As a Big Four firm, Ernst & Young is a very popular option for job seekers in the field of accounting. Being popular means getting a foot in the door is rather competitive. This article aims to provide you with some insight and meaningful tips to help with the recruitment process.
What Is Ernst & Young?
Ernst & Young now formally known as EY is one of the Big Four accounting firms. EY dates back as far as 1849 but did not adopt the name Ernst & Young until a merger in 1989. In 2013, the company underwent a rebranding exercise and started operating as EY, which was used informally prior to the company adopting the name officially. Services offered by EY include:
- Advisory Services
Employing 270,000 people, EY has over 700 offices in 150 different countries including its headquarters in the United Kingdom, United States, Australia, The Cayman Islands, The British Virgin Islands, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and Australia to name a few.
Employees at EY can expect to enjoy benefits such as:
- Annual Bonuses
- Professional certification bonus and reimbursement
- Dental Coverage
- Retirement Plan
- EY Navigate™
- Bereavement Benefit
- Group Legal Plan
- Paid Vacation
- Parental Leave
- EY Corporate Responsibility Sabbaticals
What Is EY’s Hiring Process?
Being a Big Four firm, EY gets many applications, but only a few are chosen at the end of their selection process. Below is an outline of EY’s recruitment process, and how you can best make it work for you.
Online Application – Learning about you
So, you’ve decided to apply for a job at EY. Applications to EY are filled out online, and job seekers need to create a profile on EY’s website. After creating an account, the candidate will be required to choose their program (undergraduate, graduate, apprenticeships, or work experience) and answer some questions about themselves. Once this is done, the candidate will receive a link to move on to the second phase.
First Round Interview
Once recruiters are pleased with your online application, you will be invited for a face-to-face interview. This is generally done at the office that you have applied to and usually lasts no more than one hour. This interview provides you with the first opportunity to ask questions, as well as verbally express anything that’s in your application that may need some clarification. Be prepared to discuss your strengths, weaknesses, previous positions of leadership, your hobbies, and any co-curricular activities you might have taken part in.
Depending on what position you’ve applied for, EY may require that you attend an Assessment Center Day. This may include anything from psychometric/aptitude tests, team meetings, cases studies or even an interview with a director or partner. The structure of this day is heavily dependent on the job for which you’ve applied, as the positions all utilise different skillsets. EY will provide candidates with information about what to expect when they’re invited to attend the Assessment Center Day. Once provided with the details, it would be wise to practice for the tests.
Some of the assessments that candidates can expect are:
- EY Case Study
This is a 40-minute assessment in which candidates are provided with details about a decision which they need to consider. The candidate is required to analyse this information and provide recommendations regarding the decision. This should be done as either a PowerPoint presentation or a Word Document. The proposal should include schedule, delegated tasks, contingencies, and check-point/progress review schedules. Learn more about case studies.
- EY Group Exercise
This exercise requires no preparation, and it is used to assess the candidate’s ability to reason, prioritise tasks, and communicate effectively. The candidate will be presented with work-related information associated with a problem for which they will use reasoning to determine the best solution. It is advised to outline the solution in a step-wise manner that is easily comprehensible.
In some jurisdictions, prior to attending the Assessment Center Day, candidates are required to complete a number of online assessments. These personality tests are administered by some of the leading testing agencies, such as Capp, SHL Talent Management, and Saville Assessment. These may include:
- Situational Strengths Test (SJT)
In this assessment, the candidate is presented with 16 work-related scenarios. Along with the scenarios are options which the candidate may take to handle the situation. The candidate is required to rate these options from 1-5, providing the examiner with an indication of how you would most likely tackle the situation. Read more about SJT tests.
- Verbal Reasoning Test
This is essentially an English test designed to assess the candidate’s ability to understand and use written information. Candidates are presented with paragraphs followed by a statement about the paragraph. The candidate needs to then state whether the statement is true, false or express that there is not enough information to determine whether the statement is true or false. Learn more about verbal tests
- Numerical Reasoning Test
Being an accounting firm, it is expected that a candidate’s mathematical reasoning ability is above average. This is a math-based assessment which tests the candidate’s ability to do basic calculations, read charts, and perform calculations using ratios and percentages. Candidates have just about one minute to answer each question, which can make the assessment very stressful, essentially mimicking what can be expected during crunch time at EY.
- Business Behaviours Test
The business behaviours assessment is pretty similar to the situational strengths test, but the candidates are asked to rank the options based on how they would most likely behave. It is key to note that the candidate’s responses will determine the subsequent questions.
- Diagrammatic/Logical Reasoning Test
The purpose of this test is to evaluate a candidate’s reasoning ability. The candidate is presented with sequences which include shapes or patterns. Each sequence will have a missing piece. Candidates are to choose the correct missing item from the list of choices. Expand your knowledge of diagrammatic reasoning and logical reasoning tests.
- Excel Test
In some jurisdictions, candidates may be required to take an Excel test. This test serves as an evaluation in the candidate’s proficiency in Microsoft Excel. The test assesses the candidate’s ability to manipulate the software to perform basic calculations, work with tables, and use formulas.
The Job Offer
Within 48 hours of completing the assessment, candidates will be contacted by EY with the outcome of the evaluation. If a candidate is successful, EY will make a formal offer. In the unfortunate circumstance that a candidate was not successful, EY will provide the candidate with the opportunity to get some feedback on their interview. Whether successful or not, it is important that candidates remember that this is also a learning process.
What Qualities Are EY Recruiters Looking Out For?
EY is continually looking for high calibre talent. As stated on their website, EY is looking for diverse individuals who all share the same primary values. These values include:
- Integrity – These people have a strong sense of accountability, whether personal or professional and always strive to do the right thing.
- Team Players – These people like sharing and are open to working with people that are different than themselves.
- Respectful – These people understand and recognise the value of different opinions and perspectives.
- Up for a challenge – Ready to adapt to changing tides, face the task head on, and properly
- Meets EY’s technical requirements – These candidates fulfil the academic requirements of EY and are willing to continue taking professional certification exams and accounting tests as well as travel when necessary to get the job done.
- Ambitious – These candidates strive to be the best at whatever they do.
- Energetic, Enthusiastic & Ready to Lead – These candidates are passionate and are always excited to get work done. They seek out ways to grow and help others around them to develop.
How to Prepare for EY’s Interview Process
Being a popular destination for many in the accounting field, it won’t hurt to seek tips to aid in preparing your job application. EY has outlined some tips and hints to help applicants; they are outlined below.
- Try to learn as much as you can about EY. Learn about their services, and ensure you can package your strengths in a manner which aligns them with the company’s direction, so that the interviewer can get an idea of how well you will fit into the organisation.
- Remember that the interview is a two-way street; not only is the recruiter learning about the candidate, but the candidate is learning about the job and work environment. Candidates should prepare questions for the interviewer so that they may establish whether the environment is suited for them.
- Candidates should note that making it to the interview means EY has a vested interest in them. EY tries their best to ensure the interviews are designed to get the best out of the candidate. That being said, simply relax and give it your best.
- Candidates should try their best to attend open events (g. job fairs/recruitment fairs) being hosted by EY. This gives them the opportunity to ask questions about the organisation in a stress-free environment, as there is nothing on the line at that time.
- Candidates should never hesitate to use a career help service. This is specifically recommended for university students. Visit the campus career services centre and speak to a rep. They can guide candidates through the process and in some cases even organise a mock interview.
Like any recruitment process, candidates need to do their best to prepare so that they may put their best foot forward. That candidate’s talents and skills are on display, and they should do their best to show the recruiter how these talents will be of benefit to the company and the company’s clients.
All the best with your preparation!