This website has been a huge help to me, and I know that these kinds of longer posts were really useful to me, so I wanted to return the favour and share my experience! Now, most of these large companies have a similar (and long) recruitment process. PwC is no different here, but some of the specificities are always worth knowing.
First up there’s the online form. Nothing out of the ordinary here: it’s a standard thing to get the process starting. Enter your details, the path you would like to work in and your education, qualifications and employment history. That sort of thing. You should be invited to do an online test afterwards, which is where the real fun begins.
PwC use the standard SHL-style tests here covering numerical, logical reasoning and verbal reasoning. This bit’s nothing to worry about, really. There’s heaps of practice material on this site alone, and on plenty of others too. PwC also allow you to take a mock test before you take it for real, so you can see how it all works and make sure your brain is on form.
It’s also worth noting that there will be an Occupational Personality Questionnaire (OPQ) as part of the online tests. This is designed to assess how you respond to scenarios, so it’s about how you think much more than knowledge or logic. The best way to prepare for this is to check out their Professional Framework. This essentially sets out PwC’s core values, which is largely what the OPQ will be looking out for. Quoting from their website, these attributes are:
• Whole leadership, the ability to lead, to make a difference and deliver results
• The ability to build genuine, trust-based relationships;
• Business acumen, the ability to bring business knowledge and awareness
• Technical capabilities, which create value for clients and PwC
• Global acumen, transcending boundaries of geography, politics, race and culture
It’s important to note that there aren’t right or wrong answers for the OPQ, so don’t fret over particular options – just choose answers that reflect their Professional Framework and you’ll breeze through.
If you pass the online assessments, you’ll be invited to a first interview. Usually this is a phone interview, which is what I had. It’s a pretty stiff kind of interview, with pre-scripted questions. There was nothing out of the ordinary here, just a fairly standard set of questions about why you chose the role, why PwC, questions about your CV and so on.
Again, what I reckon they’re looking for here is evidence of the core attributes listed above. They’ll want to hear that your goals align with their company values, and that in your experience you’ve demonstrated those qualities.
This is always the most terrifying bit of the process. For PwC, this is split into three or four parts (the fourth being the final partner interview, which is sometimes not held at the assessment centre but usually is!). Don’t worry, as many others have attested to, they do their best to create a relaxed and unstressed atmosphere. It was an interesting day more than anything!
First up we completed tests that are similar to those in the online assessment. Not quite sure why we did these again – they weren’t the same but were similar. If you didn’t struggle too much with the online ones I wouldn’t worry.
Afterwards, we had a virtual office test. This consisted of things like responding to emails and writing up a report for a manager. The key here is to be concise, clear and prioritise your jobs and information efficiently.
Then we had a group exercise. For this, we were each given a case study scenario. Our job was to summarise the key aspects (core information, positives, negatives, future outlook) and present it to the group. I feel like they weren’t so much looking for technical prowess here, but more for your personability and presenting skills, so brush up on those if you can. Make eye contact, speak clearly and be concise.
Like I said, I believe this most often comes at the end of the assessment centre. But sometimes, due to timetabling issues I’d imagine, it’ll be held on a different day. Obviously you’ll know beforehand though, so don’t worry about that.
The great thing about PwC here is that, like with the assessment centre, they really do make an effort to make you feel relaxed and unpressured at the partner interview. I was interviewed by three people, but sometimes you’ll have fewer people in the room. They want to hear the best from you, really.
What questions they’ll ask you varies hugely, of course. However, there was nothing out of the ordinary. Don’t expect Oxbridge-style wacky interview questions. They’ll ask about your history and experience, your qualifications, and some questions like “tell me about a time you demonstrated X quality”, like leadership or patience or something like that.
Again, the important thing to remember is that they’re looking for the qualities in the Professional Framework: leadership, trust, business acumen, technical ability, and a global outlook. Keep that in mind.
There are also likely to be technical questions at this point, depending on which path you’ve applied for. Make sure you know the state of PwC, some of their major clients, and keep up to date on current affairs in the global business world. Read things like the Financial Times and The Economist to stay on top of that sort of thing, because they’ll likely ask about how X recent event affects PwC and/or their clients, or how X company is doing at the moment.
And that’s it!
After that, the whole ordeal should be over. I heard back about a week after my final interview, though I’ve heard of people hearing as soon as three hours after (depends on how many more candidates they have to interview, I’d guess). Good luck!
And please leave any questions or your own experiences down below, too!