Every candidate for PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) needs to participate in at least one job interview during the recruitment process. For the majority of candidates, the first interview takes place at the early stages of the process and is often conducted over the phone. The lucky few who manage to pass this interview and all other initial assessments will make it to the final stages of the process. These stages usually include the PwC assessment centre and a final face-to-face interview.
Going through the interviews and assessment centre can be a stressful experience for many, especially since there is so much at stake. However, knowing what to expect and preparing in advance can reduce much of your stress, increase your confidence, and help you respond and act better in real time.
To make sure you arrive prepared, we will walk you through the different types of interviews and assessment centre exercises you can expect when applying to PwC. We will also provide you with useful tips and links to preparation resources that will help you improve your chances of successfully passing these assessments.
PwC highly recommends candidates prepare for their interviews in advance. To make the preparation process easier, we have gathered all the information, tips, and guidance you need in one place.
During your selection process you may need to go through one or both of the following interviews:
The interview process at PwC differs between programmes and positions, with variations in the number of interviews and their types. Learn more about PwC’s interview process for experienced hires, for graduate schemes and internships, and for school and college leavers.
Despite the differences in the interview process between programmes and positions, there are three main issues interviewers at PwC like to address, so expect to get questions that relate to them:
Below is a list of questions that have been asked in a range of PwC interviews in the past (either in a telephone interview or in the final interview). The exact questions you will face during your interview depend on the scheme or position for which you are applying. However, the following sample questions give a good idea of the kind of things PwC is looking for.
Here are some important tips that will help you do better on your interview at PwC:
To help you learn how to prepare for and shine during your interviews at PwC, JobTestPrep’s experts have created a unique preparation pack. This pack offers important interview tips and features a comprehensive interview guide. The guide discusses, among other things, competency-based interviews, and it also explains how to use the STAR method when answering questions.
Spending the day at one of PwC’s assessment centres, usually held in one of their offices, can make even the best of candidates a little uneasy. Knowing what to expect and preparing in advance can help calm your nerves and put you in the right mindset to perform well.
The activities you may have to take part in during the assessment day are:
Note that not all candidates encounter all of these activities during their assessment day. You will usually be told by the recruiters what to expect and if there is any preparation to be done beforehand. Learn more about PwC’s assessment centre for experienced hires, for graduate schemes and internships, and for school and college leavers.
To verify the results of your first set of online tests, you are given a second set of psychometric tests to complete at the assessment centre. These are paper-based tests and are often more difficult and longer than their online counterparts.
Some candidates may not be able to use a calculator during the numerical test taken at the assessment centre. Nonetheless, we recommended that you bring your calculator with you in case you will have permission to use it. We also recommend having a stopwatch with you as you won’t always be notified about the time left for the test.
Even if you performed exceptionally well on the online tests, make sure to take the verification tests seriously and prepare for them prior to your assessment day. You can use our PwC Online Tests practice pack to review your skills and prepare for the tests.
During the PwC group exercise, the candidates are usually split into two groups of between 4 and 6 people. (In some cases, you may be asked to participate in an individual exercise instead. This exercise evaluates the same skills as the group exercise. The only difference is that you will be interacting with an assessor instead of with other candidates.)
The group exercise generally begins with each person getting a brief. In some exercises, each group member receives the same brief, while in others, each brief is different. These briefs are most commonly about a fictitious company that is going through a financial update or move.
You are given 20 minutes to read through the materials and make notes. There are some calculations that need to be made and you are given a calculator to do so. Make sure that your percentage work is strong because this plays a large part in the discussion. Once you have read through the material, you then have an additional 20 minutes to discuss with the rest of the group your recommendations for the company and the way forward.
When participating in the group exercise, it is important to bear in mind that although content is important, your interaction with the rest of the group is even more so. Be polite to the other candidates, invite them to speak, and listen to what they have to say. At the same time, make sure your voice is heard and that you communicate your ideas clearly.
Prepare for your group exercise with our PwC assessment centre preparation pack. Get instructional guides for group exercises and recommendations for effective behaviour.
For the PwC assessment centre written exercise, you will be given a brief about a task based on the work of the stream to which you have applied. You have 30 minutes to carefully read through the material and write a report on it.
This exercise measures your written communication skills. Thus, the report you produce must be clear and concise and have a logical structure. You should use proper writing structure with an introduction, a main argument, and a conclusion. Your line of thought must be clear and backed up with figures or facts to explain your reasoning. Jotting down a plan is very worthwhile as you can simply refer to it when beginning to actually write the report. This will help ensure you hit all the major points, saving you time and effort. You will be penalised for errors in spelling and grammar, so a final review is crucial. The time allocated to this test is short, making time management a key part of the challenge.
Candidates applying to consulting strategy or economic streams often face a case study as part of an interview or an assessment centre. On the PwC case study, you are given a brief related to the field for which you are applying. You will need to analyse the contents of this brief and report it to the assessors. A sample case study is one in which you may need to make business and financial recommendations on behalf of a record company.
