Having sucessfully landed a Big 4 role after graduating from university, here is how I prepared for my final stage interview prior to getting the job offer.
Desktop research and answer tips
The things I researched before the interview and throughout the application process:
- How any kind of change in audit and/or assurance would affect your job as a junior member of the team
- Tools likely offered by the firm you’re interviewing at and how these will benefit you on the job (e.g. better chance for cross-collaboration with teams and also different departments in the firm)
- Emerging industry trends: at the time this was audit analytics. How you think it’ll help the firm, your team, you and your client
Think about where you see yourself in 5 years, and think about this in the context of you staying at the firm for your entire career. In most firms, 5 years will take you to audit manager where you will be leading engagements and managing client communications. It’s important to show your commitment, that you have thought ahead and can imagine yourself at the firm.
When getting questioned on my presentation and the topic it was based on, I tried to frame my answers by thinking about the main stakeholders: you , your team, your firm, your client, and the industry.
Honestly try and smile while you’re talking—it helped my nerves and made me feel like I was chatting to a friend.
Take advantage of pauses and sip a glass of water. This made me feel a lot more at ease and allowed me to collect my thoughts before answering a question.
I have a free resource called the ‘competency bible’ which has a lot of questions you could get asked for competency-based things (which came up a lot in my interview).
I’d go through this document and make sure you have a good variation between all your experiences. Some from jobs, university, sports and extracurricular societies, even your hobbies.
Know how you’re going to say them in STAR format to avoid waffling—I have some more interview tips in the competency bible too:
- I was asked why I’d applied to the location on my application
- What I thought of the CA exams
- Why I thought the CA was something I wanted to do specifically
At the end, I asked couple of questions specific to the partner interviewing me to build rapport. Note: I am quite a dorky person so I took an opportunity to tell a bad accounting joke so I’d leave a good impression behind. I’m not the most sure if this would work with everyone as you’d have to judge their vibe from your conversation!
Rapport and the quality of your answers counts for the most. Show them who you are: you’re a genuine, sound person with the right skills—and eagerness to learn the ones you don’t have—Big 4 also love a certain eagerness to want their firm so a bit of that showing through answers is good too. I spoke about experiences speaking to existing graduates at university fairs to show that I liked what I saw of the culture and people they employed.
If you have any questions about your interview, drop me an email!