RSM Application Process
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RSM is a professional services network, currently the sixth-largest in the world by revenue.
A global accounting network and provider of audit, tax and consulting services aimed at the middle-leaders market, clients in the UK include energy companies, pharmaceuticals and not-for-profit organisations.
Be aware that in 2015, the UK tax firm Baker Tilly LLP became known as RSM UK (with the other largest firm in RSM International being RSM US, formerly known as McGladrey).
RSM offers a number of graduate opportunities in various functions, including internal and external audit, mergers and acquisitions (M&A), and corporate tax in both the Birmingham and London offices.
RSM prides itself on the core values of excellence, integrity, teamwork, respect and stewardship.
While RSM is looking for talented and well-qualified graduates, it is also looking for team players that can embrace the fast pace of work and are comfortable with change, while bringing personality, passion and originality to their work.
This desire for personality and embrace of change can be seen in RSM International's global CEO Jean Stephens, appointed in 2006, who was the first female CEO of a top 10 accounting network.
RSM does not look for graduates from any particular discipline or degree, although you will need strong A-levels (or equivalent) and to have obtained or be predicted to achieve an honours degree.
Some specific roles have more specific entry requirements.
Employees favour RSM for the opportunities that working for a global network brings, including the promise of developing commercial and business skills by working for exciting and dynamic businesses across multiple continents.
RSM operates the following business units:
- Accounting and business advisory^
- Corporate finance^
- External audit^
- Internal audit^
- Restructuring advisory
- Technology and management consulting
- Technology risk^
^ Graduate programmes are available in the core areas of Audit, Tax, Consulting, Risk Advisory, Corporate Finance, Accounting and IT.
Completing a graduate programme also includes studying for relevant qualifications, which might include the following, as well as the option to complete the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award:
- Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT)
- ICAEW and ICAS Chartered Accountant (ACA)
- Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors (CIA)
- Chartered Information Systems Auditor (CISA)
- Certificate of Proficiency in Insolvency (CPI)
Applications for the various graduate programmes open in September of each year, with the closing date varying by programme and unit. Some business units also offer a smaller January intake.
You may only make one application to one business unit per year.
RSM is considered a good company to work for, praised for its supportive corporate culture, opportunities for growth and progression, including overseas, and a positive work environment where graduates are involved with real projects straight away.
There are four main stages to the RSM application process:
The first stage is to fill in the relevant online application form on the RSM website, which should only take around 30 minutes.
While the completion of personal details and specifying your qualifications is indeed straightforward, and there are no written competencies as part of the application form, you should make sure that you double-check all your details and provide accurate information.
Note that you will need to meet the following criteria:
- A-Levels/Highers (or equivalent) – 112 UCAS across 3 A-Levels or 104 across 4 Highers/Advanced Highers (measured in new tariff points)
- Degree – Predicted or obtained an honours degree
The sections on work experience and extracurricular activities should be carefully considered and written specifically for your application, making sure to consider the purpose and clients of RSM, the area to which you are applying and the company’s core values.
Tempting as it might be to copy and paste from application to application, this section will sound better freshly drafted.
Once you have submitted the online form, supposing you meet the requirements set out by RSM, you will then be invited to set up an online RSM profile so that you can complete the online assessments, which will in the form of a values test and a numerical and critical reasoning test.
You will have seven days in which to complete the tests, so it is worth considering when you submit the online application form that you have the requisite time during the following week to adequately prepare.
The tests are essentially one situational judgement test and one analytical test, both of which are run by Cappfinity.
It is important to know which provider runs the tests so you can access the relevant practice questions. It is worth also practising a variety of tests so you can be prepared if the provider is changed.
The online tests consist of 25 questions, which should take up to an hour to complete. You take the test online and will need a calculator, as well as a pen and paper.
You will be presented with a series of paragraphs setting out fictional scenarios relating to potential workplace situations.
Following reading the paragraphs, you will have to consider a list of statements you need to rank regarding which you consider the most appropriate to least appropriate responses to the scenario.
While there are no right or wrong answers, you should bear in mind the RSM values (excellence, integrity, teamwork, respect and stewardship) when considering your answers.
As with other situational judgement tests, the key element is practising the art of reading and making decisions within the time limits.
This is the numerical reasoning part of the test, and these questions follow a similar format to the situational test; again, you are presented with a scenario, followed by a question and multiple-choice answers.
