Updated 14 October 2020
If you apply for a graduate position at KPMG, the application process will consist of five parts:
This article will cover each of the above, along with the academic requirements and behavioural capabilities required by KPMG.
Do your research before you begin your application. You will need to show good awareness of the business world in general, plus be able to talk confidently about yourself, KPMG and the role you’re applying for.
You'll want to look at information from:
To apply to KPMG you should have at least a 2.1 degree in any discipline, a minimum of 120 UCAS Tariff points or equivalent, and grade B in GCSE English and Maths or equivalent.
Extenuating circumstances are considered, though you should specify why your academic achievement did not meet KPMG’s requirements on your application form.
KPMG accepts only your top three A-level grades from your first sitting, and does not accept General Studies.
While academic results are an important part of the KPMG recruitment process, the company will consider these alongside other factors, particularly the nine key behavioural capabilities outlined below.
KPMG's behavioural capabilities are the qualities they expect all members of staff to possess.
These will be assessed at every stage of the application process, so you should look for any opportunity to demonstrate them.
Make sure you are familiar with each one, and prepare examples of how and when you have demonstrated each behaviour.
Think about specific recent examples – these may be from your studies or hobbies, as well as part-time jobs and volunteering roles.
The nine key capabilities are:
More information about these behavioural capabilities can be found on KPMG's recruitment website.
The first step of the process, KPMG’s online application form is a chance to set out your academic background and any work experience you may have.
The form should take about 20 minutes to complete and is broken down into the following sections. There is no need to upload a CV with your application.
Within one working day of submitting your application form, you will receive an email link to the KPMG situational judgement test (SJT).
This is a behavioural test in which you will be asked to consider hypothetical, work-based situations that you might encounter as a trainee at KPMG.
There will be about 20 different challenging scenarios, and you will be given a choice of four possible responses for each. You must select the most or least appropriate response, depending on the situation.
The test is not timed but the recommended time to complete it is 30 minutes. You will need to do it in one sitting, and within seven days of receiving the link, so make sure you have time to sit it before you begin the application process.
Having said that, it is well worth reviewing KPMG’s core behavioural capabilities before beginning the test – bearing in mind how these might relate to your answers throughout.
Once you have successfully completed the SJT, you will be asked to take online numerical and verbal reasoning tests.
As with the SJT, you will have seven days to complete these tests. Each one will take around 20 minutes and is timed.
Each test must be taken in the same sitting, so make sure you have enough time before you begin. If you require any adjustments or have any special requirements, let KPMG know through its contact page.
Even if you have taken similar reasoning tests before, it is strongly recommended that you practise as much as possible before sitting the KPMG tests.
You may also want to read our hints and tips about aptitude tests and test providers. And if those were useful, try our psychometric tests app, which includes 10 numerical tests and 8 verbal tests. The tests include a timer and worked solutions at the end.
Before you begin the tests, make sure you are relaxed and prepared. Find somewhere to take the test that is comfortable and free from distractions.
Remember that the tests are designed to put you under time pressure, so don’t expect to finish them.
And, however much you have practised, be aware that the tests may seem harder when you are taking them for real.
If you are successful in the reasoning tests, you will be invited to complete a digital submission in audio format.
This involves recording your responses to questions sent by KPMG. You have a maximum of 120 seconds and can make the recording on your phone or computer – it does not have to be produced on professional audio equipment.
The particular behavioural capabilities being assessed at this stage of the process are ‘Career Motivation’, ‘Seizes Business Opportunities’ and ‘Makes an Impact’.
Questions to be answered in your audio submission might include:
To help prepare your answers, consider what is required within each behavioural capability and how you can demonstrate it in your responses.
Here are some things to think about:
Seizes Business Opportunities:
Makes an Impact:
You will have three days to submit your recording so take some time to plan and prepare what you want to say, and practise delivering your answers out loud.
As time is limited, make sure your answers are concise and that you speak clearly and confidently. Your answers should demonstrate your enthusiasm and motivation for working at KPMG, while proving that you have outstanding communication skills.
If your digital submission is successful, you will be invited to a Launch Pad event – the final stage of the recruitment process.
Launch Pad is a full-day event that is likely to begin at around 8:30 a.m. and finish at about 5:00 p.m. There may be a few hundred attendees so it can seem overwhelming, but remember that they will all be applying for different roles, so you won't be in direct competition with many of them.
As well as being assessed, the day allows you to find out more about working at KPMG and how your career could progress within the company.
There will be opportunities throughout the day to meet KPMG personnel within the area you have applied to, from graduate trainees to partners.
The day will begin with a welcome presentation and overview of working life at KPMG. This will be followed by a group exercise, analysis exercise and a partner interview, as well as networking sessions.
Throughout the day, remember to keep the key KPMG behavioural capabilities in mind, and find ways to demonstrate how you meet each one whenever you can.
You will be divided into small groups of around five candidates and given a brief with a number of different tasks.
There is likely to be a focus on technology in the group exercise – for instance, your group may be asked to create an app for use by KPMG. One task may involve coming up with ideas for an app, another may be about branding it, a third about implementing it, and so on.
During the group exercise, you will need to discuss ideas with the other candidates, identify issues and come up with solutions. It is important to try to balance leadership with teamwork skills while you are working with others.
This includes listening and enabling others to speak, not dominating the conversation, being cooperative and mediating where necessary.
At the same time, do not be afraid to take control of the conversation where you think it is helpful and appropriate, put forward your own opinions and summarise your progress at regular intervals.
You will be given about 20 minutes to read a brief, and then an hour to write a report based on the information provided.
The brief will relate to a fictitious client and you will be required to sift through the information given to determine strengths and weaknesses, where their current problems lie and what actions could be taken to help them operate more profitably and efficiently.
Your report should include specific issues and set out detailed recommendations. The following tips will help you do your best in this task:
At some stage during the day you will have a one-to-one interview with a senior member of the KPMG team.
This will last around 20 minutes and may take place in a room where other interviews are also being conducted. As such, the atmosphere may be loud and fast-paced.
It is likely your interview will cover some or all of the following areas:
You can find plenty of advice for preparing for interviews on WikiJob. The key things to remember here are to keep your answers concise and to the point, be honest and, as always, refer back to the behavioural competencies wherever possible when composing your answers.
The best way to prepare is by doing as much background research on interview questions as possible. Click here to learn more about InterviewGold, the easy online interview training system. You get real questions, winning answers and expert advice – all specific to your target job, for just £59.95.
There will be opportunities throughout the day to talk to a variety of KPMG staff as well as other candidates. This is a chance to show off some of your softer skills, as well as to find out more about your chosen programme and KPMG in general.
Remember that even during these more informal sessions, you are still being assessed. Be yourself but don’t forget that you are in a professional setting.
And if networking makes you nervous, you might consider coming prepared with a few questions or conversation starters.
Above all, try to enjoy the day and make the most of it. Although aspects of it will be intense, some of it should also be fun.
Even if you are not ultimately offered a place, it will still have been a valuable experience – and an opportunity to meet professionals at all stages of their career in your chosen field.
All candidates should find out if they have received an offer or been unsuccessful within two working days of the Launch Pad event.
If you are unsuccessful at any stage, KPMG will provide you with detailed feedback about your application and why you were not accepted. You may re-apply when vacancies reopen for the following year’s graduate intake.
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