Find out more information on the various application processes at PwC.
The selection process will give you every chance to show us what you're made of and that you possess the skills we look for. At PwC, all of our people are required to demonstrate certain core skills which we define in our global core competencies.
The precise details of each stage will vary according to where you want to work, but the focus throughout will be on the qualities you need to do well at PwC. Having the right academic results is only part of it.
Here's how it works:
Once you've decided where you'd like to work within PwC and which route you'd like to follow, check our UCAS tariff requirements on our application timetable and qualifications page and fill in our online registration form. After completing this form you will be invited to take some online tests. If you are applying to our Actuarial, Consulting or Financial Advisory business areas then you will need to complete some additional competency-based questions on your initial application form.
Please make sure you’ve supplied us with full and accurate information, or we may not be able to progress your application further.
You will be asked to complete numerical, logical (this is sometimes called 'Inductive Reasoning') or verbal reasoning tests depending on the business area you choose and the route you take. You'll sit the tests again at the assessment day on paper and under supervision so doing them online is good preparation.
During this process, you will also be invited to complete PwC's Occupational Personality Questionnaire (OPQ). The OPQ provides an indication of an individual’s preferred behavioural style at work. As you respond to the questions, think about how you operate in the work environment. You do not need to prepare for completing it; instead focus on answering the questions as openly and honestly as possible, trying not to think for too long about any one question or second-guessing what we might be looking for.
A one-to-one interview which provides you with the opportunity to display the qualities that paper can't do justice to. We're looking for you to provide us with evidence of the skills we are seeking as well as reassuring us that you've thought carefully about your career choice. You need to be able to demonstrate that you have a clear interest in the business world and PwC. Depending on the scheme you have applied to, you will either have a telephone interview or an interview with a PwC manager at your chosen office. For the majority of our graduate schemes, you will be able to choose whether you would prefer a face to face or telephone interview.
Interviews will last approximately 45 minutes and you should ensure that you're in a quiet area where you'll not be disturbed.
For our summer internship and work placement schemes, you’ll have a telephone interview, which will last approximately 20 minutes. You'll be assessed against the following competencies: Acquire and Apply Commercial and Technical Expertise, Demonstrate Courage and Integrity and Communicate with Impact and Empathy. You can review descriptions of all our competencies on our interview competencies page.
Assessment Centres at PwC usually consist of tests that measure your numerical and verbal or logical reasoning skills; a written communication exercise; a group or individual exercise. This may sound a lot, but don't worry - the centre is designed to be as interesting and enjoyable as possible, giving you the chance to demonstrate your best qualities and find out as much about life at PwC as you can. You can find our further information below.
A one-to-one second interview normally face to face with a partner or director from the business area you want to join. This will be an opportunity for you to demonstrate; your passion and enthusiasm for our business and your understanding of the importance of client service.
You shouldn't have to wait too long. We'll let you know whether we'd like to make you an offer as soon after the final interview as possible. In total, the whole process from application to offer should take no more than three to six weeks (timings may vary between business areas).
Once you accept an offer, our Pre-Employment Screening Team will verify the academic and employment history you outlined on your application. This makes it absolutely essential that you complete your application form accurately and truthfully, including all module marks, dates and grades achieved. All of the information you provide will be checked rigorously (although active checks won't be made against social networking sites). Also, if you are joining a business area with Government and public sector clients, further checks will be carried out in line with the Government’s Baseline Personnel Security Standard (BPSS), including a criminal record check and proof of residence.
Before your start date you may find it useful to come back for a visit. This will allow you to have a more personalised, informal chat about what to expect once you join, take a look round the office where you'll be based and meet some of your new colleagues. We also may invite you to attend a preview event where you can meet fellow new joiners and learn more information about your forthcoming induction.
This selection process will have the same registration, online testing, telephone first interview and assessment centre as other Insight programmes. After this, successful candidates will go straight to offer instead of a final interview at this stage. If candidates perform well during the shadowing week, we will then ask you to undertake a final interview in your chosen scheme and area.
