Huge congratulations to Charles for securing a role with PwC. Here he gives us some insightful information about what their recruitment process is like.
Why did you choose this firm and this role?
PwC is one of the leading professional services firms in the world and is consistently ranked as one of the top graduate companies to work for in the UK. I felt that the support and training that I would receive within the firm would be second to none and that the firm's values were very much aligned with my own; something very important when deciding on where to work and potentially develop as a person. I chose audit because after having studied a few accounting modules at university, it became a career I was potentially interested in pursuing after graduation and so I decided to gain some work experience in it. A career that allowed me to travel to various client sites, work with top FTSE 100, 250 and 350 clients, gain a highly respected qualification and develop my business acumen was one that appealed to me greatly and so I went for it.
What was the toughest part of the application process? And your favourite part?
The toughest part for me was the assessment centre. This was the first assessment centre that I had ever done and I was incredibly nervous. However, someone from the recruitment team kept in contact with me to let me know what to expect and put me at ease and in the end I found it an enjoyable experience. Meeting other applicants and learning more about each other on the day was a lot of fun for me and I found we helped and encouraged each other through the process instead of seeing each other as "the competition". I would advise to keep a very close eye on the time for each task. I did not do this for my written report and had to rush to finish it, leaving me feeling that I could have done a lot better. However, I received good feedback for this task overall, so perhaps it was all in my head! Also, preparation is key, you cannot be too prepared! My favourite part was the partner interview. My interviewer was incredibly friendly and my initial bout of nerves were gone after 5 minutes and the interview became more of a conversation.
Were you surprised by anything in the process?
What surprised me most was how much it seemed like PwC really wanted me to succeed at every stage of the application process. They were very easy to keep in contact with and would provide advice before each stage of the process to help me be as prepared as possible. I felt very supported through it all and it further confirmed my choice to choose to work for this firm.
What three top tips would you give your fellow Bright Network members?
1) Prepare thoroughly for every step of the application process. Do a million practice psychometric tests, read online forums about other people's experiences with assessment days so you know what to expect and how others passed, and prepare rough answers for every possible question you could be asked at interview that can be adjusted accordingly depending on the question. This is the number one tip I would give and is honestly the reason I feel I did so well with my internship applications.
2) Take every opportunity at university that comes your way to develop yourself and gain experience. I did a lot of volunteer work for my university, I did research abroad one summer, a summer exchange in China, worked part-time, was a class representative and did a year industrial placement all before applying for this internship. This gave me a wealth of things to discuss at the interview and allowed me to easily demonstrate the various competencies that they are ultimately looking for in candidates. All the while I averaged a first in each year at university (including first year, it really does count!), demonstrating I also have the academic ability required to not only excel in my career, but pass the qualification exams required to become fully qualified. Keep your academics in mind from the moment you arrive at uni and always strive to get the highest grades possible, while maintaining good extra-curriculars.
3) Make sure you fully understand the role that you are applying for, what it entails and the kind of work you will be doing. If not, this will be rooted out very quickly in your interview and you most likely will not pass. There is a wealth of information available online, including YouTube videos, online forums and of course Bright Network. Be sure to use them all and really gain a deep understanding of the role and industry you are applying to potentially spend a considerable part of your life working in.
What was the toughest question you faced at interview?
Tell me about a time when you had to give someone negative feedback and how you went about doing this.