21 Interview Questions the Big 4 Ask
Published: Mar 07, 2012
Next month, Vault will released its latest Accounting Rankings, which will include the new Vault Accounting 50, a ranking of the best accounting firms to work in North America. As they are every year, the rankings are based on Vault’s annual Accounting Survey, which asks professionals at top accounting firms to rate their peer firms in terms of prestige, and to rate their own firms in several quality of life categories, including firm culture, work/life balance, compensation, hours, overall satisfaction, business outlook, diversity, relations with managers, and training.
This year, Vault also asked respondents to provide us with actual interview questions that hiring managers asked during interviews. And below are a few handfuls of questions that Big 4 accounting firms—Deloitte, Ernst & Young, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and KPMG—asked candidates during the internship or full-time interview process. And so, if you're planning to interview with one of the four largest accounting firms in the world, you better have answers prepared for these 21:
1. What accomplishment are you most proud of?
2. What types of challenges have you faced in the past two years and how did you overcome them?
3. Give me an example of how you successfully dealt with someone who was difficult.
4. Give me an example of how one of your strengths has benefited you when working in a team environment.
5. Why do you want to work at this firm specifically?
6. Why are you interested in this particular area of the firm?
7. Give me an example of a time you failed.
8. Give me an example of a time you succeeded.
9. What’s the most difficult thing you’ve ever had to do?
10. Give me examples of how well you work under pressure.
11. What are you looking to get out of a job/internship with a public accounting firm?
12. What are your thoughts on the increase demand of quality by the PCAOB [Public Company Accounting Oversight Board] and how would you implement such demands in your audit?
13. Tell me about yourself.
14. How would you describe your leadership skills?
15. Give me a situation in your past work or school experience where you demonstrated problem-solving skills.
16. Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten years?
17. Tell me about a time when you had an idea but your team was not willing to accept it. How did you go about presenting this idea and trying to persuade them to accept it?
18. What did you learn from your last job/internship?
19. Describe some situations where you’ve had to use technical writing skills.
20. Why should I hire you?
21. What makes you stand out?
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