The selection process for Strategy Consulting requires a CV and Covering letter at the registration stage and once submitted you will be asked to undertake some online tests. If successful, you will attend a first stage assessment centre which lasts half a day, and includes psychometric tests, a written exercise and a case study interview. You’ll also have an interview to explore your understanding of our business and how carefully you’ve thought about your career choice, as well as how you work and communicate with others. It will be a competency-based interview so make sure you’ve thought about how your experiences have helped you demonstrate the competencies we’re looking for. The final assessment is a full day and you’ll have an interview with a partner, director or senior manager. Like your first interview, this will be competency based so be ready to talk about your skills and how you gained them. There’ll also be a senior case study interview, a group exercise and a presentation exercise.
The selection process is similar to our other programmes with two key differences; first interviews are conducted by telephone and a final interview with a panel of two interviewers; you'll be asked to complete some application questions online.
The selection process is similar to our UK graduate programme with three key differences; elements of both interviews may be conducted in Mandarin; the assessment day will consist of tests and written exercise only; the final interview may be face to face or via overseas video conference call.
Applicants will undertake the same online tests as the UK programmes, a first interview and a final interview. If you are based in Jersey or Guernsey, the first interview will take place at one of these PwC offices, otherwise, the first interview will be conducted over the telephone. If candidates are selected for the second stage assessment, this will always take place in one of the Jersey or Guernsey PwC offices. If you are not based in the Channel Islands, the full cost of flights and accommodation will be booked for you. The second stage process will consist of a Director/Partner interview, a general training and Island chat, a numerical test and the opportunity to meet some current trainees over an informal lunch and or dinner.
Applicants will undertake online numerical and verbal reasoning tests and will then follow a two stage selection process in the Middle East country applied to. The first stage will be a face to face or telephone interview and the second stage will be an assessment centre consisting of a final face to face interview, written exercise, group exercise and numerical/verbal tests.
Further information about academic requirements are detailed on the vacancies, but before applying, please consider that living costs are high in UAE and to relocate internationally without additional financial support may be unrealistic with the Graduate Trainee package offered.
We encourage applications from disabled students. For some learning disorders, physical and mental impairments, we adapt the recruitment process so students can perform at their best. You'll find some details of our process on this site, but if you have a disability, a learning difficulty such as dyslexia, a medical condition or individual need that may affect your performance, we're happy to discuss our recruitment process with you so we can adapt our process for you fairly. Please call our recruitment helpdesk on Freephone 0808 100 1500 or +44 (0) 121 265 5852 or email us at:
If you'd like to understand the relevance of a disability or condition to our jobs, and the study they involve, please contact us on the numbers or at the email address above. You don't need to give your name and the information will not be used to discriminate.
If you're travelling from overseas to attend one of our selection process assessments, we request you don't book travel arrangements yourself, but to contact our recruitment helpdesk first on Freephone number 0808 100 1500 or +44 (0) 121 265 5852, so we can make the arrangements for you. Please note that expenses for travel from outside the UK will not be reimbursed without prior agreement and economy fares only will be reimbursed.
We use a number of methods to find the right people for PwC - the methods you'll encounter will depend on the kind of role you apply for. You'll need to complete various assessments. In addition to interviews, we ask all student recruitment candidates to sit one or more ability tests, a group or individual exercise and a written exercise. Graduates applying to Consulting Strategy and Economics also complete a case study exercise and presentation exercise. When combined with interviews, these assessments help us build a clearer picture of your capabilities and where your strengths lie.
All student recruitment roles within PwC require you to have an ability to work with numerical information so you will be asked to take an online numerical reasoning test. We ask most candidates to complete further tests to assess verbal reasoning or logical reasoning (which some test providers refer to as 'inductive' reasoning). Don't be put off by the tests - ensuring you take the time to prepare and completing some practice tests will give you the best possible chance to succeed. Later in the process, you'll sit the paper versions of these online tests, so it is good preparation.
At the first selection stage, the interview will either be a telephone or face-to-face interview which will last up to 50 minutes and be with a representative of the firm. At the final stage, the interview will be with a senior member of the firm and last for the same duration. We would recommend you start to prepare for your interviews well in advance. A good place to start would be to understand the topics which might be discussed in your interview and have a think about how your experiences and skills relate to these.
During your interview we encourage you to:
Each of the topics discussed relate to one of our Global Core Competencies(GCCs). These reflect the firm’s priorities in terms of how we work in order to meet the needs of our clients. Please follow the relevant link to find out which competencies are assessed at first and final interview stages. As mentioned earlier, whilst reading through these, consider your personal experience in each of these areas. Plan to offer the interviewer an insight into your particular abilities and/or achievements in each area.
