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PwC Career Focus Day, SJT, Behavioral Based Assessment Hiring Process & Interview Questions Preparation – 2024

Aptitude Tests Prep

About PwC

PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited (PwC) is the second largest accounting firm in the world and a member of the prestigious Big Four accounting firms. The firm has some notable alumni including Phil Knight (Nike founder), Ed Bastian (CEO of Delta), and Greg Abel (CEO of Berkshire Hathaway).

PwC has operations in over a hundred countries and hires tens of thousands of employees each year. However, they receive hundreds of thousands of applicants and have a reputation for having a very difficult hiring process. This is partly because of the prestige of working for PwC, but PwC offers a lot to employees. Some of the benefits of working at PwC include:

  • 12 weeks parental leave
  • Work from home hybrid (around 50% of time worked is worked from home)
  • Student loan pay downs
  • 401k matching (25% of the first 6% contributed per year)
  • Heath, dental, and vision insurance

As mentioned previously, PwC has a very difficult and competitive hiring process. The firm does not hire the vast majority of applicants. Applicants will have to take multiple assessments and have a few different interviews before receiving a job offer.


What Is the Recruitment Process at PwC?

PwC has hundreds of thousands of applicants each year for all their positions. As such, they have a very streamlined and formulaic hiring process that does not deviate much. This can make it difficult to stand out from the competition, but it does have the benefit that applicants know exactly what to expect from the hiring process.


Initial Application

The first step of the PwC hiring process is filling out the initial job application. This might sound simple enough. However, it is important to do this properly as PwC uses keyword scanning to filter out applications.

This means applicants should be sure to include relevant information in the resume and cover letter they upload to the PwC job portal to ensure they make it to the next step of the hiring process.

Applicants that make it past the initial application will receive an email from PwC asking them to take some assessment test.


PwC’s Assessment Tests

PwC uses SHL assessment tests to screen out the majority of applicants. The exact number of applicants that pass the assessment tests is not publicly available, but it is estimated that up to 80% of applicants do not pass the assessment tests.

These tests are difficult and PwC has a high standard for passing the test. Here are some of the assessment tests that you should expect to take during the PwC hiring process:

  • Situational Judgement Test (SJT)The situational judgment test that PwC has applicants take is done online. It will present the applicants with a hypothetical scenario and a selection of responses to the scenario. The applicant must select the best response. This is a fairly standard pre-employment test that large corporations have applicants take. And it can be quite difficult as all the responses will look right. The key to pass this test is to look for the answer that best fits the corporate environment at PwC. This requires conducting some research on the work culture at PwC.
  • Numerical Reasoning Test A numerical reasoning test examines the applicant’s ability to read data in charts, tables, and graphs. It does this by presenting a chart, table, or graph and asking a question that requires properly understanding the dataset to answer. The best way to prepare for this test is to ensure that you understand how to read different types of datasets properly and quickly. This numerical test is timed, so speed and accuracy are equally important. Take free SHL numerical reasoning sample tests questions to practice.
  • Logical Reasoning TestA logical reasoning test will test the applicant’s ability to detect patterns by presenting them with a pattern and asking for the next item in the pattern. The test PwC uses shapes arranged in a certain way to form patterns. The lack of writing on this test means that it exclusively tests pattern recognition and pattern continuation. This is one of the more difficult psychometric tests to prepare for. However, pattern recognition can be learned by taking enough logical reasoning practice tests and reading the explanations for the correct (and incorrect) answers.
  • Arctic Shores Skyrise City Game Assessment – PwC has started using Arctic Shores game assessments in the hiring process. For those unfamiliar with Arctic Shores, they are an assessment test company that creates standard psychometric tests and then combines them with a video game. This might sound strange, but it actually provides the employer with more data to determine if an applicant is a good fit. Anyway, PwC uses the Skyrise City game by Arctic Shores as an assessment test. It has various games (tests) that measure an applicant’s emotional intelligence, concentration, risk-taking, and problem solving. The good thing is that Skyrise City sample games exist, which makes practising and getting familiar with the games much easier. And a lot of doing well with Skyrise City comes down to familiarity with the games you must play in the hiring process.


HireVue Interview

If you pass all the assessments, then you will receive an email asking you to complete a video interview. PwC uses HireVue for their video interviews, which means applicants will video record themselves answering the interview questions. PwC recruiters do not watch the video recordings live, but they do view them at a later date.

The questions in the video interview usually are about the applicant’s motives for applying, their work history, relevant experience, and why they would be a good fit for PwC. This is not a technical interview – it is simply a chance for recruiters to get to know the applicant a little better and make an initial judgment on if they will be a good fit for PwC.


Phone Interview

The next step in the hiring process is a phone interview with a PwC recruiter. The questions will be similar to the HireVue interview and are very general in nature (Why PwC?, What makes you a good fit?, etc.).

