Having just received an offer from PKF for a Grad Programme in Audit in Nottingham, I thought it was only fair I posted all my experiences on here too. If you do have any further questions then please just post something on here or PM me and I’ll try and get back to you.
Application Form - There is not much advice I can offer for this, as long as you meet the requirements for your intake the Wikijob walkthrough pretty much explains everything. I used all my characters available to show some effort but generally I think if you meet the requirements hen you will be invited to take the ability tests. I got an email at 9am on monday morning saying they had received my application form and that it could take 15 days to get back to me. It was quicker than this, in fact they got back to me at 5.15 the same day putting me through to the online tests.
Number and Verbal Tests were standard, not as difficult as KPMG.I find the verbal strangely easier than the numerical so I do them with often ten minutes to spare. The Numerical is harder and i strugle mainly cos the time ticks down very fast, i.e. the questions in themselves arent difficult but there just inst enough time sometimes. I did the tests that night, and they got back to me 9am the next morning saying i had passed the tests. However the email they sent me was very ambiguous:’ We will be reviewing applications and shortlisting candidates for first stage interviews as soon as possible and will be in touch then’
I did not understand where i was then. It took them 3 WEEKS to get back to me (only after i emailed them twice). The email was not what i was expecting and read
‘I have read through your experience and academic history with interest but regret to inform you that the role you have applied to has now been filled.’ The had filled all the places for the Liverpool office which i had applied to. I them emailed her back and asked if i could apply to any offices with any remaining places the email read ‘Simply let me know which office you would like to apply for and I will transfer your application over’. So I asked to apply to the Nottingham office which i believe had one place left. The lady said that If i applied i would be invited to first stage interview and I was invited for interview on the 3rd of Feb.
First Interview This is a competency based interview. I only had a day to prepare so i crammed on questions of i expected to come up, why pkf why audit etc.
In actual fact the partner who interviewd me was the best ive had, very relaxed, literally reclined and laid back in his seat. He asked me why here and not the big four, and went through my applciation form question by question and asked me to elaborate. So there wernt any difficult questions really. He then started talking about his experience with the firm, some of the jobs he was on. And then talked about the exams and asked me how i dealt with exams. He asked me what firms i had applied for and why not some others, eg. i said i applied for mid tier firms because i was genuinly interested in the work and wanted to have full exposure, which the big four didnt offer as much in the early years.
You need to be confident when you talk, but the advice i would gvie is know your application form well, cos thats the main thing he asked me about. They also like it when you manage to use a variety of examples such as work, studies, hobbies that sort of thing. Just be prepared with your answers and this will also help you manipulate answers when you get asked something that you haven’t prepared for. I left the interview feeling q.relaxed and happy with how it went. He also said to me that usually he can tell within the first 10 minutes who he will hire and who not, so i didnt know if that was a good sign or not, since he did most of the talking in the second half of the interview.
Literaly ten minutes after i walked out of the office, ( i was in the train station waiting for my train) i got an email on my blackberry saying i had progressed to final interview which was ot be held on the 24 of feb. I couldnt attend that so opted for a week later.
The final interview as a case study interview, and i got an email the week before confirming the detials and which partner and manager i would be with. It also said to read up on the health and leisure industry for 2 to 3 hours!!!.
I decided to drive to the final interview and set of from liverpool at 6.30 to get in for 9. Obviously there was an accident on the motorway and while the navigator told me i was 7 miles away it actually took me an hour to drive 7 miles and ended up being half an hour late, at which i thought id blown all my chances.
Credit to the team, they told me they understood and that these things happened, which relaxed me a bit. I was then left in a room for 75 minutes to do the case study abut FFF a fictional ( i think ) gym firm. The case study was 2 sides and you had to make 4 recomendations of how they could improve their business. All the detials required were provided and so reading up before was a waste of time really. You then had to discuss with the interviewers the strenghts + weaknesses of the firm. Anyhow, i did this in 45 mins, after reading and rereading what id written. When my time wa sup both came in and we discusses the study for maybe half an hour.
They then moved on to me, why had i applied for pkf? why nottingham? what do i know about the CA qualification and how it differed from ACA? what other offers and firms did i apply to and have, at which i said i had a final interview from GT. It was all a very laid back chat and then they just went through my application form again. afte ran hour of this, they strangely asked to be excuses, and came back in 2 mins later and said that while they didnt want to get ahead of themselves, the outcome ;‘would be good’ and that id have confirmation within 2 weeks of my offer. They showed me round the office for 5 minutes and it all seemed very friendly and relaxed atmosphere. I was very impressed actually, and it seems like a great place to work.
Hope that helps some people, thought id give back since wikijob gave alot to me. if u have nay questions ill be happy to answer.