This process may seem daunting at first, but if you approach it in the right way then you have a realistic chance of gaining Big Four employment within a month. Here’s how it works:
The competition for trainee Big Four positions in the UK is very intense. Every year, only around five thousand are successful – out of thirty thousand in total! You will be up against candidates from the UK and also overseas, which accounts for nearly 30% of the recruitment demographic. One thing you can be sure of is that all of those five thousand successful applicants practiced regularly and rigorously, as I had to do. As long as you are passionate and hard working, the only thing blocking your progress towards your ideal job is a lack of understanding and preparation. Are you ready and willing to fully throw yourself into the application process and give it the time and effort required? If so, I assure you that you will be joining the five thousand applicants who secure the job of their dreams this year!
Green Turn’s services were recommended to me by a close friend, who had discovered the site while searching for better alternatives to the generic tests found elsewhere on the web. Initially I attended a career consultation session, which was very informative and gave me a good initial understanding of the process and what I could expect. Here, I spoke to a former Big Four manager, who later acted as my performance observer and motivator during the course. During the consultation, she informed me on various specific aspects of the Big Four firms, including their values and career progression opportunities. Based on our conversation, I signed up for the preparation course with Green Turn and shortlisted my two companies of choice – PricewaterhouseCoopers and KPMG. It was great to have this direct level of interaction with an expert, as I could ask questions throughout and adapt the flow of information, unlike when studying with preparation material.
I was determined not to fail at the very first step of the application process, as I felt it would have really shaken my confidence, so I prepared with Green Turn. Their consultations thoroughly reviewed my registration form several times before finalising. At this stage I got a lot of useful advice on how to compose and concentrate my thoughts, which I noted down and have referred to since. The structural aspects of the form seemed fairly trivial at first, but the more I learned the more I realise how important structure is across the whole application procedure. After sending off the forms, I had a nervous day and a half’s wait before I heard back – success on both! PWC asked me to sit their online tests straight away, but KPMG sent me links to answer some ‘situational judgement’ questions first.
The practice links sent by PWC and KPMG were frankly quite easy; however, I had been warned not to let my guard down and fall into the trap of thinking that all the tests were going to be straightforward. A couple of friends of mine from my university days had prepared using some generic online tests they found, and they seemed to be progressing very well… until the failed the actual tests! I did not want to take any chances, so I stayed with Green Turn. Their Personalised Practice Software (PPS) program is brilliant – you can literally see yourself improve through the graph- and chart-based monitoring. After only two solid days of preparation, I sat and passed the aptitude tests, after which I was offered a face-to-face interview by KPMG and phone interview by PWC.
I was only given one week to prepare for my interviews and, due to the high level of service and support provided by the company so far, staying with Green Turn was clearly the best move. The PPS programme was again exceptionally useful here, as I was feedback data on a question-by-question basis. The system helped me recognise and understand my own weaknesses in key competency areas, which I then worked to overcome. My tutor gave me fantastic moral support and loads of great tips and techniques for the interview process, including advice on body language. I wanted to make the most of her extensive Big Four experience, so I attended a face-to-face training session in which we conducted a few mock interview scenarios. This was absolutely priceless preparation and I completely nailed both interviews with composure and confidence – it was a great feeling!
Following my interview success, I was invited to attend the assessment centre tests by PWC and KPMG. The assessment centre is the final stage of the Big Four job application process and lasts for a whole day, during which time you will be tested to the limit. However, this will all be more than worth it if you can come out triumphant on the other side! I basically had to act as employee for both firms, although the structure of each was company-specific. For PWC, I had to prepare for case study and group exercises, further psychometric tests (re-sits from earlier) and a final partner interview. However, at KPMG I had to prepare for etray and presentation exercises before the psychometric tests and final interview. As I had learned from earlier discussion with my tutor, the values of each Big Four firm are different, so it is reasonable to expect that their test procedures will reflect this. There is no better resource in this situation than qualified experts who have seen and done it all before, which is what you get with Green Turn. It took me a few days of dedicated preparation with tutors to fully understand all the direct links between tests and particular competency areas and it is this kind of knowledge that can make or break your performance. After a week of training, I felt completely ready to take on the assessment day and so I did – successfully! I was offered the job by both firms – for the sake of privacy, I am not going to reveal here which one I chose.
After my performance at the assessment centre, PWC offered me a three-year extendable training contract on a starting salary of £28,500. The money was offered in addition to full study support (towards gaining chartered accountancy qualification), health insurance, a pension contribution and several other benefits. KPMG also offered me a three-year extendable training contract, this time starting at £27,500. Their additional benefits are similar to those offered by PWC; the main difference was that KPMG gave me the option of a totally interest-free £7,500 loan.
To be honest, without the support provided by Green Turn I am pretty sure I would have failed at an early stage of proceedings. There is so much to learn and the more knowledge you build up, the more context you have with which to understand the process. I am extremely glad I chose Green Turn’s material over the type of generic test that is commonly found on the Internet, because the specifics are so crucial. My advice to the reader is that you should not even attempt the application process without the required guidance. A poor application will just leave a black mark on your record, since your performance details are kept indefinitely. Concentrate, focus and give it everything you’ve got. Good luck everyone!Get Started Now 1