KPMG is a global professional services organisation working across the areas of Consulting, Tax & Law, Deal Advisory and Technology & Engineering. It is recognised as one of the Big Four, alongside its main competitors Deloitte, Ernst & Young, and PwC.
KPMG member firms employ over 200,000 workers and operate in over 150 countries, with the UK branch hosting 16,000 employees across 24 office locations.
The scope of the work is broad and there are many varied opportunities on offer, enabling employees to develop both personally and professionally. This draws many candidates to apply for a role within one of KPMG's service areas.
There are opportunities for school leavers, undergraduates, graduates and experienced professionals. Regardless of level, positions are competitive, so the recruitment process is challenging.
KPMG Application Process
The application process at KPMG differs slightly from others you may have encountered. Instead of the usual separate aptitude assessments – such as verbal, numerical, or logical reasoning – the KPMG process features three scenario-based online assessments with psychometric testing nested within them.
These are bookended by an initial online application form and KPMG's Virtual Launch Pad, which acts as an online assessment day.
The first stage of the KPMG recruitment process is the online application. This is required for every role and will involve filling in information about your educational background and work experience. The questions posed will be embedded into an online form, so there is no need to upload a CV.
When talking about your experiences, ensure you keep the role you are applying for and KPMG’s core values in mind. Seek to include engaging examples that clearly evidence these values, as it is important to display as early on as possible that you are a qualified and compatible candidate.
Take time to review the job description and make use of the key words within your online application answers. This will, again, help to align your offer with the skills and competencies sought by KPMG.
The application form should be completed honestly and reflect your achievements, as recruiters respond best to genuine, grounded answers.
The online application should take you around 30 minutes to complete. You can save your progress and return to the form later, if needed. Ensure, however, that you submit in good time. Early applications are recommended due to the competitive nature of roles at KPMG.
Transforming Small Businesses
Transforming Small Businesses is the first of KPMG's online scenario-based assessments, which you will be automatically invited to complete upon the submission of your application form. Once you have been issued the link via email, you have a 5-day period in which to take the test.
Unlike most employee assessment tests, it is an untimed assessment. KPMG suggests that the average completion time is around 90 minutes. To achieve the best results, it is recommended that the assessment is completed in one sitting.
The Transforming Small Businesses assessment will present you with material relating to three fictional small businesses. This material may be in the form of emails, voicemail recordings, videos, reports and articles.
You will be required to use the given information to answer a series of questions about how each business is performing and how best to tackle the challenges it faces. The assessment aims to mimic the experience of working with business clients at KPMG.
The material given will include numerical and financial data, in the form of tables and graphs. Consequently, numerical reasoning style questions are featured. These questions should reflect a GCSE-level standard of maths. The use of a calculator is permitted.
To assess your reactions to different workplace challenges, the assessment includes situational judgement style questions. You will be required to indicate how you would respond to certain scenarios by ranking given options.
The written material provided will also give rise to verbal reasoning style questions. You will need to understand the information - and its implications - and use it to answer a range of questions on the featured businesses.
The Transforming Small Businesses assessment should be taken on a laptop or desktop computer with a stable internet connection to prevent disruption. The use of a Chrome browser is recommended. Siting the test in a quiet, comfortable environment will also allow for stronger focus and greater chance of success.
Upon completion of the test, you will be given a personalised report of your performance. This will highlight your areas of strength and provide advice on how to improve your performance in relation to the KPMG core strengths (as discussed at the end of this article).
If you pass the Transforming Small Businesses assessment, you will be invited to complete the next test.
KPMG’s second online assessment, Delivering Outcomes, is linked to the business area for which you have applied. You will be presented with a fictional project in your chosen service area, as an introduction to the type of work encountered.
The project you are given will relate to one of the businesses introduced in the previous assessment, so you will already have a level of background knowledge about the company.
The assessment will involve answering situational judgment questions on the best course of action, composing written responses from the information provided and recording video responses.
For the questions that require video answers, you will be given 2 minutes to record each response. So that your responses reflect your abilities, ensure you have carefully prepared your answers before pressing record. To create a good impression, speak confidently and keep your attention on the camera rather than on any notes.
Like the previous assessment, it is untimed. A completion time of around one hour is suggested and it should be completed in one sitting. Again, you have 5 days to complete the assessment from its date of issue.
If you pass, you will be invited to take the third assessment in the process.
The third online assessment specifically tests your ability to be a critical thinker – one of KPMG’s core sought after strengths. The test is conducted via video call and facilitated by a member of the recruitment team. There will likely be up to 10 other candidates completing the assessment at the same time as you.
You will be asked to keep your camera on but remain muted. If you have any questions during the test, you will have the ability to contact the facilitator via the chat box. There is a 30-minute time limit to complete the assessment.
