Grant Thornton Interview Questions

Grant Thornton is a professional services organisation that provides tax, audit and advisory assistance to private, public and third-sector clients across multiple industries.

Operating from 21 office locations throughout the UK, Grant Thornton works in areas such as energy and natural resources, technology, consumer markets, finance, healthcare and government.

This article will look at the various trainee recruitment opportunities offered by Grant Thornton to graduates, undergraduates and school leavers, with particular focus on the application process.

Contents

  1. What Training Programmes Are Offered?
  2. What Qualifications and Skills are Required?
  3. When to Apply
  4. The Application Process
  5. Final Thoughts
  6. Further Reading

What Training Programmes Are Offered?

Grant Thornton offers a number of training opportunities for both graduates and school leavers, as well as internship and placement programmes for those still in education. These include:

  • Graduate programmes
  • School-leaver programmes
  • 12-month placements
  • Summer internships
  • Work experience

The company offers these opportunities at all its office locations throughout the UK.

For all graduate, undergraduate and school-leaver programmes, applicants can choose to undertake their placement in either tax, audit or advisory.

Work experience opportunities offer insight into the business as a whole.

Grant Thornton Graduate Programmes

These three-year placement programmes are designed to provide graduates with a mix of continued training and hands-on work experience.

Successful applicants will combine work with study towards a professional qualification in their chosen field:

Audit

  • Participants in England and Wales will work towards their Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) or Associate Chartered Accountant (ACA) qualifications.

  • Participants in Scotland will work towards their Chartered Accountant (CA) qualification.

Tax

  • Participants in England and Wales will work towards either their ACA or Association of Tax Technicians (ATT) qualification.

  • Participants in Scotland will work towards their CA qualification.

Advisory

Candidates applying for the advisory programme will rotate through the three areas of business consulting, insolvency and deals, with a year spent in each.

Some candidates may be eligible to specialise from the outset in either technology risk services, business risk services or actuarial.

Qualifications gained will vary and are dependent on the chosen pathway:

  • Participants on the advisory rotational programme will work towards their Certificate in Finance, Accounting and Business (CFAB) in year one and their ACA in years two and three.

  • Those who wish to specialise in a particular advisory area after completing the programme will study for a relevant qualification instead of their ACA.

  • Participants within a specialist advisory team will work toward their ACA and Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries (FIA) in actuarial qualification.

The graduate programmes are open to anyone with a degree, or to final-year undergraduate students.

They combine project work with college study, offer a competitive salary, and include exam costs and paid study leave.

Grant Thornton School-Leaver Programmes

Successful applicants to the school-leaver programme will undertake a two-year apprenticeship, working towards both their ATT qualification and a diploma in business, while gaining significant project experience in the working environment.

Following this, participants will spend a further three years following the same structure as the graduate programme, training for their relevant qualifications.

As with the graduate programme, school leavers will receive a competitive salary and paid study leave, with their exam costs covered.

12-Month Placements

These are open to undergraduates in their third year of a four-year sandwich course.

Students that undertake a 12-month placement are often offered fast-track opportunities for the Grant Thornton graduate programmes.

These are paid placements that offer real project experience and the opportunity to attend a two-day workshop at Bradenham Manor, the Grant Thornton internal training centre.

Summer Internships

These six- to eight-week placements are available to undergraduates in the summer before their final year of study.

These positions come with a competitive salary, the opportunity to gain hands-on-experience with actual client projects, and a fast-track option to the graduate programmes.

Work Experience

Work experience opportunities are available to high-school students in years 12 and 13 (or years S5 and S6 in Scotland).

Participants will first attend an introductory evening, before spending four days in one of the Grant Thornton local offices.

The programme is designed to help students learn more about the three business areas of tax, audit and advisory through practical exercises, while developing their communication skills and teamwork skills.

Whilst these are unpaid placements, necessary costs such as travel and lunch will be covered.

What Qualifications and Skills are Required?

Grant Thornton entry requirements are flexible and take into account your academic record, personal achievements and your understanding of the company’s brand, culture and values.

Each programme considers applicants from all degree disciplines and all levels of academic achievement.

Even those with a degree classification of 2.2 or below (or less than 300 UCAS points) are encouraged to apply as candidates will be assessed based on key strengths and skill set, as well as an overall culture fit.

Grant Thornton looks for a set of key values in all applicants, which are referred to by the acronym, CLEARR:

  • Collaboration
  • Leadership
  • Excellence
  • Agility
  • Respect
  • Responsibility

In addition, the company looks for candidates that can demonstrate a set of key strengths:

  • Self-motivation – Candidates that are driven by success and are willing to push themselves.

  • Relationship skills – Candidates that understand the value of, and can form, strong working relationships.

  • Collaboration – Candidates that are willing to work as part of a group and achieve success through teamwork.

  • Resilience – Candidates that can adapt and thrive in a pressurised environment.

  • An analytical mind – Candidates that take a methodical approach to problem-solving and think logically.

  • Curiosity – Candidates that make informed decisions based on a solid understanding of wider circumstances.

  • A willingness to learn – Candidates that look to grow at every opportunity and are open to constructive feedback.

  • A commitment to excellence – Candidates that take full ownership and responsibility for their work and care about the outcome.

The Grant Thornton application process also takes into account any extenuating circumstances. Candidates can outline these and provide supporting documentation in the initial application stages.

When to Apply

Application dates vary depending on the programme.

Successful candidates will receive their offers on a rolling basis throughout each recruitment season, so it’s important to start the application process as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

Those wishing to apply for school-leaver, undergraduate or graduate programmes can register their interest at any time and will be notified when new opportunities become available.

