KPMG First Interview Structure


I’ve just had the first interview and wanted to give some info as the structure was slightly different to what I’d read on here from previous interviewees. I don’t know if they’ve changed it recently but I read that there were 5 questions, one for each competency, and a few about KPMG/field chosen questions. This is not the case!

In the first interview they focus on 5 of the 8 competency: Business Focus, Career Motivation, Building Relationships, Drive & Resilience, and Making an Impact.
However, they don’t ask you any questions relating to the Making an Impact competency so I assume they are assessing this competency in how you convey yourself and communicate with the interviewer throughout.

They ask THREE questions per competency, based on the results of your PAPI.

So for instance - they might say:
“Your PAPI results show that you have a tendancy towards working in a team rather than independently. Can you tell me a time when you’ve worked within a team and had to gain insight or advice from another person and how you actioned or responded to the advice given by that other person”

I got some really similar questions on the Building Relationships & Drive & Resilience sections. It was really hard to think of different examples when the questions were so similar.
eg. I was asked - Can you tell me a time when you had to change your approach suddently due to a decision that you had made that changed your direction (I think they’re looking here at whether you can accept if something isn’t working and abandon the current plan of action to best suit the needs of the task)…and then I was asked Can you tell me a time when you had to change your apprach suddenly due to the decision of someone else that made you change direction, and how did you cope with that (I think here they’re looking at how you deal with the frustration of an outside party messing your methodology up and how you handle the frustration and interruption).

I managed to twist another example I’d prepared to address this since I’d only really prepared one examply of a time I’d had to change my approach to something.

So think of lots of scenarios that are flexible and can be tweaked depending on the wording of the question.

Other questions I got on these sections were:
A time when you had lots of different tasks and different time limits and how you coped with juggling the different tasks and pressures.
A time when you had to deal with an issue in a very short space of time and how you coped with the time pressures involved. (again this one and the previous one were very similar!).
A time when you had to handle a conflict or sensitive issue between you and a colleague and how you went about addressing it.

In respect of the Business Focus competency - I was asked:
A story or event (can be on specific business or something to do with the economy that affects businesses in general0 that interested me and why.
What CURRENT event - not something 6-12 months old - something here and now - I felt was affecting businesses in general and why? (I talked about the current issues with the € and eurozone countries losing confidence and the potential knock on effects).
What did I think businesses could do to protect themselves against these issues/risks.

I wasn’t asked to comment on any one company that I thought was underperforming or performing well, but I managed to tie these in as examples of issues affecting businesses (underperforming) how companies can address the issues (performing well).

Career Motivation - I was aksed more than 3 questions i think there were about 5 or 6.
Why the line I’d applied for? What I thought I’d enjoy best about it? What doubts I had about it?
Why KPMG? What I thought I’d enjoy best about it? Was I worried about anything?
What I thought I’d be doing in my first year?

They really just want you to be honest and show them that you know what you’re letting yourself in for, you know it’s not going to be all fun and there’ll be boring/tough bits.

Hope this helps someone else prepare for the interview as I was caught a bit of guard when I was told there’d be 3 per competency.


Thanks for your helpful post. Which programme you applied for? Do let us know your progress.

I am waiting for my 1st round. It sounds scary to prepare 3 examples for each competency!


I’ve applied for tax graduate recruitment. I have just found out I’m through to the AC so obvioulsy did OK on the interview.

I know - imagine my face when I thought it was ONE example per competency. Luckily I’d prepared lots of scenrios anyway. What I did, for each competency on the website they list questions you should ask yourself. These questions are telling you what that competency means to them.

eg. "Building Relationships
Teamwork is a big part of what we do at KPMG. This means we’re looking for people who enjoy sharing ideas and discussing issues with others, and who value the input of other team members. In addition, client contact is a big part of what we do, so being able to build relationships with them is also crucial.
Have you ever successfully completed a project as part of a team?
Do you try to get everyone involved when you’re working with other people, supporting and helping when necessary?
Do you avoid blaming individuals if things go wrong, but help the team to learn from its mistakes? "

Try and think of possible questions they might ask surrounding these kinds of characteristsics that they’re looking for. Then think of scenarios that might demonstrate it. Try and make the scenarios flexible. They can be from work, uni, hobbies etc. They do say try and keep it within the last 3 years or so so they examples are current.

Within the competencies they could ask you anything, and like I mentioned it could be 2 things that overlap. So I wouldn’t try to think of 3 set examples or you might come unstuck if the right question doesn’t come up. Just think about scenarios that demonstrate what they’re looking for in each field and they tweak them to suit the question.

The interviewer was really nice. i was so nervous but she really made me relax and although the structure is rigid in that it’s set questions, we did have a chat about issues that arose along the way and she gave feedback and if I wasn’t really hitting the spot she’s dig deeper y saying “And how did you react to that” or “And what was the oucome”.

They’re just normal people like us and they’re really nice so just relax and try not to panic if you get stuck. I asked her to repeat one of the questions and took my time to think of a good eg rather than blurting the first thing out.

Good luck!


Hi Polly,

Just wanted to say thanks as your v helpful and detailed post on the interview structure really helped me to prepare for mine today…

good luck with AC!



Anyone has advice about Risk and Compliance - Forensic. I’ve been trough the application form and I have to do the numerical test.
I have a strong commercial awareness about Compliance as I wrote a thesis about the subject, but I can’t see anything in this forum about questions that I’ll be asked at the interview or the assessment centre.
Im wondering if I will have to do the business game as well as in KPMG website there’s no business game example for advisory.
Is the process different?
Im a bit worry, thanks.


Hi Polly
thank for your advice on the interview -it really helped me prepare for mine!
got through to the AC so must have done something right
How did your AC go?


i had mine 1st round interview today, the lady that interviewed me was really nice and she made the interview so much relaxing. She wasnt supposed to interview me but the other guys had a client meeting so…
It was pretty like what ppl. mentioned here, I got 3 questions out of each competency and making an impact is assessed by how you behave on the day.
Building relationships:
1.time to make a positive relationship with s.o.
2.time you dealt with conflict in a significant project.
3.time you worked as part of a team.
Drive and resilience:
1.Time you deal with multiple deadlines.
2. time you worked under pressure in short pace of time.
3.proudest achievement.
Business focus:
1.current business issues?
2.Factors affecting business?
3.Issues affecting professional services?
Career motivation:
1.why kpmg?
2.why audit?
3.what do you expect to do in 1st year?

at the end i asked her a couple of questions abt her journey with KPMG and work life balance, etc.
the interview started at 1h10pm and finished at 1h50. so it was pretty quick.
hope i pass this round.
Good luck to you all out there.x


Thanks for sharing your experience! I’ve got my first round for Audit, London next week!
Fingers crossed!


Hi guys

I have Pwc online tests tomorrow. Wondering if anyone had advice on strategy for succeeding the 1. logical & 2. num tests???