The Critical Thinker test involves answering numerical reasoning questions across two sections – Market Trends and Social Media.
There are 10 questions in total, which equates to a time allowance of 3 minutes per question. The data sources given are the same as those encountered in the Transforming Small Business assessment, so the content will not be new to you.
The questions will, however, be different. They will be a mixture of multiple choice and questions that require you to type the answer into the box. Make sure to double check any answers you type, to avoid unnecessary mistakes. The use of a calculator is permitted.
The results of the test should be issued within 24 hours. If successful, you will continue to the final stage of the recruitment process – KPMG’s Virtual Launch Pad.
Virtual Launch Pad
The Virtual Launch Pad is the equivalent of a virtual assessment centre day. It features a group exercise (broken down into a series of tasks), a written exercise and a partner interview.
For the written exercise, you will be provided with a brief and asked to write a report of your recommendations. The report will need to be as comprehensive as possible, taking into account all given information and making shrewd deductions and solid suggestions for action.
During the interview, you will be asked behaviour-based questions to confirm that you align with KPMG’s core values and company culture. The interview will be conducted individually. As always, there will be opportunity to ask questions at the end, so come prepared with a couple of insightful questions to pose.
The Virtual Launch Pad is also an opportunity for you to learn more about working life at KPMG, as you will be able to virtually meet current employees and partners to find out about your business area. If you are applying for a grad scheme, you will also get the chance to meet the prospective graduate cohort.
You should receive the outcome of the process within 2 two days. If you do not receive a job offer on this occasion, you will have the option to request feedback on your performance.
What is KPMG Looking For?
KPMG seeks qualified, well-rounded candidates who can display that they possess the 11 core qualities considered as essential to succeed at the company. These qualities encompass mindsets and behaviours well as skills strengths. They are as follows:
Career motivation – During the recruitment stages, make sure you display your enthusiasm and dedication to your chosen role. You will need to clearly express why you want to work within your chosen business area and why you are pursuing this at KPMG. The recruiters want to know you have considered your path carefully and understand what the undertaking entails.
Drive quality – KPMG seeks candidates who take pride in what they do and consistently deliver high quality work, going above and beyond for clients. You will need to display you can take ownership of tasks, anticipate, prevent or resolve issues and deliver on time.
Demonstrate integrity – KPMG values integrity, honesty and high-ethical standards. Your work should reflect your understanding of appropriate behaviours and adhere to relevant regulations.
Critical thinker – Display that you can critically evaluate information and come to your own conclusions. Any action you take should be based upon careful reasoning and deduction. This core behaviour is seen as particularly valuable and is overtly tested throughout the recruitment stages – it even has its own assessment.
Resilient performer – When working for KPMG, it is important that you are flexible in your thinking and able to adapt to overcome challenges. Show that you can turn a setback into a constructive occurrence, deliver under pressure and remain focused and positive in the face of adversity.
Leverage technology – KPMG seeks to remain at the forefront of adopting new technologies that disrupt and improve the current system. To work at KPMG, you must be curious about technological developments and willing to embed them into the way you work.
Communicate effectively – Communication is key for building relationships with your clients and colleagues at KPMG. Seek to display strong written and verbal communication skills throughout the recruitment process, expressing yourself clearly, confidently and in a professional manner.
Foster innovation - KPMG operates in a fast-paced and changing environment. It seeks employees who can approach problems with creativity and enthusiasm. Show the recruiters that you can adapt to an evolving situation by coming forward when there is an opportunity to offer new ideas and solutions.
Credible connector – KPMG prides itself on a culture of diversity and inclusivity. Prospective employees must display that they are committed to building strong, lasting relationships. Much of the work will be as part of a team, so being able to demonstrate your strong collaborative skills and an ability to bring the best out of others is important.
Show curiosity – KPMG wants to welcome individuals who are dedicated, curious and driven to reach their goals. Personal and professional development is vital to progressing within the company, and you must be willing to help drive your own progression. In the recruitment process, display that you can take on board constructive criticism, learn from any mistakes and rapidly apply new learning or approaches. Actively seek feedback to improve your performance.
Purposeful collaborator - The best work is achieved through working collaboratively, taking into account the opinions, ideas and knowledge of a diverse team and delivering results through leveraging the skills of each individual. Throughout the recruitment process, display your awareness of the benefit of listening to others and being open to different perspectives.
Show your willingness to delegate and your understanding of the importance of bringing the right people into a project at the right time, in order to deliver the best results.
To increase your chances of securing a role at KPMG, keep these 11 qualities in mind throughout the recruitment process and seek to exhibit them at every stage. The recruitment team will be using them as indicators to measure your performance.