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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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