Besides a strong resume, there is a critical quality Big 4 Firms want from their new hires. And it’s essential to the hiring manager or recruiter that you demonstrate this quality.

The #1 Quality Big 4 Firms Want from Their New Hires

Big 4 firms consistently emphasize how they are looking to hire and employ individuals with good grades, willingness to learn, and most importantly, transferrable leadership skills. Big 4 firms hone your leadership skills every day when by having you attend meetings or communicate with clients. Think about how you can stand out in these situations.

Your Big 4 Interview Will Include Leadership Questions

It wasn’t until Ernst & Young and Deloitte interviewed me that I began to change my perspective on who I was as a leader. Often, during a Big 4 interview, you will be asked behavioral questions that start with “Tell me about a time when/where…” With these open-ended questions, recruiters are attempting to understand certain moments in your life and how you have dealt with them. Specifically, recruiters are also listening for examples in which your leadership skills shine through.

For example, one interview question that came up frequently during my Big 4 firms interviews was:

“How have you impacted the mindset of a team you have worked with?”

Of course, this is a perfect question where Big 4 is seeking to understand your leadership skills!

At this moment, I began to recall when others have recognized me as a person of authority in a group. Luckily, I used an example of when I led my Resident Assistant (RA) staff in a scavenger hunt. Although this example is not as prestigious as being the captain of a team, it still shows how I can apply my ability to guide and direct a group to succeed in a common goal.

What Leadership Means in a Big 4 Environment

After interning with Ernst & Young for two summers, I had been on several client engagement teams, at least three group intern teams, and completed approximately four presentations. Consequently, all of these activities required me to step out in front as a leader and influence my peers. I realized that working for Big 4 meant being able to take control, guide, and direct your team and clients in the best direction. Qualities such as patience, understanding, adaptive thinking/learning, and compassion all encompass traits of a good leader.

How to Obtain the #1 Quality Big 4 Firms Want: Take Leadership Roles Now

Without taking those opportunities to lead your group in a scavenger hunt, be the president of an organization, or lead a study group, it is challenging to develop the skill sets needed in a leader.

Firms want to see students who are not “chilling” and just getting by. They want people who are taking an active interest and helping to bring about positive change.

Get involved!

Find an opportunity that allows you to make an impact, think from different perspectives, and work with a diverse group of people. You will find that these experiences will enhance your potential to lead. Also, you’ll be able to take any skills you learned and apply them to your internship or Big 4 job.

Leadership can come in many forms. So, your position may not always contain words like “President” and “captain.” As I mentioned above, I lead my staff in a scavenger hunt, but I was not the head RA. It’s all about taking that initiative!

Developing leadership skills in your undergrad career is truly essential preparation for Big 4 life. You will find that during your Big 4 experience, almost all work is completed as part of a team. Knowing how to communicate with others, respect differences, and motivate your co-workers to be on the same page, are critical skills for your short- and long-term career progression.