Help needed for First Round Interview at KPMG

Bank of England

Hi Guys,

I have a 1st round interview at KPMG at their London offices, and was wondering if anyone had any insight on what kind of questions they will ask. The interview is 45mins to an hour, the service line is HUMAN RESOURCES.

Although I can anticipate the competency-based questions, I need some guidance on commercial awareness questions. What specific questions will they ask? How many business issues should I research and prepare for?

And most importantly, will they ask me any random commercial awareness qs? eg. what does the Bank of England do? Tell me about the FSA’s recent regulations? Tell me what you think about the Budget and whether/what impact it will have on KPMG and the City.

Any tips and insights would be much appreciated guys, and I’ll be sure to post the events of the int next week.

Cheers x


Hi, I went for a first round interview a few days ago in London, here’s a breakdown of what I was asked. I wasn’t asked questions in the order I’ve listed them, they’re posted in such a way that they’re in relevant groups.

Commercial awareness:

  1. How I follow the news or keep up to date, and WHY I do so

  2. Give a recent example of a successful company, the contributors to its success and whether I felt that was a good way to do business

  3. An example of a failing or under performing company, factors causing this and how I would advise them over the following year

  4. A piece of very recent and relevant financial news, how I feel it would have an impact in its sector.

KPMG knowledge/motivation to apply:

  1. Reasons for choosing to become an accountant.

  2. Reasons for choosing audit over another service line.

  3. Reasons for choosing KPMG over another firm.

  4. How KPMG differentiates itself.

  5. Risks facing an organisation like KPMG.

  6. Knowledge of the ACA qualification.

  7. Would I rather do the ACA or the ACCA.


  1. Why my university, why my course, why humanities.

  2. How I feel they would be useful with KPMG/in audit.

  3. A time I had been in a team where conflict had occurred. What we did, how I felt, resolution? What did we learn?

  4. Biggest challenge I have faced over the last 3 years.

  5. My proudest achievement.

  6. Give an example of when somebody changed my mind and how they did it, how I felt etc.

There’s not much I’ve missed out here. The commercial awareness is a big factor and you should certainly be able to chat about a few areas. The point is that you’re being asked on an area that interests you - you’re not being asked to reel off their financial stats for the last 5 years.

I wouldn’t really recommend “researching” business issues but it is definitely worth thinking about companies you think are successful, unsuccessful, why you feel that way and why they interest you. On top of that, you should also be able to demonstrate in interest in current affairs and understand how they can impact on companies like KPMG or their clients. Pretty easy at the moment given the impact of the recent budget is still relatively fresh on people’s minds.

It’s quite clear from the interview that there is a bank of questions which vary from interviewee to interviewee but there are certainly common themes which are easy to spot and prepare for so try and have 2 or 3 examples for all of the key competencies on their website.

There’s not much more that can be said other than Good Luck!


Crew, thank you so much for your post, it will be invaluable for the preparation I am doing for my upcoming interview. I anticipated most of the commercial awareness questions, but the why your university/course I did not anticipate, so thanks a great deal.

I sure you hope you get the job!

Much appreciated once again!



Hi there

I recently attended a first round interview with KPMG in London, and was asked questions based on four of their key competences - Building Relationships, Making an Impact, Business Focus, Career Motivation. I was asked the following questions:

Building Relationships -

  1. How do you build relationships?
  2. Describe a time when you have worked as part of a team.
  3. Describe a time when you have had to deal with conflict in a team.

Making an Impact -
4) What is your proudest achievement?
5) Tell me about a time when you had to work under pressure.

Career Motivation -
6) Why KPMG?
7) Why the service line you have applied to? (in my case Audit)
8) Have you applied to any other of the Big Four?

Business Focus -
9) How do you keep up to date with business issues?
10) Tell me about a recent news story that interested you.
11) Tell me about a company that is currently performing well.
12) What issues are affecting KPMG at the moment?

In terms of preparation for commercial awareness, my advice would be to research a company currently doing well, a company currently doing badly, and a couple of recent business news stories. I can’t imagine they would ask any questions as specific as the ones you have listed above - they are there to facilitate you, not to try to trip you up. I would also strongly recommend that you research KPMG fully and be able to provide specific examples of what KPMG does and issues facing the firm at the moment.

I hope you find this post helpful.



“I can’t imagine they would ask any questions as specific as the ones you have listed above - they are there to facilitate you, not to try to trip you up.”

Well, they did ask them.

In terms of offering advice to a KPMG interviewee, 2 minutes research into their interview techniques shows how much they prioritise developing your own answer and giving a strong and clear level of detail.

At no time did I feel as though the interviewer was attempting to trip or corner me but my questions highlight one or two of the potential follow up questions an interviewee is likely to be asked. The secondary element to some of the questions listed won’t happen to everybody but it is hugely advantageous to get a dialogue going and make sure the interview isn’t a one way process.


Glad it helped, I have my AC soon so I’ll try and post any helpful details of that up here too. When is your 1st round?


Sorry crew, I maybe wasn’t clear on what I was referring to, I was referring to the questions on the initial post “what does the Bank of England do? Tell me about the FSA’s recent regulations? Tell me what you think about the Budget and whether/what impact it will have on KPMG and the City.”, not to the questions that you were asked at interview.


Hi Crew,

I too have an AC coming up for Audit and would be really interested to know your thoughts after you have completed yours, if you don’t mind.



Hi guys,

I would firstly like to thank you all for your advice and tips for the KPMG interview - I passed it and am lucky to enough to be invited for an AC this week!!

Although it’s for a HR role, the questions I was asked was pretty much the same ones posted on this forum, except for HR specific questions eg. Why HR? What will you enjoy the most about it? etc etc.

The interview was lovely, questions were pretty much textbook, and apart from forgetting what I was going to say next for one moment, it went smoothly!

So thank you guys! Now to prepare for the AC…!



yo yo i had my first round last week and had the following questions:

Describe a difficult environment you found yourself in?

Resolving conflict in a team?

A difficult situation you were in? How did you adapt?

A team situation, describe what you did to the benefit of the team?

Describe a time when u had many tasks to complete in a short period of time?

Example of successful company and why you believe it to be successful?

Current affair of interest to you?


Why Audit?

What you do in 1st year?

Challenges facing KPMG?

good luck ll



I too had an interview last week. The questions they asked were very similar to those above but including how I had built up relationships with people, and how in general companies are facing problems at the moment.

Hope that helps.


Hey…i was just wondering what sort of things you discussed when asked about the challenges facing KPMG?


Just had a first round interview today for Transactions and Restructuring at KPMG. Did anyone else find that the interviewer puts you under a lot of pressure by asking for ridiculous detail in your experiences. I thought it was rude and unprofessional. I know a few people who did the same interview and didn’t have anything like that.