Big 4 interview on the horizon?
One of the best things you can do to prepare for your interview is to research the most common Big 4 interview questions and practice them ahead of time. Compiling a list of potential topics and practicing the interview questions is essential because it makes you feel calmer, sound more professional, and come off as a better candidate for a job at the firm.
Before your interview, go through these questions and write down your answers. Periodicially practice them aloud to get a feel for the way the answers sound. Many times we think something sounds good when we write it on paper, only to speak it out loud and completely lose confidence. Have a friend to help you practice by reading the interview questions and having you answer them candidly.
Doing this makes you less nervous for the real thing and helps you hone how fluid your responses sound.
There is a limit to how much you should practice your interview Q&A, however. It is important not to just read off what you memorized because it will show and you will sound like a robot. Instead, have the answer as a base for discussion and have an actual conversation, not a speech.
A lot of the interview questions will be behavioral and call on past experiences (ex: tell me about a time you had to overcome difficult team members). One of the best parts of answering the interview questions ahead of time is that it catalogs many of these types of experiences.
If they give you a question that you hadn’t directly prepared for, you may still have other relevant experiences that are right at your disposal to talk about. It is also good to have something “scripted” to fall back on if you freeze up. Having something canned is much better than being awkward and sitting there thinking about (a good) example you can tell them.
The truth of the matter is the purpose of these interviews are more to see how you can answer the questions, how professional you are, how fluently you can communicate, and really whether you would be enjoyable to work with.
If you have an interview spot, you probably have a high GPA and they already have already screened you for your book smarts.’ These interviews are designed to separate the personable people from the socially inept.
Common Big 4 Interview Questions (KPMG, Deloitte, E&Y, PwC)
1) Walk me through your resume*
2) Tell me a little about yourself or background*
3) Why KPMG/Deloitte/PwC/E&Y?*
4) Why audit/tax/advisory?*
5) Where do you see your yourself in 5 to 10 years?
6) Tell me about a time when you had to be a leader.
7) Tell me about a time when you were had to overcome an obstacle to get something done.
8) Tell me about a goal you had and how you achieved it.
9) Tell me about a time when someone asked you to do something unethical.
10) How well do you work do in a team setting?
11) Give me an example of a time when you were in a moral dilemma and how you handled it.
12) Give me an example of a time when you were working in a team, and a team member wasn’t meeting their responsibilities (and how you handled it.)
13) Tell me about a time when you disagreed with someone in your group.
14) Tell me about a time when you had to work under pressure with strict deadlines.
15) Tell me about a time when you failed or made a mistake and how you handled it.
16) What is your biggest weakness/strength?
17) What do you like to do for fun?
18) What is your greatest achievement (or What are you most proud of)?
19) Give me an example of a time when you disagreed with a superior.
20) Do you prefer you like to travel?
21) Tell me about a time when you improved a process (or came up with a creative solution).
22) Tell me about a time when you had to prioritize your responsibilities.
23) What do you like best about a career in public accounting?
24) Are you interviewing with other firms?
25) Tell me about a time when you had to handle a difficult or angry customer/client.
26) What is the most difficult decision you’ve ever had to make at in school/work? How did you arrive at your decision?
27) If your friends could pick 3 words to descibe you, what would they be?
28) What city would you prefer to live in?
29) What is your take on (insert current event such the Fed’s Stimulus program, overall economic health ect.)?
30) What would you change about your school’s academic program?
31) What sets you apart from the rest of the candidates?
*These questions are highly likely to be asked
For an extra edge on the competition, check out the The Ultimate Big 4 Interview Prep Guide for sample answers to the hardest questions that candidates get wrong, tips from former hiring managers, and a simple four step method for answering any question like an expert.