Scored "exceptional" on PwC's aptitude tests, but failed their "Workstyle" questionnaire. Any tips for next time?


So I recently applied for the 2015 Graduate placement program (all business areas), and I ace’d the logical and numerical reasoning tests (scored the highest category on PwC’s report). I’d prepared for those tests, but did not think to prepare for the “workstyle” questionnaire, as I thought this was just to get a preference on your habits etc etc.

However, I got an email instantly after doing all 3 tests, and got rejected based on the workstyle test. I scored 2/3 in the "Business Acumen, Whole Leadership and Technical capabilities. However I got 1/3 in the Relationships and Global Acumen sections. 1-3 is a indicator on how well you have that still, with 1 being “partial” alignment.

While taking the workstyle questionnaire, I was quite confused and conflicted on a lot of questions, and I guess I did try to seem like an “ideal” candidate by putting work and success over “people” first, and this may have been the reason for my rejection. I guess next time I’ll have to be a bit more honest and try to answer it how I really feel, but are there any tips for passing this? Seems like quite a silly thing to fail for, and idk how to answer questions which make you choose between people, getting the work done, and pushing yourself (or other hard choices between characteristics).

Any tips/programs to help me prepare would be great!


A few things I’ve picked up on from doing these assessments. These are just my own thoughts - I also struggle with these personality tests.

  1. They will see if your top capabilities align to the capabilities/competencies required for your chosen role. I plan to apply to their management consultancy role, so similar to you applying for an all business area placement, this does encompass a wide range of capabilities so…

  2. Be consistent in your answers throughout the questionnaire. I don’t know how long PwC’s one was, but one or two I’ve taken in the past have had 30-50 questions. Some questions had similar choices popping up, either worded differently or they’ve been put with different choices than before. It’ll test where your strengths really lie and will show that you know who you are (are you consistently showing that you’re a leader for example), so perhaps in your case they might have wanted you to score 3 in at least two capabilities? They probably don’t want to see that you need at least some improvement in all areas. In order to do this you’ll need to keep track of your answers throughout the questionnaire, and before you start you’ll need to have clearly thought about the kind of person you are. Even knowing this I still will find it tough! You just have to be firm with what you select.

  3. Doing their practice tests over and over might give you a feel to their questioning style and types of choices they give. You can also try other online practice tests to see the level of consistency you show and it will give you ideas to the kinds of analog personalities that best fit yours.

  4. Overall though I think its just what they deem to be their ‘correct’ personality which is really hard to discern! I personally thought that these kinds of companies want you to show you’re ambitious, and of course a lot of people don’t want to come across as too arrogant so they might shy away from selecting responses that may actually highlight how driven they are. So I would’ve thought selecting responses showing you’re the ideal candidate would work, but then I guess it comes down to consistency again.

Not sure what it’s been like in the past but they might be putting more emphasis on these assessments as, like EY, they’ve stopped checking A-levels as a criteria for hiring candidates. So they might have high standards for these tests. Seems a shame as you scored high for the other two!


PM me - I will be able to help and give a few hints and tips!!!


First of all, sorry to hear that PwC failed you on personality questionnaire alone. You couldn’t have done any better in your numerical and logical reasoning tests, much better I guess than the vast majority of applicants who’ve gone on to receive a PwC offer (including me - above avg. on numerical and exceptional on logical - but I’ve turned them down for another Big 4). I personally am not a fan of the personality questionnaire at all.

Regarding what you think you’ve put, my view is that in order to pass this personality test, you need to tick the boxes which show that you’re a people person and an excellent team player who can meet tight deadlines as opposed to being ambitious or putting work above all else. In this respect, I believe your analysis that you think PwC failed you because you put work and success over people is correct. However, in my experience, it’s wrong to say that you need to be more honest when answering these questions. I naively did that in the past when applying to another company and unsurprisingly got rejected. As an example, I bet 90%+ of applicants would get nervous before an interview, assessment centre or other important occasion (I would; I’d guess even PwC Partners would experience tension/nerves, however little, ahead of, say, an audit tender to a major client they’ve never worked with before). If you then tick in the questionnaire that “it’s the most like you”, well I’m afraid that’s the equivalent of telling the interviewer “I’m not up to the job so reject me if you want”! Similarly, if you prefer to go out with your friends over working with data, then you might as well not bother with the questionnaire.

Hence my advice for you would be to tick “most like you” boxes which consistently show that you’re a people person and are an excellent team player able to make tight deadlines, as well as ticking “least like you” boxes on putting success above all else, ambitious, lazy, prefer hanging round with friends, nervous before an interview and any other obviously undesirable characteristics. Despite what PwC tells you in their invitation email, there’re right and wrong answers in personality questionnaire. Get them right and along with decent test scores plus good enough application form, you’ll definitely be thru to phone interview. Tick the wrong boxes in the questionnaire and you’ll be sent to the back of a 3-month queue.