I figured it might be helpful if I collected my experience of the KPMG application process – right from the online form where you first apply to the final decision. These kinds of long posts really helped me when I was researching the role, so I hope this can help you too!
The process for most of these big companies is always going to be similar – online stuff, assessment centres, interviews – but knowing the specific process for the company you’re apply to, I feel, helps you feel more confident and prepared. So, I’ll go through each stage that I went through.
Online Application Form
This took me less than half an hour to complete – pretty simple stuff, just your personal details and education and employment history and stuff. Nothing unusual or difficult here!
Situational Judgement Test
The first of the online tests is the STJ, which you must complete within a week. Essentially, it presents you with scenarios and you have to say how you would respond.
These aren’t technical, instead it’s much more about your demonstrating KPMG’s core values (these are leadership, teamwork, respect, facts and insight, open communication, community commitment, and integrity) and how you prioritise work in stressful situations. Read up on their core values and answer with a view to those!
Numerical and Verbal Reasoning Tests
If you pass the SJT, you move onto these. These tests should be quite familiar if you’ve applied to any big company before. They take around 20 minutes each to complete, and again you need to get it done within a week.
The numerical reasoning test gives you 24 questions in the 20 minutes you have. You’re shown graphs and tables and are asked to analyse that data and answer questions based on them. Search for Cubix tests to practice this, as that’s the test provider they use.
The verbal reasoning test has 40 questions in the 20 minutes. Assessing your analytical skills, each question shows you a few paragraphs and asks a question that you answer True, False or Cannot Tell for.
This rather strangely-named section is basically a 90 second audio recording in which you tell KPMG why you want to work there, what your motivations are and why you should work there. Think of it like a minute and a half long video CV. KPMG say that the two elements they are looking for are “Makes an Impact” and “Career Motivation”, so tailor accordingly.
You have three days to submit this, so take your time, plan out what you want to say, and get plenty of practice to make sure you come across as best you can.
Some people have a telephone interview instead of this I’ve heard, so keep an eye out for what your application process entails!
They quick sneakily call this a ‘Launch Pad Recruitment Event’. But what it is is an assessment centre. Over the course of the day, you’ll have to complete a few different exercises.
There’s an office simulation, during which you’ll have to manage an inundated email account, prioritising tasks, taking notes from voicemails, writing up for a manager, and so on. This is really about your time management abilities.
Then I was given a fictional case study with loads and loads of information. I had about an hour to write it up into a report for a manager, with key conclusions and recommendations. This tests both your technical skills and your ability to concisely summarise detailed data.
Lastly, there were two different simulated meetings. One was with a ‘client’ (played of course by a KPMG recruiter). So here, they’re looking for you to be on your best behaviour in terms of dealing with the client, but also in being very good at listening to their information and making accurate conclusions and recommendations.
The other meeting was ‘internal’. Essentially, you’re grouped with other candidates and given a case study. You have to discuss amongst yourselves what the key points are and how you might proceed. They key here is a good mix of teamwork – listening, enabling others to speak, not dominating the conversations – and leadership – taking control of the conversation, putting forward relevant new points and so on. This is a tough balance to get right for sure.
Only a few candidates are chosen to go through to the final interview stage, so if you’ve made it here you’ve already done very well.
It’s a super nerve-wracking thing, but the partner I had actually tried to make me feel as relaxed as possible. It definitely became trying and he pushed me, but there was a marked effort to make it as non-stressful as possible.
That said, do make sure you have plenty of examples to back up points and qualities on your CV. For instance, have examples ready for times you’ve shown leadership, teamwork, ethical integrity, and so on. Also be prepared for one or two technical questions sprinkled in. They aren’t looking to catch you out or anything, but you will need to know your stuff.
Afterwards, all you can do it wait for the results! I heard back within two weeks, but it really depends on when your interview was in regards to the other candidates.
You can email asking for feedback, but I have heard they can be quite slow at this.
Good luck! And please share your experiences below.