KPMG Interview Questions & Answers

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  • Graduate Human Resources Scheme

    4.7143/5 | Interview date: December 2014 | Job offer? Not yet |

    Was this helpful? Yes 13

    Sectors: Human Resources

    Difficulty rating 60.0 / 100

    Interview process

    First stage is a standard online application form about your education and experiences and all personal information. Then there was a numerical and verbal reasoning test to complete, both around 20 mins each. Practice tests can be found online. Main tip is don't worry if you don't finish all of the questions in either test; the most important thing is to give correct answers, so be as accurate as you can even if you can't get through all questions. Secondly there was a standard competency-based telephone interview with a recruiter which lasted around 45 minutes. This was made up of the usual competency questions (so make sure you prepare some example answers that you can refer to) and some business-related questions; I was asked about a business that had not been performing well recently and was asked to talk about four issues relating to that performance. Again, prepare, read through the business news online and in the paper, I'm a history graduate so wasn't familiar with a lot of this but a couple of weeks of preparation really help! Then came the immersive assessment centre.

    Most difficult question

    Definitely the business questions; I had chosen an example of a business not performing well, but that was all. So when I was asked to talk about four issues relating to that business I was lost for words! Don't panic, just let the interviewer know that you are gathering your thoughts. A lot comes down to common sense - think about why that business isn't performing well, is it a technical issue or a personal error? How can the issue be rectified? I managed to come up with three issues quite quickly, but struggled on the last one, I think I said something completely random. However I do think they appreciate the effort, as I was successful!

    Interview tips

    Sounds obvious, but PREPARE. It is so easy to prepare for an interview/assessment centre at KPMG. On their recruitment website there is a list of the nine competencies they look for. For the telephone interview come up with two or three examples of each competency that you can refer to, the interviewer will TELL you what competency they are looking for. Each exercise at the assessment centre TELLS you what competencies they are assessing! It really is that simple. Read up on the business news, check BBC and the Evening Standard has a good concise business section. KPMG come up in the papers, so look out for them. I applied for HR but all candidates have to demonstrate business and commercial awareness - this is one of their competencies. At the assessment centre, take each task separately and be honest about your performances. Be professional, but mostly importantly relax and be yourself. If you try and enjoy each stage of the process you will find it easier!

    Experiences at the assessment centre

    KPMG has an immersive assessment centre designed to give you a day in the life experience that you don't get with other assessment centres. You are working for a fictional professional services company (basically KPMG). The tasks were a written analytical exercise, an e-tray exercise, and then two role play exercises; one with a fictional client, and one with a 'manager.' In the written exercise you're given a lot of information about the company you work for and a client company and are given an hour to write a report about the strengths and weaknesses of the client company and what your company could do to help them. Again, as a history student this was unfamiliar to me, but a lot of it is common sense; structure your report and pick out different bits of information relevant to the section you are working on. You are given all of the information you need, what is important is what you do with it. Try and include facts and figures from the information to strengthen your report. Second was the e-tray exercise. This was a mixture of multiple choice questions (i.e. what is the best response to give), drafting different responses to emails and looking at email attachments and sending the correct reply based on the information in the attachment. Main tip - some of the emails will have a certain time to be completed by; I didn't notice this and had a bit of a panic at the end though luckily I got everything done! Scan through all emails and check for these time limits before you start working through them. But it is pretty straight forward. Lastly were the two role-play meetings which I was dreading the most. The first is with the fictional client you wrote the report on earlier; you are given about 15 minutes to prepare. If I remember correctly the client had accepted our initial proposal for a project but wanted a more detailed second proposal, the purpose of the meeting is to understand what the client wants in this proposal. BUT there is a twist - you are told that the two companies have worked together before but there was a breakdown in the relationship. This WILL come up in the meeting. KPMG hire professional actors for these meetings, and they will not break character. Some of the other candidates I spoke to said their 'client' had a personality quirk, e.g. they were really reserved or quite aggressive. I was lucky in that my 'client' was pretty laid back. The most important thing is to get into character yourself and take control of the meeting - you are in charge of the time and where the meeting goes, honestly just pretend the situation is real. Be professional and friendly and don't shy away from the issue of the previous breakdown. Acknowledge it. The last meeting was with your 'manager,' and the purpose was to feedback about the client meeting. This is your first one-on-one with this manager, so as well as asking for info about the client meeting they also ask if there are any ways they can help mesh your working team together. This is a slightly easier meeting as the 'manager' takes control. You can relax a bit more with this one, but still be professional and friendly in your responses. DO NOT LIE about how you think the client meeting went - although you have different assessors sitting in the two different meetings with you, they undoubtedly compare notes. So if you had an aggressive client and you do not think the meeting was that productive, say so. After every task there is a ten minute self-review exercise which is also assessed. Pretty simple - they ask what you think went well, what didn't go so well and what you would do differently in future. Again, be honest about your performances, as KPMG want to see that you are self-aware and can reflect on your experiences. Overall I really enjoyed the day!