Please remember that your interest and awareness of business will also be assessed at interview, so having a few business stories that interest you, which you are comfortable talking about, is important. We want to see candidates considering different opinions and then being able to provide their own viewpoint on a situation. At interview, you will need to demonstrate an in depth understanding of the business and the different lines of service, as well as your reasons for applying to your chosen location and business area. If applicable, make sure that you have thoroughly researched the qualification you would be undertaking too so you can answer questions around this too.
A group exercise allows us to observe how people perform when working in a team. We give you a pack of information and ask you to use it as a team to come up with solutions to a range of issues. This type of simulation allows you to demonstrate communication and influencing skills, teamwork, your ability to manage a project and deal with changing priorities.
We may ask you to take part in an individual exercise depending on the size of the assessment centre and/or the location you've applied to. The individual exercise assesses the same skills as the group exercise but you'll interact with a trained assessor rather than other candidates.
Each type of exercise will last approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes and no prior preparation is required.
Applicants to Consulting Strategy or Economics will also be required to complete a case study exercise during the assessment centre. This is based around a project that's typical of the work undertaken in these particular business groups. We'll assess your ability to answer a number of questions using information we'll provide plus your own knowledge and experience. No prior preparation is required.
The selection process for Consulting Strategy will also include a presentation exercise at assessment centre which is designed to help us assess your analytical ability and structure of thought, assimilation and understanding of information, flexibility and communication.
The written exercise is designed to assess your written communication ability. You will have 30 minutes to read the exercise briefing materials and prepare a written report on the given subject. This exercise is designed to assess your ability to produce written reports to an appropriate standard. Your report will be assessed on the basis of your application of structure; use of clear, concise language; and logical and coherent presentation.
A certified Test Administrator manages each assessment session and will tell you clearly what to do and how to do it. We do everything we can to make all our candidates' assessment experiences professional and fair. Please help us by being considerate of other candidates, including respecting their privacy and confidentiality.
Each assessment has its own scoring system. During the introduction to the test we'll explain the best way to answer.
For most ability tests, your accuracy can be checked. We advise working quickly and accurately. If you're unsure of an answer, mark your best choice and avoid wild or random guesses. Your 'best choice' is when you have narrowed the answer down to one probable answer or two likely answers, and then select one of them. Wild guessing is when you cannot decide which of the multiple-choice answers is correct and randomly pick one.
Before using any assessment tool, we work out what level of achievement indicates that a candidate has the potential to do a specific job successfully.
We'll compare your results with the level of skill needed by the role you've applied for; and with those of candidates who have a similar educational background and have previously applied to similar roles.
Sometimes the questions in a test become progressively more complex, but not always. It's best to listen closely to the instructions given at the assessment session. Usually the best strategy is to work through all questions in order, and as quickly and accurately as you can.
Some people will complete an ability test in the time allowed, others won't. Don't be too concerned if you can't finish all the questions. We score on the number of correct answers given in the time allowed, so just work as quickly and accurately as you can.
Yes, we'll inform you of your result along with feedback on the rest of your application. This will be once a recruitment decision has been made.
You can use a calculator in many of our numerical ability tests. We'll let you know in advance if you'll be allowed to use one and the Test Administrator will let you know again at the start of the session. If you are allowed to use a calculator, we'll provide you with one. Or, if you prefer, you can bring your own.
In every case, the rules of your testing session will be the same for all other candidates applying for the same role.
The assessment tools give us extra information on particular areas like reasoning ability or the quality of your team working skills. It's difficult to assess these skills objectively from other parts of the selection procedure.
Each assessment focuses on a specific, job-relevant skill. People who have little experience of a particular job may well be very capable of doing that job, and the test gives them the chance to prove it. All candidates for a role complete the same assessment exercises which means we can compare them fairly and objectively.
It is possible to fail the tests. Before using any assessment tool, we work out what level of achievement indicates that a candidate has the potential to do a specific job successfully. As such, if you fail to meet any of the criteria, at any stage of the recruitment process, your application will not progress any further.
We're committed to the fair and ethical use of assessment tools and provide information to help you understand why and how we use them in our recruitment process. We've also prepared a detailed statement of our commitment to all candidates.
