Ernst & Young Application Process
The application process consists of:
- Online application form
- Online numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning and diagrammatic reasoning test
- First interview
- Assessment centre
Online Application Form
You will need to submit:
- Personal Details
- Career Preferences
- Academic Results (GCSE, AS/A Level, and Degree including module grades)
- Responsibilities and Work Experience
The key competencies that Ernst & Young looks for in employees are:
- excellence in academics
Try to exemplify these qualities in the answers you give in your application form and during any subsequent interviews or exercises.
Want an advantage over other candidates in your accounting interview? Check out this free ebook on Finance Skills and Accounting Principles, with chapters on cash and accrual accounting, the purpose of the income statement and balance sheet, etc.
Immediately once your application is received, you will get a email inviting you to complete a Strength Assessment, which is the second part of the application. You will be asked to read a series of scenarios and then choose how you would respond to each. The questions will require you to either select one response, or rank responses in order. This should take about 30 minutes to complete.
Following submission, you will be notified within 72 hours whether your application was successful, and if so you will be invited to complete a series of online psychometric tests.
Online Aptitude Test
You will be required to complete numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning, and diagrammatic reasoning tests. Each section has 8 questions in 6 minutes (divided into two sections of 4 questions in 3 minutes) with no gaps in between.
If those were useful, you may also like to try our psychometric tests app, available for both Apple and Android, which includes 10 numerical tests and 8 verbal tests. The tests include a timer and worked solutions at the end.
The E&Y interview is a general interview with some competency based questions and will last approximately 50 minutes. This will be with a manager from the line of service to which you have applied.
Questions that you are likely to be asked in this interview include:
- What motivates you?
- Why do you want to join audit/tax/advisory?
- Give an example of a time when you had to go out of your way to help someone.
- Do you need to be an expert at something in order to lead a team?
- Give an example of when you had to change the way you did something in order to solve a problem.
- Do you believe in talent or hard work?
- Do you ask for more responsibility?
- Do people listen to your advice?
- What do you do when something at work bores you?
- Would a friend say you are organised?
- Do you plan your week?
- How do you handle working with someone you don't like?
- Is there a company/brand you admire and if you could ask them some questions what would they be?
- How do you make sure you understand a concept/idea?
- Are you a good listener?
- When was the last time you learned something new?
- Why this division?
- What have you done to follow up/learn about this division?
- Should there be more hours in the day?
- Tell me about your groups of friends?
- Do you talk to different groups of friends differently?
- Do you enjoy working in a team?
- Have you ever wanted to quit something?
- Have you ever put the needs of a team before your own?
- Have you ever done something differently second time around?
- Have you ever built a relationship with anyone?
- Do you prefer starting or finishing?
- When have you persuaded someone?
- Do you prefer quick action or careful planning?
- How do you know your strengths and weaknesses?
- Why would you be better than other people?
- How would a lecturer describe you?
- What do you consider to be a 'good day'?
- What do you think about networking?
- What would you like to be known for?
The Assessment Centre will be a full day and will consist of:
- Group Exercise
- Individual Writing Exercise
- Psychometric Tests
- Lunch with current employees
- A Partner Interview
The Assessment Day follows the same basic format for all internships, work placements, and graduate schemes, with the exception of the Partner Interview, which is only for graduate roles. It is always important to read all instructions and materials carefully as the process is subject to change at any point.
The first task of the day will be a group exercise. Your AC cohort will be divided into 2 smaller groups of 4 or 5, and you will all be given an information package with 15 minutes to read over the scenario, followed by a 20-25 minute discussion. The task will vary from session to session, but generally it will involved choosing an industry, company, or product to invest or diversify into. Each candidate will have an additional page that is unique, detailing a specific product/industry that you will have to represent in the discussion, though you will not necessarily have to argue in favour of it.
By the end of the discussion, your group will have to come to a consensus , following which you will be asked additional questions by your assessors, such as: “What would you do if you received additional data after you had submitted your recommendation to the partner?” These questions may be posed to the group or individually.
The key to this exercise is not , in fact, to display your superior reasoning and persuasive skills to make an impression on your assessors. They are looking far more closely at the way your work in a team than at the content of your answers. Dominating the discussion too much may in fact prove very damaging, as many candidates report being rejected for not allowing others to speak. It is of course important to provide well-reasoned and insightful statements, however you should not speak unless you have something of value to contribute, and should encourage others to have their opinions heard. That being said, many people have also been rejected for not contributing enough to the group discussion, so it is essential that you strike a careful balance in order to demonstrate that you are the kind of person they want on their team.
As this is the first exercise of the day, it will also be the first impression that you make on your assessors, so though the task may seem relatively easy when compared with the rest of the assessment, you must pay careful attention to your behaviour.
TIP: Take it upon yourself to keep the group on task within the time given. Gently reminding the group of the amount of time remaining will show focus and initiative and is bound to impress your evaluators.
TIP: Arrive early to the AC so that you can mingle with the other candidates and learn their names. This will be very useful in the group exercise and demonstrates good people skills to the assessors.
Individual Writing Exercise
The Writing Task is divided into two parts, and is performed on a laptop. You are given a total of 40 minutes to complete both tasks, so it is up to you to manage your time effectively. *The first task is designed to test how well you process information. You will be given a document to read, and your task will be to summarize it for a client, leaving out all of the unnecessary details while still providing all of the essential points. There is significant time pressure during this task, so be sure you work quickly in order to leave time for the second part. *The second task is more competency-based. Most recently this involves writing an email to your manager explaining how you will go about leading a project. There will be questions listed that you need to address, such as: How will you you lead your team members and help their skills improve? How will you manage your time to ensure the project is completed?
Written Psychometric Tests
Just like you did online, you will again write Numerical, Verbal, and Diagrammatic reasoning tests, this time on paper. The time frame and difficulty will be the same.
You will not be assessed during lunch, however current E&Y employees will be in attendance, so it is an excellent opportunity to network and as questions about the company.
The partner interview will be with an Executive Director from your line of service, and will last one hour. This interview is substantially more competency based than those of other firms. Expect similar questions that you had to field in your first interview, including:
- Why Ernst & Young and not another Big 4 or a smaller firm?
- Why audit/tax/the line of service to which you have applied?
- What is audit/tax/the line of service to which you have applied?
- What will your job entail if you are hired?
- What are the skills that you will need to perform this job?
- Give me an example of when you motivated someone.
- Give me an example of when you worked in a team.
- Give me an example of when you were a leader.
- What are the current issues facing the firm and the industry?
- How do you keep up to date with current market news?
The Partner Interviews will depend greatly on the individual interviewer, so while it will be largely competency based, you should be prepared for questions about the firm and recent events in the industry. Your interviewer may also be highly critical of your answers, but it is important to remain polite and composed, as they are testing your reaction to pressure. Be honest and confident in your answers, and come prepared with examples from a wide range of experiences to respond to competency questions.
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