    Interview steps

    Interviews

    • Phone
    • 1:1
    • Group / Panel
    • Senior Management
    • Video

    Tests

    • Numerical
    • Personality
    • Verbal reasoning
    • Psychometric

    Other

    • Assessment centre
    • Group excercise
    • Background check
    • Presentation
    • Competency based questions

    Rating the interview

    • How would you rate the pre-attendance information? 4/5
    • How well was the interview organised? 5/5
    • What was your overall impression of the organisation? 5/5
    • What was your overall impression of the selection process? 4/5
    • Did the interview reflect the overall values / culture of the organisation? 5/5
    • Would you recommend this company to a friend? 5/5
    • Did you want the role following your interview? 5/5
  • 
  • KPMG Audit Opportunities for Graduates

    4.0/5 | Interview date: October 2014 | Job offer? Yes |

    Was this helpful? Yes 12

    Sectors: Accounting

    Difficulty rating 20.0 / 100

    Interview process

    The telephone interview was the 2nd step in the recruitment process, after the application and online tests. It lasted around 45 minutes, as I was told. I was asked a set of basic competency questions and some business-related questions. I had more or less prepared using various forums so I was able to answer most questions with relative ease.

    Most difficult question

    The scenario questions were difficult as you cannot really prepare for them. I was asked 2 of these types of questions. The interviewer will first describe the scenario both of which were quite long and boring. One was about time-consuming tasks with similar deadlines and the other one about a group situation

    Interview tips

    Prepare thoroughly using popular forums where participants have usually described in detail what to expect. However there will always be tests you cannot fully prep for, such as role play and e-tray. Which is where I think I struggled - so make sure the preparation is there and then the rest is a bit up to luck!

    Experiences at the assessment centre

    Report writing, role play and e-tray. The report writing is straightforward, candidates are given various texts and then asked to write a report with recommendations. Role play involved two situations, one with an unhappy client and another with your manager. E-tray was quite hard, there were numerical questions, voice mails, video messages.

    Interview steps

    Interviews

    • Phone
    • 1:1
    • Group / Panel
    • Senior Management
    • Video

    Tests

    • Numerical
    • Personality
    • Verbal reasoning
    • Psychometric

    Other

    • Assessment centre
    • Group excercise
    • Background check
    • Presentation
    • Competency based questions

    Rating the interview

    • How would you rate the pre-attendance information? 3/5
    • How well was the interview organised? 4/5
    • What was your overall impression of the organisation? 4/5
    • What was your overall impression of the selection process? 4/5
    • Did the interview reflect the overall values / culture of the organisation? 4/5
    • Would you recommend this company to a friend? 4/5
    • Did you want the role following your interview? 5/5
  • 
  • KPMG - Technology Consulting Opportunities for Graduates

    2.5714/5 | Interview date: September 2014 | Job offer? No |

    Was this helpful? Yes 7

    Sectors: Consultancy

    Difficulty rating 60.0 / 100

    Interview process

    The telephone interview was the third step in the recruitment process, after application and online tests. It lasted around 25 minutes, although I was told it would last between 40-60 minutes. I was asked a set of basic competency questions. I had prepared using various forums so I was able to answer all of the questions with relative ease.

    Most difficult question

    The scenario questions were difficult as you cannot really prepare for them. I was asked 2 of these types of questions. The interviewer will first describe the scenario both of which were quite long and boring. One was about amending a task and the other a group situation.

