The Ernst and Young Assessment Centre has completely changed format for the September 2009 intake. The basic difference is that the day is longer, with more tasks to complete. Also the Partner Interview now no longer takes place at the Assessment Centre and will occur only if you are successful at the Assessment Centre. Before you attend the day you are given a piece of research to complete, which you will need to bring along to the Assessment Centre as it is part of one of the tasks.
I had my Assessment Centre at the Birmingham Office for Audit UK&I, for a position at the Nottingham office. There was another person at the Assessment Centre who was applying for Tax so the process is the same for Assurance and Tax applicants. I don’t know whether the process is the same for Advisory and Corporate Finance but I assume it will be.
11.00am – The day started with an introduction by a member of the recruitment team, there was also a manager from both Tax and Assurance present. She explained the setup of the day and what tasks we would be undertaking. This was followed by a getting to know you session, where each person in the room gave their name, where they were from, what they were doing at the moment and what the best thing that had happened to them recently was. There were four of us in total who attended my Assessment Centre.
11.45am – The first task of the day used the research we had to prepare prior to attending the Assessment Centre. This is a team meeting between all the people at the Assessment Centre. You have to talk through what you have found and devise a plan as to how your manager should present a presentation on the area you have researched to a client. This task takes 45 minutes and for the last 10 minutes the managers will ask some questions to clarify any points you have made. For this task you must make sure you contribute without being over dominant. This is a test of teamwork so you must listen and try to incorporate everyone into the task. You should also make sure you manage your time well and achieve the objectives outlined in the brief.
12.30pm – For the second task we were given information on a company and a brief to follow. For this task you have to condense the information given to meet the brief. This is done on a laptop provided and all your work is saved onto a USB. You again have 45 minutes to complete this task and there are 8 pages of information provided. Effective time management is needed; however the information isn’t too difficult to understand. They just want to see that you can pick out the main points from the information and stick to the brief.
1.30pm – Following a 15 minute break for lunch, the third task was to plan a careers fair event which Ernst and Young will be part of. For this you are given a booklet which includes information on the event and people who can help you; this booklet is 6 pages long. You have to outline all the tasks which need to be completed, who you need to help you complete the tasks and a time frame for when the tasks need to be completed by. This task is only 30 minutes long and is again done on a laptop.
2.00pm – The next task tests your basic English skills. You are given a report which has been compiled by someone who supposedly works at EY. It is full of spelling mistakes and grammatical errors and you have to find these and highlight them; the report is five pages long. You are also asked to provide feedback to the person who wrote the report. You have to fill in a form as to how you will go about this and what you hope to achieve. This is followed by a 10 minute mock phone call to the person who wrote the report, played by one of the managers at the Assessment Centre. In this task you have to give feedback over the phone to help the person improve in the future. You have 30 minutes to proof read the report and 15 minutes for the phone call. For the phone call part of this task you need to give constructive feedback and make sure you reassure the person on the phone that s/he can improve.
3.00pm – Following another 15 minute break we had a numerical test. This is the PSL psychometric test and there are 32 questions to answer in 35 minutes. There is really not too much to add here, the questions get harder towards the end of the book. There are 3 diagrams or graphs on each page followed by between 3 and 5 questions relating to these diagrams. I didn’t answer all the questions but still passed the test, I recommend that you focus on getting the questions you attempt correct rather than completing them all but guessing most of them.
3.45pm – The final task of the day was a quick debrief by one of the managers at the Assessment Centre. There are 23 questions to answer and although they say this is informal it is just as important as any of the other tasks during the day. The questions include, How do you feel the day has gone? What have you learnt from today? What do you think was your best/worst task today? You are asked about each task and how you thought it went. My answers weren’t too long but they don’t need to be as long as you answer the questions honestly.
4.15pm – The day ended with the recruiter explaining what would happen next. She said if you were successful you would get a call by 10am the next day to provide feedback. However if you weren’t you would get an e-mail followed by a phone call to give feedback. We were then asked if we had any questions.
4.30am – End of the Assessment Centre.
I received a call at 10am the following day from the recruitment team to let me know I had been successful. I was given feedback on what I had done well and was told that somebody from the recruitment team would contact me soon to arrange the partner interview.
If anyone has any questions I will do my best to help.