  • School-leaver and graduate programmes – Opportunities are usually advertised from the start of September, with recruitment running through to the following April.

  • 12-month placement programme – Recruitment opens around October/November and usually runs through to the following February.

  • Summer internships – Recruitment begins around November/December and, again, usually runs through to the following February.

  • Work experience – Opportunities can arise at any point throughout the year. Openings will be listed on the Grant Thornton current opportunities page.

There are around 450 roles available each year across all programmes offered. These are roughly allocated as below:

  • Graduate and school-leaver openings: 300
  • 12-month placement opportunities: 40
  • Summer Internships: 80
  • Work experience opportunities: 60

Candidates are only permitted to make one application in each recruitment season. As such, make sure you’ve taken the time to select the right opening for you before you begin the application process.

The Application Process

The Grant Thornton application process is the same for all school-leaver, undergraduate and graduate programmes.

Work-experience applicants undertake a simplified version, which will be outlined at the end of this section.

The main application process consists of four stages:

  1. Online Application Form
  2. Online Strengths Assessment
  3. Digital Interview
  4. Grant Thornton Experience Day

1. Online Application Form

You will be asked to provide basic details, such as your name and address, as well as information on your qualifications and work experience.

You will also be asked questions regarding your eligibility for the role you are applying for.

International applicants will be required to address their visa eligibility at this point.

The application form will also include several questions relating to company purpose and culture and why you feel you are a good fit.

TIP: This is your opportunity to highlight your abilities and stand out from the crowd. Be sure to refer back to the CLEARR values and the key strengths that the company looks for in all candidates.

If there are any extenuating circumstances you wish to detail, now is the time to do so. Send any information and supporting documentation to [email protected], so it can be assessed alongside your application form.

The form should take approximately 30 minutes to complete. You can save your progress at any time and return to your application at a later date, but remember, recruitment is done on a rolling basis – so the sooner you complete this stage, the better.

Grant Thornton application process

2. Online Strengths Assessment

If you are seen to be a good fit for the role and meet the eligibility criteria, you will receive a link to partake in an online strengths assessment.

During this stage, you will be given an insight into life on your chosen programme.

You’ll be presented with hypothetical situations that you may encounter in your role, and will be assessed on your approach to each through a combination of situational judgement testing and numerical and verbal reasoning questions.

TIP: If you are unfamiliar with the principles of psychometric testing, it’s a good idea to take some practice tests beforehand. Your overall score will be based on the accuracy of your answers and the time taken to respond to each.

The strengths assessment should take around 35 minutes to complete and must be done in one sitting, so make sure you’re well prepared.

All applicants will receive a constructive feedback form after completing the Grant Thornton strengths assessment.

Those who are successful in progressing to the next stage should be notified within five days and will be invited to ‘Grant Thornton: I’ve applied’. This is an online community, where you can connect with fellow applicants and access information that will help with the following stages of the application process.

3. Digital Interview

The third stage of the Grant Thornton application process is a video interview. This will include a series of pre-recorded questions and a case study task.

Before this assessment, you will be contacted by a member of the Grant Thornton recruitment team, who will talk you through the process and offer guidance on how best to prepare.

Examples of questions you may be asked include:

You will record your responses to these questions via a camera on your device.

TIP: These questions are designed to establish whether there is a good culture fit. If you’ve passed the strengths assessment stage, you've already demonstrated that you have the key skills required for the position, so use this as your opportunity to showcase your understanding of the company, what it does and what it stands for. Again, remember the key Grant Thornton values and weave these into your answers.

In the second section of this interview, you will be presented with a case study relevant to your chosen field. You must compile a report on how you would resolve the situation, and what advice you would offer to the hypothetical client.

This exercise is designed to replicate the work you will be doing if you’re accepted onto the programme.

The digital interview as a whole should take around 40 minutes to complete and you will have seven days to do so from the day you receive the invitation link. Again, all applicants will be contacted after the assessment and provided with feedback.

4. Grant Thornton Experience Day

Those successful in the digital interview should be notified within five days of submission and will receive an invite to the final round assessment – the Grant Thornton Experience Day.

These half-day sessions include a face-to-face interview, a group exercise and lunch, with an opportunity to network with fellow applicants and Grant Thornton staff.

The interview section of the experience day will focus on your knowledge, motivations and potential.

It’s important that you can demonstrate your understanding of your chosen business area and how it contributes to the success of Grant Thornton and its clients as a whole.

TIP: Make sure you have a sound knowledge of the current climate and the challenges it brings, and that you clearly articulate how your values align with those of Grant Thornton. Speak enthusiastically about what excites you about your placement opportunity.

During the group exercise, you will work with other candidates on relevant and real-world issues that affect Grant Thornton. You may be asked to discuss as a group and then prepare a short presentation.

You will be assessed on your teamwork, collaboration and problem-solving skills, rather than your in-depth knowledge of the topic .

Work Experience Application Process

Students wishing to undertake Grant Thornton work experience will be asked to complete a two-stage application process:

  • Online Application Form
  • Video Interview

As with the main application process, those invited to the interview stage will be contacted by a member of the team and offered guidance on what to expect and how best to prepare.

Successful candidates will be selected based on their video interview, so be sure to do your research and draft out answers in advance that demonstrate your understanding of and enthusiasm for the role.

Final Thoughts

Grant Thornton trainee recruitment provides development opportunities for applicants at any stage of their education.

It offers graduates and school leavers the opportunity to become fully qualified business advisors, while gaining hands-on experience in the working environment.

The key to a successful application lies in fully understanding the company culture and its core values.

You must demonstrate how your own values make you an ideal candidate who is committed to making the most of your trainee experience.

Further Reading

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