    Interview tips

    Prepare thoroughly using popular forums where participants have usually described in detail what to expect. However there will always be tests you cannot fully prep for, such as role play and e-tray. Which is where I think I struggled - so make sure the preparation is there and then the rest is a bit up to luck!

    Experiences at the assessment centre

    Report writing, role play and e-tray. I think the e-tray is where I failed. The report writing is straightforward, candidates are given various texts and then asked to write a report with recommendations. Role play involved two situations, one with an unhappy client and another with your manager. E-tray was particularly difficult for me, there were numerical questions, voice mails, video messages.

    Interview steps

    Interviews

    • Phone
    • 1:1
    • Group / Panel
    • Senior Management
    • Video

    Tests

    • Numerical
    • Personality
    • Verbal reasoning
    • Psychometric

    Other

    • Assessment centre
    • Group excercise
    • Background check
    • Presentation
    • Competency based questions

    Rating the interview

    • How would you rate the pre-attendance information? 1/5
    • How well was the interview organised? 1/5
    • What was your overall impression of the organisation? 4/5
    • What was your overall impression of the selection process? 4/5
    • Did the interview reflect the overall values / culture of the organisation? 2/5
    • Would you recommend this company to a friend? 3/5
    • Did you want the role following your interview? 3/5
  • 
  • Audit Programme - KPMG

    4.0/5 | Interview date: July 2014 | Job offer? No |

    Was this helpful? Yes 8

    Sectors: Accounting

    Difficulty rating 60.0 / 100

    Interview process

    Tasks: An initial verbal reasoning test to assess there was no wrongdoing during the online test. This was then followed with the unique KPMG immersive assessment centre (based on an imaginary company), where tasks followed what would be a typical day for a new graduate. This included a Virtual Office exercise, writing a report with recommendations based on the company, and then two role-playing exercises with a potential client and your manager. The format was designed as a natural progression as you learned more about the company, for example you could use all the information you gathered from the in-tray exercise to use in the client meeting.

    Most difficult question

    Due to the nature of the immersive AC there were not any personal questions asked. I would say some of the questions from the potential client were difficult, where the exercise is designed for the client to have aggrievances and you need to overcome them and build a relationship. So for example one question the client had was "in the past we have had a difficult working relationship, how do you plan to overcome this in future?". This required innovative and immediate quick-thinking answers to address client concerns.

    Interview tips

    Carefully choose which information to read, if you analyse everything given to you, you will easily run out of time on all of the tasks.
    Relax as much as possible during the role-playing exercises, although make sure you time keep during your client meeting.

    Experiences at the assessment centre

    We all did a verbal reasoning test consisting of 30 questions in 17 minutes. After this the immersive assessment centre begun, prior to starting the tasks everyone was given 15 minutes to take in all the background information we had been given. In the morning everyone did an in-tray exercise lasting an hour, and then the virtual office exercise lasting an hour as well. In the afternoon, the groups were split up with some doing their role-playing exercises, whilst the rest of the group had lunch. After every single task there was also a 10 minute self-review exercise where we commented on what went well, what did not go so well, and how we might change our approach if we faced with a similar scenario in future.

    Interview steps

    Interviews

    • Phone
    • 1:1
    • Group / Panel
    • Senior Management
    • Video

    Tests

    • Numerical
    • Personality
    • Verbal reasoning
    • Psychometric

    Other

    • Assessment centre
    • Group excercise
    • Background check
    • Presentation
    • Competency based questions

    Rating the interview

    • How would you rate the pre-attendance information? 3/5
    • How well was the interview organised? 4/5
    • What was your overall impression of the organisation? 5/5
    • What was your overall impression of the selection process? 3/5
    • Did the interview reflect the overall values / culture of the organisation? 3/5
    • Would you recommend this company to a friend? 5/5
    • Did you want the role following your interview? 5/5
  • 
  • Audit Programme - KPMG

    4.7143/5 | Interview date: June 2014 | Job offer? Yes |

    Was this helpful? Yes 7

    Sectors: Finance

    Difficulty rating 40.0 / 100

    Interview process

    The first interview will last approximately 45 minutes and will be by a manager from your line of service (or occasionally someone from HR). It is a competency-based interview. You will be asked a number of questions, which will profile your experience against the key competencies described above. Ideally, you should also aim to display the following attributes:
    1. Commitment to teamwork.
    2. Ability and desire to lead and inspire.
    3. Respectability and responsibility - are you how the company would like to be perceived by clients.
    4. Ethical and truthful - are you trustworthy and can you demonstrate your integrity.