Improve your chances
Whether you're already in our recruitment process or are applying, the information below will help with your research.
Your interest and awareness of business will be assessed during the selection process and isn’t something that can be developed the night before an interview! Come prepared to talk about a business issue that interests you, as you could be asked to discuss this in detail during your interview.
Before your interview, take some time to think about your own business awareness. For example, you might have a part time job, or could have completed an internship or been involved with the STEP programme. With these experiences in mind, ask yourself the following questions about your employer and their business:
These few examples aren't an exhaustive list, but hopefully they'll help you think about the kind of questions you might get asked in an interview situation.
Newspapers – print and online
Newspapers are an easy and accessible way to read up on business issues. If you don't buy a newspaper regularly, there are other ways to get hold of copies. Many university libraries have free copies of the broadsheets for you to read between lectures.
Online newspapers are a great source of information because you can trace stories back over a period of time. When you read an article online, the website usually provides you with useful links that help you piece the story together over days or weeks.
Here are a few suggestions:
You can even get some good pointers on what's happening in business from tabloid papers and the 'Metro' newspaper - use these as a guide for current stories in the press, and check out all the details in the newspapers and websites.
The BBC website www.bbc.co.uk is an excellent source of all kinds of news - general and business. They have a dedicated business section and each story has links back to previous articles on the website. They have a helpful section in the Business News area of the website, which focuses on a current story and analyses it in a straightforward question & answer format.
The Economist is a well known business magazine and they have a comprehensive website with lots of different news sections: www.economist.co.uk
Bloomberg's website is full of detailed financial information on organisations - access the News section on their website here: www.bloomberg.com/news
Accountancy specific information
Accountancy Age is a popular website and magazine - it's good for keeping up to date on what's happening in organisations like PwC and other accountancy firms. You can access this website here: www.accountancyage.com
For more specific information on PwC, visit our UK website: www.pwc.co.uk
Just remember - we're not looking for you to learn and recite information from the Times or from the BBC website. We're more interested in how you interpret and apply your knowledge and the opinions you have throughout the assessment process.
It's important to us that you are adequately informed about the format and competencies against which you'll be assessed in your interview. This will allow you to perform to the best of your ability. At PwC all our people need to demonstrate certain core skills, which we refer to as our 'global core competencies'. These are assessed throughout the application process, and candidates should make themselves aware of these, and how their own experiences may demonstrate each competency.
But remember to start your preparation well in advance and consider your personal experience in each of these areas. Plan to offer the interviewer an insight into your particular abilities and/or achievements in each area.
A good place to start would be to try and keep up to date with what is happening in the press; read newspapers and business magazines and/or on-line commercial articles.
Whichever opportunity you're applying for, there are some things that you should be thinking about so we've put together some hints and tips for you.:
Throughout the process, we'll be looking for you to show awareness and evidence of the skills and qualities you need to succeed in our business. Wherever possible, you should be able to demonstrate and highlight how you match our requirements.
We'll expect you to be able to talk coherently and confidently about PwC, the position you're applying for, the business world in general and yourself. The more you know about these things, the more prepared you'll be, so you'll have to get researching.
Think about investigating the following sources of information:
Don't just give them a quick glance the day before your interview. Examine them, understand the issues and keep yourself up to date.
Completing your application form
Remember first impressions count so the application form is a major opportunity to sell yourself. Before you complete the form, you may find it useful to gather accurate details of your university and secondary education exam results, work experience and employment. While completing the form, remember to:
These tests help to determine your numerical, logical or verbal reasoning ability.
We'll also ask you to complete an Occupational Personality Questionnaire and you may be asked to complete a Student Talent Questionnaire.
Interviews can be nerve wracking, but the more prepared you are the more relaxed you should feel. Ensure to:
We'll be looking to find out:
Be truthful and concise, answer the exact questions asked and don't ramble about irrelevant things. Our interviewers are not given a set list of questions to go through but you can expect most to be in relation to our 'Global Core Competencies' such as:
Remember, we're not expecting you to be perfect but preparing for some of these questions will certainly help you to feel confident that you've given it your best shot.
Face to face interview
It's extremely important that you're not late so aim to get there in good time. If you're delayed, try to call ahead to warn us so you may want to bring a copy of your interview invitation along with directions. Prepare what you're going to wear beforehand - if in doubt, dress conservatively. When you enter the interview: