Pricewaterhouse Coopers, or PwC, is headquartered in London with offices in more than 150 countries. PwC is the product of a merger between Price Waterhouse and Coopers & Lybrand in 1998, but each of the respective companies can be dated back to the mid-1800s. The expansion of PwC has earned this company a spot in the ‘Big Four’, the four biggest multinational professional services networks. PwC’s main focus is in:
However, they have job opportunities in various disciplines from law to technology. PwC employs over two hundred thousand people around the globe, and they enjoy benefits such as:
A Retirement Savings Plan
Auto and Home Insurance Program
Family Support and Programs for New or Expecting Mothers
Basic Life Insurance
Competitive Vacation Days
These are just scratching the surface of the benefits that PwC offer their employees.
What is PwC’s Hiring Process?
If you are looking to work for PwC, you can expect anywhere from a 3 to 4 rounds of recruitment. This is subject to vary depending on the role and location you have applied for, but PwC’s hiring process will typically follow the outline provided below.
Before PwC’s interview process can kick off, a small team of people will review your application and CV to verify you are qualified for the position you have applied to. If your overall profile and skillset are not a great match, they may send you other roles within their company that are better suited for you. PwC will contact you via telephone or email after the initial screening and inform you if you are moving to the next stage of the hiring process.
PwC’s Interview Process
PwC’s interview process will begin if the initial screening was successful. Their process can be broken down into three stages:
What Are PwC’s Online Assessments?
PwC administers a series of psychometric tests to their applicants as a way to objectively evaluate their strengths and capabilities. Quantity and content of the online assessments are dependent on the position you have applied for. Some psychometric assessments, like the personality questionnaire are provided to every applicant, while others are exclusive to certain roles in the company. The online assessments are used to measure two things, aptitude and personality. The following online assessments are those that analyze the applicant’s aptitude, or skills:
Verbal Reasoning Test PwC’s verbal reasoning test is a timed multiple-choice assessment that serves to evaluate a candidate’s ability to discern between facts and inferences. A paragraph of information is supplied followed by a handful of statements which the applicant is asked to mark as true, false or cannot say. Knowledge of the subjects discussed in the passage is unnecessary, so do not stress if the topic is unfamiliar to you. Read through the material very carefully and pay close attention, the answers are right in front of you.
Numerical Reasoning Test PwC’s numerical reasoning test is generally more difficult than the other batch of online assessments. Even those who claim that math is second nature to them still found the numerical reasoning test to be arduous and complex. The structure of the numerical reasoning test is multiple choice and the applicant will be presented with a graph or table to interpret. This will usually call for the use of basic mathematical functions and a deep enough understanding of data analysis to complete the problem in a fixed amount of time.
Logical Reasoning Test PwC’s logical reasoning test is entirely unique from their other aptitude tests. It includes series of shapes and objects rather than numbers or words. The purpose of this assessment is to analyze your inductive reasoning skills and your ability to identify patterns. This assessment is multiple choice and given under a fixed amount of time.
Case Study If you are applying to a role with a focus in consultation and a need for industry knowledge, you will probably be asked to complete a case study exercise. The exercise will present you with a case study relevant to the specific role you have applied for, then ask that you use your preexisting knowledge to identify key concepts and ideas. It may be completed orally or in writing and should emphasize the best course of action for the hypothetical client in the given situation.
In-Tray Exercise Candidates applying for roles that are heavy in organization, planning and coordinating will typically be given an in-tray exercise. PwC’s in-tray supplies information and tasks the reader with discerning what to prioritize and what to take action on and who, from the list of imaginary 3rd parties, should be involved or informed of the actions. The format is usually several documents and a small table/list attached at the end to construct your ‘plan of action’.
The aptitude tests mentioned above are utilized solely for the purpose of verifying you have the skills for the job itself, but the personality portion of the psychometric tests ensure you have the right demeanor for the position and the company’s environment.
The Situational Judgement Test (SJT) Typically included among the various psychometric tests is a situational judgement test. PwC’s situational judgement test, or SJT, evaluates the emotional intelligence of the applicant. It works to analyze the quality of your communication skills, your ability to work in teams and how you resolve conflicts. The SJT supplies a hypothetical scenario one might encounter in the workplace and provides you with a series of answers to choose from.
Occupational Personality Questionnaire PwC’s occupational personality questionnaire is a standard part of the online assessments that won’t have a massive effect in terms of getting hired or not. It is more of an outline for the company that gives them insight to your behavioral preferences and working style.
PwC’s telephone interview is a screening of your competency and understanding of the industry. People who have interviewed with PwC find that the telephone interview can be very difficult and last anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. If you have a difficult telephone interview, chances are your technical interview is much more relaxed. Candidates never know which interview is formal and which is slightly less formal, so be prepared for a conventional interview for both instances. On the technical interview portion below, you will find a handful of questions commonly asked in either the telephone or technical interview. Read up and construct concise yet thoughtful answers. The telephone interview is also used to substantiate the information on your CV, so keep this close for easy referral.
PwC Technical Interview
PwC’s technical interview, or the face-to-face interview, is the final stage of PwC’s interview process. As previously mentioned, PwC values competency. Their ideal professional possesses these qualities:
An interview with PwC differs from those at most companies because they do not seek to simply test your intelligence, they want reliability and savvy among other traits. Common questions one might be asked during an interview with PwC are:
Tell me about a time when you were given vague instructions for a task and had to figure out what to do.
Give an example about a time you have built a relationship.
Tell me about a time you had to correct someone else’s mistake.
How well do you work in a team setting?
Tell me about a time when you had to deal with an angry customer/client?
What sets you apart from the other candidates?
Tell me about a time when you were a leader.
What is your take on… (current event relevant to the role you have applied for)?