PwC is slowly moving away from phone interviews in favour of HireVue interviews. Some positions or locations may still require a phone interview, though. Do not be concerned if you do not receive an invitation for a phone interview after the HireVue interview. PwC will inform you when you have been eliminated from the hiring process.


PwC Career Focus Day

The PwC Career Focus Day, also known as an assessment centre, is the first time that applicants will have a face-to-face interaction with PwC recruiters and hiring managers. The PwC Career Focus Day is conducted at the applicant’s local PwC office and is a one-day event that has the applicant participate in case studies in groups and individually.

The applicant will have to make both a presentation and write a report about the case study. It is important to practice your presentation and writing skills before the assessment centre – PwC is looking for candidates that have excellent presentation and written skills. They also want to see leadership skills, so you should try to (diplomatically) take the initiative on any group activities.

Candidates will also have to do in-tray exercises. These are exercises that simulate a workday and test how the applicant manages their time and work in teams.

The PwC Career Focus Day is notoriously difficult and only those that have passed the already difficult assessment tests even make it to the PwC Career Focus Day. All the other candidates at the PwC Career Focus Day will be highly qualified and intelligent, which is why it is extremely important to prepare for the PwC Career Focus Day. Those that do not adequately prepare will likely not make it to the next stage of the hiring process.


Technical Interview

The next step of the process is a technical interview with an experienced PwC employee in the department for which you have applied. The questions are strictly technical and the aim is to determine that you have the knowledge for the job at PwC. This interview may or may not contain a case study – it depends on the local office and the interviewer.


Final Interview

The final interview is with either a partner or director of the department that you applied for at PwC. This interview is relatively short at only 30 minutes and is mostly a formality. The interviewer will ask some behavioural questions and your expectations of the job.

They expect you to ask them questions about working at PwC, so make sure to have some questions you would like to ask a partner or director prepared – you will likely not have another opportunity to ask someone high up in the company a question like that, so make sure the question is good and that the answer cannot be easily found on the PwC website.


Job Offer

The partner or director will deliberate with the hiring manager about whether or not to hire the candidate. If you made it to the final interview, then you will most likely receive a job offer, but it’s not guaranteed.

You will receive a phone call informing you if you have been hired or not and giving you information about your start date and the onboarding process.


Common Interview Questions at PwC

Big 4 accounting companies do not usually ask tricky or complicated interview questions and PwC is no different. The interview questions asked are standard interview questions and are not challenging or tricky.

Here are some common interview questions that PwC interviewers like to ask:

Where do you see yourself in five years?

PwC wants to hire candidates that have a future with the company and you should demonstrate that with your answer. There is a lot of room for growth in the company, so make sure to mention that you could see yourself rising to a more senior position than the one you are interviewing for.

Make sure to do research on the job titles in your industry and the approximate timeline to reach those jobs. You do not want to say you could see yourself being a partner or director in five years when you are interviewing for a junior accountant position.

What can you offer to PwC?

PwC is looking for employees that work well on teams, work hard, and deliver high-quality work. You should mention one or all of those points when answering this question. If you have any specialized knowledge relevant to the position, then you should mention that as well. But this question is mostly looking for behavioural skills rather than technical skills.

Why this department?

The interviewer wants to see why you chose the particular department or speciality (audit, tax, consulting, etc.) over a different department or speciality. Your response should mention something about solving problems, overcoming challenges, or finding the work interesting.

Do not mention because the salary is high – they want to see that candidates are motivated by more than just money.

Tell us about a difficult situation you encountered while working on a team and how you overcame it.

This question is to determine how well you work on teams. The interviewer is looking for an answer that shows the candidate can resolve conflict in a diplomatic way without lowering team morale. They may or may not ask it in the interview, but they also want to see that the difficult stayed resolved.

It is also important to use the STAR method when answering this question, if applicable. STAR stands for situation, task, action, response. State the situation, describe the task, explain the action you took, and tell the response or result of the action.



How to Prepare for the PwC Assessment Tests?

The good news is that preparing for PwC’s assessment tests is relatively straightforward – take lots of practice tests and review the explanations for the right and wrong answers until you understand the reasoning behind the correct and incorrect answers.

That strategy can be used for the numerical reasoning test, logical reasoning test, and the situational judgment test. It is important to note that PwC uses SHL assessments, so you want to find SHL practice tests if possible.

The Arctic Shores game will require playing practice games. PwC uses the Skyline City game in Arctic Shores, so finding a Skyline City practice game is ideal. However, using practice assessment games from other companies is a decent alternative as the assessment games from different companies tend to be very similar.

Finally, all the assessments at PwC are timed and taken online, so make sure to take the practice assessments online with a timer. You should time how long it takes to solve each question and work on lowering the time on any questions it takes you longer than average to solve. Time is a major factor in the assessment tests and you do not want to use more of it than necessary on a question.