Advice from a school leaver- how to ace the application process!

So, you’re thinking of applying for a role at Grant Thornton- great! We’re thrilled you’re considering us. But before you do, we wanted to share with you a few hints and tips, which will help you to best prepare for the application stages and get the most out of the process.

I’m a school leaver that joined Grant Thornton a few years ago, so I know exactly how daunting it can be, which is why I wanted to help you through our process.

From start to finish, the application process is nice and simple and broken down into clear phases , which you’ll work through depending on your success at each stage. So we thought we’d familiar you with the process, before you hit that big ‘apply’ button!

Application form

The application form asks you for basic information such as name, address etc, as well as questions around whether you’re eligible for the role. This is the time you need to get your thinking cap on about whether you hit all the criteria in order to allow you to apply. This isn’t anything too complicated, but if you’re an international candidate, there are a few considerations (such as visa eligibility) which you may like to think about.

The questions are mostly around which type of programme you’re applying for (School Leaver, Graduate etc). It’s really important to thoroughly read through the questions and answer honestly, ensuring you’re applying for the programme that’s right for you. Make sure you read and understand the questions here, as you may not be able to progress if you’re not eligible.

The application form will ask you to add in your top A level (or equivalent) qualifications. (Note: If you completed only English/Welsh A levels, the answers to these questions will be NA) Remember, we have a flexible approach to academic requirements. We consider academic achievements, but your strengths, motivations and connection with us and our values are more important.

The remainder of the application will ask a couple of questions surrounding Grant Thornton- understanding our purpose and how you feel you stand out as an individual. It’s time to shine and tell us all your great qualities and talents which makes you unique. If you can link this into why you’d slot right in to the culture here at Grant Thornton that would be even better! We advise you take your time so you answer the questions to the best of your ability. You can always save the application part way through and come back to finish it on another day.

Strengths assessment

Following on from the application form, providing that you are eligible to apply for the role, you will be sent a link to the next stage of the process- the Strengths assessment, where you will be fully immersed into life as a Grant Thornton trainee! The questions will revolve around situations you could encounter and how you would approach the challenges and obstacles that you may face as a trainee here.

This will give you a really good feel of what it’s like to work at here, so relax and enjoy it! We’re not trying to catch you out, we’re just really interested in understanding how you approach tasks in a range of situations. The assessment will take around 35 minutes, so it’s best to ensure you’re fully focused and sat somewhere comfortable, as once you begin the assessment, you cannot pause part way through. You’ll get a brilliant feedback report, whether you’re successful or not, that shows your strengths and what you might want to work on. After we get the results, we then look at your whole application and make a decision on whether we’ll be progressing you to the next stage or not.



Digital interview

If you’re progressed through to the next stage of the process, you’ll be asked to complete a digital interview. Don’t worry if this isn’t something you’re familiar with, you’ll get a call from one of our lovely recruiters, who will give you a bit more information on what it involves. When it comes to the digital interview itself, you’ll also be provided with clear instructions that will guide you on what you need to do next.

The digital interview will involve questions on screen in a video format. You will then be asked to respond in a similar way. Try not to be daunted by this, we are not judging you on how you speak or what you look like, we just want to get to know you a bit better and understand your experiences and how these align with our values. Although you don’t get assessed for presentation, one of our great tips is to wear something you’d wear to your first day at the office- that way you’ll be in the professional mind set and feel part of the firm already!

You will be allowed a certain amount of time to plan and answer each question. A really good way of preparing for this effectively is to write down a few bullet points for each answer, as when you record your answer, it’s an easy way of referring back to your thoughts, to make sure you get all your points across.

In the second section of the interview, you’ll be asked to type a response to a case study question. You’ve got a bit more time for this one and it’s really important you thoroughly read through all the information provided, to make sure you don’t miss the important bits. Try to take a deep breath, you don’t need to know all the answers, what we’re really keen on is understanding your problem solving skills. Try and keep your answers clear and concise, so that it’s easy for us to understand your thought process.

If we feel that we need a little bit more information from you or like you may have run out of time and didn’t tell us everything you wanted to, we may give you a quick phone call to find out a bit more about you- if you don’t get one of these, don’t worry! We feel like we’ve got enough information to make an informed decision. Following this you’ll get a call from one of our recruiters, who will advise if you’ve progressed to the next stage

Experience day- the final stage!

If you’re through to the experience day, well done, you’ve smashed it! We’re really looking forward to welcoming you into one of our Grant Thornton offices. If you’re nervous, don’t worry, we’ll make sure we do everything we can to put you at ease.

A top tip for the experience day is to dress smart. It’s great to see everyone in their business wear ready for a day at the office and this makes a really good impression with the assessors. And make sure you’re on time, it makes the day a lot easier for everyone.

Your assessment will last approximately half a day and will involve an interview around your strengths and potential as well as a group exercise, where you’ll work together with the other candidates on some really relevant issues – after this you’ll get a well-earned lunch, where you’ll have the chance to meet some of our trainees and get to know us better.

The best advice we can give is to relax and remind yourself that all our assessors are people too. They’ll be supportive and will want to you do well, just as much as you do. You also don’t need to prepare too much for the day- you’ll be learning new things and getting involved in understanding our purpose of shaping a vibrant economy. Relax, be yourself and enjoy the experience. Following the day, we will provide you with feedback in order to help your development, which we hope you’ll find really useful.

We’re excited to receive your application and hope to see you soon! Any questions please feel free to contact me.




28 September 2017 at 2:12 PM    |   Posted by Jenny Jackson

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