Prepare yourself for questions in that arena and spend some of your time thinking of examples of when you have exhibited the aforementioned qualities that PwC favors in their employees. Prior to interviewing with PwC, you should do background research on their company. They sometimes ask what you have heard about their company in the news or general knowledge on their operations and services. For optimal preparation, research the role and understand what it is asking of you because you will be asked to expand on your knowledge of the position. To gain insight on a candidate’s awareness of the field they are seeking employment in, PwC might ask you to share an interesting piece of recent financial news. They want an employee that is up to date on the current economic climate and can share valuable commercial knowledge alongside industry expertise.
Above all, be confident. It may sound cheesy, but PwC is big on communication and fostering relationships. If you are able to form a bond in the short time you are interviewing, this elevates you in the eyes of the company because they are widely customer service based.
Students and Graduates
PwC is highly competitive for students and graduates. Each year they receive tens of thousands of applications but have a limited number of open positions. The interview process for students and graduates interested in PwC differs slightly from their more seasoned candidates. It looks more like this:
Career Valuation – Job Preview Assessment
Career Unlocked – Online Assessments
Career Conversation – Video Interview
Career Focus – Assessment Day
Applying to PwC will serve as the initial screening, they will inform you if you are proceeding within a month of submitting the application.
Once you have successfully completed the first step in the interview process, there will be a career valuation, or evaluation. This will come in the form of an online assessment that PwC calls the job preview assessment, but it can also be called the situational judgement test. PwC will provide video scenarios of hypothetical situations in the workplace, then prompt you with questions. Keep in mind that PwC values leadership, competency and strong communication skills, and they will want your answers to reflect those qualities. This purpose of this assessment is to appraise how well you would fit in with the culture and environment at PwC.
The Career Unlocked step is a series of game-based online assessments that examines the aptitude, cognitive skills and behavioral preferences of the candidates. Applicants can expect to see the following online assessments during their interview process:
Numerical Reasoning PwC’s numerical reasoning test is a timed multiple-choice assessment that serves to evaluate the candidate’s proficiency with graphical interpretation, crunching numbers, and basic mathematical functions. Because PwC is one of the largest multinational accounting firms, it is strongly advised that you practice the numerical reasoning test. Your score carries a lot of weight.
Abstract Reasoning PwC’s abstract reasoning test supplies the applicant with shapes and patterns and asks for a plausible conclusion. This test reviews the candidate’s ability to problem solve by drawing solutions from observations. The test is multiple choice and must be completed in a fixed amount of time.
Personality Test The final psychometric test for students and graduates is PwC’s personality test. It is closely related to the SJT but is used as more of a guide to your style and preferences in the workplace. While there aren’t necessarily right or wrong answers, PwC is still seeking a reasonable and competent employee, so keep this in mind during the assessment.
The Career Conversation portion of PwC’s interview process is a video interview. The video interview will consist of the candidate answering questions and evaluating case studies provided by PwC. The main focus of the video interview will be your knowledge of the material and the industry you’re seeking employment in; however, PwC will also like to hear why you are interested in their company and what you could bring to the table. They look for enthusiastic, well-spoken, and straightforward candidates. During the video interview, you will have two minutes to prepare for each behavioral and general inquiry, and then three minutes to answer each question. As for the case study, you will have ten minutes to prepare and five minutes to address it. Some example questions and overall theme of the questions may be variations of these:
What is your biggest mistake and what did you learn from it?
How does PwC add value to its clients?
Tell me about a time you were working on a project and the parameters changed last minute. How did you handle the situation?
Can you discuss any recent developments that may impact PwC and the accounting industry?
PwC’s Career Focus
The Career Focus stage is the final step in the recruitment process. It is an assessment day where candidates experience a ‘day in the life’ at PwC. The potential employees work together and individually to complete case studies and evaluations as well as some of the numerical and diagrammatical (logical reasoning) tests you previously did online. This process offers candidates a chance to know what it is really like to work at PwC, and also offers applicants a little more insight into the company’s background, environment and operations. Prior to assessment day, you should come prepared with substantial knowledge of PwC; try taking a glance at their annual report, and extracting the main ideas, it is also recommended that you research PwC’s global acumen and attributes. At the end of the day, there will be a time for a reflective conversation with the assessor in which you can address your strengths, concerns and contributions throughout the day.
Shortly after the career focus assessment day, PwC will reach out with an offer. For some positions, a formal interview must take place after assessment day and before an offer, PwC will inform you if this applies to your position.
If you have accepted PwC’s offer, the onboarding process will begin after you have passed their checks. PwC will verify your grades and work experience and then invite you to the office for an informal introduction to your future colleagues before your official start date. Another part of PwC’s onboarding process is the completion of a handful of tasks on their onboarding website before your first day. They may also extend an invitation to a work event which gives you the chance to network and make a more casual first impression.
How to Prepare for PwC’s Online Assessments?
PwC is diligent in ensuring questions are not often repeated on multiple candidate’s online aptitude assessments, therefore you must prepare yourself to be ready for the format and general idea of the content rather than plainly knowing the questions. Practice online assessments are an incredible tool for applicants looking to get a leg up.
In regard to the personality aspect of the online assessments, it would be wise to know and understand the skills PwC favors in their employees: whole leadership, technical capabilities, business acumen, global acumen, and relationship. This is PwC’s idea of a perfect professional, keep this in mind during your assessment and be on the lookout for questions that are probing at these traits.
PwC is highly competitive and receives top notch applicants from around the world, stand out by highlighting your leadership and communication skills, as well as your industry knowledge and expertise. Demonstrate to PwC how you can be an asset to their company. As one of the four biggest accounting firms in the world, PwC is a golden opportunity for working professionals. With preparation and practice, this could be your golden opportunity, good luck!