    You will participate in 4 or 5 activities during your Assessment Centre: a client meeting, a manager meeting, a Virtual Office Exercise, an Analysis Exercise, and in some cases, a final interview.

    Remember, the other candidates present at your Assessment Centre may not necessarily be applying for the same service lines as you, so there is no need to be overly aggressive or competitive. It will probably be frowned upon by the KMPG team. Following your Assessment Centre, you will be given an opportunity to assess your own performance on the exercises. Use this opportunity to explain your actions and recommendations.

    My final interview was a relaxed interview with a partner which took an hour. We covered some basic competency questions, two situational judgements, and then an informal chat about how auditing is evolving.

    Most difficult question

    In the mock meeting with client. 'How will you improve the service provided by your company?'

    In the mock meeting with manager. 'What will you do to take more responsibility?'

    Interview tips

    Top Tips
    Phone interview
    -make sure you know alot about the proffesional service industry
    -make sure you know alot about kpmg
    -make sure you know alot about their competitors, and kpmg' competitive advanatage
    - make sure you know alot about the service line that you are applying to
    -make sure you read the 9 company competencies listed on their website. This is what you will be assessed against.
    -make sure you have a range of examples where you have shown the transferable skills that would be useful for the job.

    Assessment Center
    -make sure you work quickly and do not waste time reading every ounce of detail
    -make sure you spelling and grammar is correct. They are looking for a professional graduate.
    -look smart, this will make a good impression in the mock meetings.
    -be confident
    -talk to the other graduates at the lunch break

    Partner Interview
    -be yourself
    -they are trying to see what you are really like/ are you a good fit
    -enjoy it, it's very relaxed and they are pitching kpmg to you, just as much as they are assessing you.

    Experiences at the assessment centre

    During the AC, you will complete an analysis exercise, which takes an hour, digesting about 10 pages of information and then writing a report on the findings. Then you'll will take an e-tray exercise, also an hour long. This requires answering e-mails, voice-mails, video calls all within the allotted time. Finally you will have two mock meetings, one with a potential client, building a relationship, and one with your manager, assessing your individual performance.

    Interview steps

    Interviews

    • Phone
    • 1:1
    • Group / Panel
    • Senior Management
    • Video

    Tests

    • Numerical
    • Personality
    • Verbal reasoning
    • Psychometric

    Other

    • Assessment centre
    • Group excercise
    • Background check
    • Presentation
    • Competency based questions

    Rating the interview

    • How would you rate the pre-attendance information? 3/5
    • How well was the interview organised? 5/5
    • What was your overall impression of the organisation? 5/5
    • What was your overall impression of the selection process? 5/5
    • Did the interview reflect the overall values / culture of the organisation? 5/5
    • Would you recommend this company to a friend? 5/5
    • Did you want the role following your interview? 5/5
  • 
  • Audit Programme - KPMG

    3.4286/5 | Interview date: June 2014 | Job offer? No |

    Was this helpful? Yes 6

    Sectors: Accounting

    Difficulty rating 40.0 / 100

    Interview process

    The first stage of the application was the personal information and then there was a situational, numerical and verbal reasoning test.
    After this was a phone interview which lasted about 45 minutes. The interviewer introduced them self and told me about their background. Then it was straight into the interview questions. It was a competency based interview focusing on KPMG's competencies of career motivation, delivering quality, collaboration, continuous improvement, professional judgment, seizing business opportunities, innovation and resilience.
    They also asked a fair amount of questions about commercial awareness. This was my first interview and wasn't as prepared as I should have been so some of the questions caught me off guard and I didn't really provide good answers to the questions. The interviewer was friendly enough but if you haven't done your research, the interview will be tricky. The interviewer would ask a lot of follow up questions to your answers such as "Why do you think that?"

