The Application Experience
I’m Ivaylo, and I have recently been offered an Intern position in the Corporate Tax department in the Glasgow office after successfully passing all the stages of the recruitment process. A lot of people ask me how I went about each stage, so I thought it would be helpful to share my experience with you, together with some tips.
It all begins with the online application, where you have the opportunity to tell Grant Thornton about yourself and your achievements. Academic, professional, or personal, it is important to show how enthused you are about the things you do, how you deal with challenges and embrace opportunities, both individually and as part of a team. Do your research, learn more about the firm and your chosen area of business, and see if this is the right place for you. The CLEARR values (an acronym for Collaboration, Leadership, Excellence, Agility, Respect and Responsibility) form the culture of Grant Thornton and all stages, including this one, will refer you back to them to see how you fit in. Take your time, check you grammar, and be honest.
The next stage of the process involves completing numerical and verbal reasoning tests. These could be challenging and like many other things in life, the more you practise the better you become. There are unassessed practice tests before the actual ones, but I suggest finding more of them on the internet. Keep a track of which kind of questions you struggle with, so you could concentrate on them while preparing. I personally found the tests to be quite time constrained so my advice is not to waste too much time on one question, and just move on. Answer quickly, but also accurately.
The video interview that follows is a definitely unique experience. It is innovative and exciting, truly representative of the Grant Thornton culture. Unlike ‘conventional’ phone interviews, here you answer a set of pre-recorded (mostly) competency based questions, while being filmed by your own camera at your own leisure. I was a bit nervous at first, as there is not a real person in front of you to interact with. However, it is all designed to make you feel comfortable and there are practice questions before the real interview, so you could get a feel for the camera and see examples of what might be asked. Here, you can really show your body language and enthusiasm, so smile and dress smart. Prepare several STAR situations, think of the things you have achieved and want to achieve at Grant Thornton, and keep the CLEARR values in mind. The practice questions are not recorded and they are really helpful for the actual interview, where you could actually stop and take breaks between questions. Once you start, there is a time limit to answer each question and you can see yourself in a small window down in the corner, which could be removed to ensure eye contact with the camera.
If you have performed well, you will be then invited to a follow-up call to expand on some of your answers. Think of it as of another opportunity to show why you are the right person for the role.
Pool of candidates
Soon after the phone call you will be notified whether or not you have been placed in a pool of candidates to be considered for the final stage assessment day. This means that Grant Thornton like what they’ve seen so far, but there might be people further along in the process than you, or they might be waiting for enough successful candidates to put on an assessment day.
Final assessment day
The last stage is the assessment day. It is a chance to meet a lot of people who currently work at Grant Thornton as well as your fellow applicants, and learn even more about the firm and its people. The day consists of a group exercise, a case study, and interviews with members of your preferred department. If you are lucky enough, you will also have lunch with some trainees who have recently joined.
The group activity and the case allow you to demonstrate how you collaborate with others to achieve a mutual goal, and how you approach a problem, while critically evaluating a broad range of issues. Make sure you contribute with good ideas and respect each other’s’ views, putting the needs of clients first. In terms of preparation, this very blog is a really good place to start. Find out what the different departments in the company do and, especially for the interviews, research your preferred area of business and the various factors which affect it. It is a two way process and you will meet some of the most experienced professionals in the country, directors and even partners, so make sure you ask a lot of questions. The insight they can offer you is priceless.
Overall, the amount of support I received during the process was exceptional. The moment they called to inform me I was successful I turned down the offer I had received from a member of the Big Four. Grant Thornton is a fantastic firm with an amazing culture and people.
Whether or not it is the right place for you, is something you will have to find out on your own. If you believe it is, just remember to be positive and treat each stage of the process as a small victory to win. The price is definitely worth it.
I hope this blog has been helpful, just comment below if you have any further questions. Good luck!