This time, the scenario is in the form of a source of numerical data (for example, a chart).
Although there is no time limit, the time taken to reach 100% correct answers will be recorded.
As with the situational test, practise and familiarity is key for success. It can be easy to make silly mistakes, so check carefully before submitting.
Candidates who are successful at the test stage are then invited to take part in an online video assessment.
You will have five days to prepare for and take the video interview, so you will have time to practice.
Ensure that you have created a professional, clear space, somewhere quiet with good lighting, and consider what you will wear.
Practice recording yourself so that you are familiar with talking to your camera. The more natural and relaxed you feel when recording the responses, the better your answers will come across.
You could even stick up a STAR prompt card for framing your answer (Specific Situation, Task, Action, Result).
The online video assessment at RSM will have around five questions for which you will be given one minute of preparation time before recording an answer in a single take of up to two minutes duration.
These will be strength and competency-based questions, with at least one specific to the role to which you have applied.
Successful candidates will be invited to attend the final stage of the RSM application process, which is an online assessment centre conducted as a virtual assessment on Microsoft Teams.
The format of the assessment day will be that candidates will watch a presentation on working at RSM followed by a series of assessment exercises.
In some business units, the number of candidates is reduced after each exercise/interview.
It is likely that you will be provided with the topic for the presentation in advance.
Interview questions might include being asked to describe RSM to someone unfamiliar with the business, describing why you wish to work at RSM or why you might consider RSM a good company to work for.
You may get asked why you are interested in that particular business unit (an example phrasing is, “Are you comfortable analysing and interpreting data?”) or more general questions about yourself, such as a recent challenge you have faced or relating to your strengths and weaknesses.
You should expect the interview to be conducted by two people and to be a challenge, so you should prepare accordingly.
When preparing your application for RSM you should consider carefully why and how you make your application.
Here are eight top tips for success:
RSM is looking for graduates with a passion for working in the professional services industry, working with and for clients, and working for a global organisation.
The company is looking for graduates with a desire to continue their professional development, including taking further exams and qualifications.
RSM looks for diverse graduates with personality who are dynamic and enthusiastic.
Make the most of your talents, skills and time by applying to the business unit that suits you, and your qualifications and experience, best. Do some research on the available areas of service.
In your application, demonstrate the research you have done into your preferred service line and why you are choosing it.
The recruiting manager will want to show evidence of your research, in a manner appropriate to the service line to which you apply. Keep it relevant.
Proofread carefully. Better yet, hire someone or get a trusted friend to do so – a second pair of eyes can often spot mistakes you miss.
Do not cut and paste. Make sure your application is particular and specific to you and your application to RSM.
Recruiters can recognise a generic application with ease – do not make it easy for them to put your application in the rejection pile.
Listen or read the question carefully and consider what is being asked – do not rush to give a pre-prepared answer but ensure you have understood what is required.
Then use the STAR system to answer (Specific Situation, Task, Action, Result) to make sure you are backing up your assertion with examples.
Preparation is key for the online tests.
Ensure you are familiar with all types of online tests and that you are confident reading and interpreting text and data. Revise basic mathematics skills such as percentages and calculating margin.
RSM is not just looking for competent people, but also those who:
- Have strategic skills
- Are commercially savvy
- Have a sense of purpose
- Work well in a team
- Are capable of building and conducting professional relationships with clients
It wants to recruit graduates who are keen to learn and can balance both working and studying.
The company is also assessing culture and fit, as it knows that its people are what makes RSM special, so new recruits need to align well with the team.
Your CV/application form will be the basis of your interview so make sure you know what it says inside-out.
Prepare so you can elaborate with more detail on your successes, challenges, strengths and weaknesses for each and every point on your CV.
Ensure that you are able to promote yourself and your skills. It is only in a position where you can express your personality that you will truly excel.
RSM is looking for diverse people with diverse skills and interests, so make sure you are able to balance your keenness to work for RSM with being the most memorable version of yourself.
RSM is a competitive organisation, and you will need to make an excellent application to succeed in securing a job offer.
Candidates who meet the entry requirements, can demonstrate personality and tenacity through a well-crafted application, and who then go on to deliver interviews that are both well-prepared and honest representations of themselves, will succeed. Simple, really.
The key to a good application is research and preparation – give yourself adequate time to do yourself justice.