    Most difficult question

    Pick a company that has had some troubles over the past couple of years and give four ways to help this company.
    What has been going on in the business world that affects the company.
    A more junior staff member undermines you in a presentation to a client stating that what you are proposing could be done more efficiently. How do you respond to the staff member? How do you respond to the client?

    Interview tips

    Make sure to do your research on the company and the role and what you will be doing in your first year. Work on commercial awareness and read websites such as Accountancy Age. Don't go in underprepared as you cannot provide adequate answers to some of the questions without preparation.

    Experiences at the assessment centre

    Did not attend assessment centre

    Interview steps

    Interviews

    • Phone
    • 1:1
    • Group / Panel
    • Senior Management
    • Video

    Tests

    • Numerical
    • Personality
    • Verbal reasoning
    • Psychometric

    Other

    • Assessment centre
    • Group excercise
    • Background check
    • Presentation
    • Competency based questions

    Rating the interview

    • How would you rate the pre-attendance information? 4/5
    • How well was the interview organised? 4/5
    • What was your overall impression of the organisation? 3/5
    • What was your overall impression of the selection process? 3/5
    • Did the interview reflect the overall values / culture of the organisation? 4/5
    • Would you recommend this company to a friend? 3/5
    • Did you want the role following your interview? 3/5
  • 
  • Graduate Programme 2013 Public Sector Audit (ACA)

    4.4286/5 | Interview date: July 2013 | Job offer? Not yet |

    Was this helpful? Yes 10

    Sectors: Accounting

    Difficulty rating 40.0 / 100

    Interview process

    The initial interview was a 45 minute, competency-based interview with a graduate recruiter from the firm.

    Questions asked included 2 situational judgement questions, e.g. I am an experienced member of a team and I'm giving a presentation to a client. During the presentation new member of the team who has joined from a different business area questioned your methodology, how do you react? How would you take into the fact that the client was present? I mentioned that depending on how valid I thought their comments were, e.g. their comments may have been applicable to their previous business line but not the one in question, I would either give my opinion on why it wasn't valid or mention that it was a good point but I would leave it until the end of the presentation to discuss it in more detail.

    Other questions included describing a challenging situation I have faced, a time when I have dealt with an angry customer, a company I think is doing badly (I mentioned RBS), what 4 key issues they faced, what opportunities they have to improve.

    There were also motivation questions such as why public sector audit, what do you know about KPMG (I mentioned that they now audit more UK-listed companies than any other firm, that the professional support is excellent, exemplified by the fact that Raylene Whitford, a current KPMG employee and originally a traniee with the firm, won New Accountant of the Year at the British Accountancy Awards 2012). Finally there was an opportunity to ask them questions. My advice would be really take this opportunity to show your interest in the firm, ask questions like what is the office culture like, what do you think is the best aspect of working at KPMG, etc.

    Most difficult question

    Tell me about a company which is doing badly. What 4 issues are facing them. What do you think is the biggest issue. What opportunities do you think there are for the company to improve.

    Interview tips

    Do as much preparation as you can. All the behaviours they will test are online and they will email you the specific behaviours they are going to test during the interview. Preparation is key. Also find out about the firm and be really sure you have good reasons for wanting to work at the firm. I found that preparing answers and having notes in front of me during the interview helped me calm down. Although my previous experiences with competency-based interviews have been negative, I really made sure I did my homework this time round and it seemed to have paid off. I managed to pass the telephone interview stage.

    Experiences at the assessment centre

    N/A

    Interview steps

    Interviews

    • Phone
    • 1:1
    • Group / Panel
    • Senior Management
    • Video

    Tests

    • Numerical
    • Personality
    • Verbal reasoning
    • Psychometric

    Other

    • Assessment centre
    • Group excercise
    • Background check
    • Presentation
    • Competency based questions

    Rating the interview

    • How would you rate the pre-attendance information? 4/5
    • How well was the interview organised? 3/5
    • What was your overall impression of the organisation? 5/5
    • What was your overall impression of the selection process? 4/5
    • Did the interview reflect the overall values / culture of the organisation? 5/5
    • Would you recommend this company to a friend? 5/5
    • Did you want the role following your interview? 5/5
  • 

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