Once you have completed the work, you need to either give a presentation or write a written report:
The presentation lasts for 10 minutes and is followed by an additional 10 minutes of questioning. Remember that when answering the questions, the assessors are looking to see if you possess the company's key competencies. Showing them that you are open-minded, practical, and adaptable can strongly influence your performance.
For the written report, you need to clearly and concisely write out your conclusions from your findings in the case study along with your recommendations for the future. The key is working quickly through the documents, prioritising and identifying the key issues.
Prepare for your case study with our PwC assessment centre preparation pack. Practise case studies with complete solutions and professional tips, and learn how to work your way through the exercise and its presentation.
The PwC e-tray/in-tray exercise is an assessment of your time management, prioritisation, and written communication skills — all important attributes for any employee to have.
The task involves a number of emails you need to sort through and answer questions about, simulating a real-life task. Once you have gone through the emails, you need to write an email to a fictional co-worker detailing what you have done and what tasks they need to take care of.
You have very little time to complete the in-tray/e-tray exercise, so make sure to keep track of your progress. When writing the final e-mail, pay attention to your spelling and grammar, and ensure your writing is clear.
Practise in-tray exercises under time pressure, and learn how to manage your time and prioritise the tasks correctly with our PwC Assessment Centre & Interviews preparation pack.
Below is a testimonial of a JTP client who went to the Assessment Centre at PwC and was kind enough to write a little bit about their experience.
My PwC assessment centre consists of a written exercise, a group discussion, psychometric testing, and a partner interview.
We arrived at 8:45 and received a name tag with our group ID. We were all in one room together and were told that the day would consist of numerical reasoning and logical reasoning tests, a written exercise, and a group assessment.
My group did the report writing exercise first. They gave us an informational packet with everything we would need to create a report. The report was about environmental concerns having to do with businesses saving water. The packet was comprised of many scenarios having to do with water conservation strategies and we had to write a report in 30 minutes. Although I got mine done in time it was very rushed; time constraints made it hard to finish on time but also added a certain amount of anxiety which added to the difficulty of writing the actual report. Word to the wise; look up the report format before going to the AC! Knowing the general structure of a report will help a lot.
As soon as the 30 minutes were up for the report we were given our numerical reasoning tests without no break allotted in between. We had 20 minutes to answer 20 numerical reasoning questions. The test was really hard. I had done some practice numerical reasoning tests though and that helped me a lot, calming my nerves knowing what I was doing. The test was pretty similar to those that I had practised online. When I saw I only had four minutes left I just guessed the answers to all of the questions I didn’t have time to answer; it was about four or five questions. There is no negative marking on the test grading so it was worth it to fill out an answer even if I wasn’t sure of it. The time constraint was pretty tough but I felt pretty confident in the answers I did have time to answer.
Following the numerical reasoning test we were handed the logical reasoning test, again without a break in between. It was somewhat of an intellectual marathon and I was really happy I had eaten a big breakfast that day. The logical reasoning test was 20 minutes long and the test had 40 questions on it. Again I was running out of time but I just filled in any answer I could to those questions that I didn’t have time for. It is always worth guessing because there are no negative repercussions for wrong answers. After the logical reasoning test we had a break, finally. We were able to grab a coffee or a tea and use the restrooms if needed. I thought it would be a good idea to start socializing a little with the people before we had to work together in the group exercise. It also helped to ease my nerves to talk to other people there.
After the break we had group exercise. I was assigned a group with three other people. We all sat around a table and the assessors sat around the edge of the room. It might sound a little intimidating but it really wasn’t. Everyone was given a booklet that had information about the task at hand and then each person had a unique argument that they had to present in group discussion. There were also a few simple calculations to be done in the test booklet but they were minor and should not worry you. We had 20 minutes to read through the packet and prepare. Then, as a group, we had 30 minutes to discuss the topic and present our individual arguments. In my group we were all pretty active with no one who was particularly dominant and no one who was particularly quiet so we were all able to share our arguments. After we had each presented our arguments we began a discussion that was directed towards meeting the assigned objectives. In the middle of the group exercise one of the assessors came over and gave us an "urgent email" to incorporate into the discussion. In our case it was an email notification of budget cuts. We just had to work around the new information and try not to let it throw us off too much while still incorporating it into the discussing and proposal.
All in all it was not at as intimidating as I thought it would be. Maybe it was because I knew we were all there for the same reason and we're all going through the same things pretty much. I definitely recommend preparing for the psychometric tests and researching report format before going because it will help a lot and save you time. Also, it will just make you feel more confident and that helps a lot in all of the activities.
The assessment centre is a great opportunity for you to show your true self, impress the people at PwC, and take another big step towards getting a job offer. To make sure you perform at your best during this long and stressful day, you must arrive at the assessment centre focused and prepared. (A good night's sleep would probably be a good idea too.)
To help you take some of the stress off and be in top shape on the assessment day, our team of experts has created two preparation packs:
We wish you the best of luck on your assessments,
The JobTestPrep team
PwC and other trademarks are the property of their respective trademark holders. None of these trademark holders are affiliated with JobTestPrep or this website. Our materials are designed to help you prepare for the types of assessments you will encounter, but they are not identical to them.