand as companies do not have the enough cash to even try and acquire or merge with other business.

I hope it helps a little, i dont know how ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ i am coz i m still a student myself and not much of experience.


Hi, meean, thanks for sharing. How was your interview?

I wonder how I should properly answer the question like “Where else have you applied?” Obviously we all apply for more than one company. Did you tell the truth?


Hi vin2010

For the question on where else you have applied, I think you have to be honest and tell the truth, they expect you to have applied to other firms really and if you’ve applied to lots of similar jobs then it shows some actual interest in that service line and career motivation. If however you’ve applied for GT audit but then to Millward Brown for advertising then I think you would have to justify why you have chosen to apply to a range of job sectors.

Hope that helps, but it’s simply my own opinion and might not be the correct one!


Hi meean

I haven’t applied to any other firm except GT…If they ask me about that question where else have you applied then what shall I answer them??


Hi saadali

Well you should ask yourself why that is, as this will give the honest and most sincere answer! If you are planning on applying to other accounting firms, but haven’t done so yet, you should probably say that too. I mean there’s no real right or wrong answer to that question, given it’s completely dependent on the individual.

Hope that helps


Thank you very much meean I have given my interview on Monday now waiting for the outcome.I might need your help in final interview If I qualify for it. :slight_smile: wish me good luck…