PwC is the merger of two well-known, historical institutions in 1998. The merger was between Coopers & Lybrand and Price Waterhouse to create the second largest professional services network in the world and therefore one of the Big Four accounting firms alongside EY, Deloitte, and KPMG.
PwC operates in 157 countries, with 742 locations and employing 276,000 people. Their headquarters is based in London, and roles at PwC can be found in one of several Business Areas:
- International Firm Services
- Risk Assurance
Roles are available for school and college leavers, undergraduates and graduates, experienced applicants, and even contractor and flexible careers.
PwC Selection Process
The PwC selection process is designed to be straightforward, with several well-documented steps that are created to ensure that selected candidates can support the delivery of PwC's business strategy. The selection process steps can differ, depending on the job role applied for, but they are usually as follows:
- 1. Career Uncovered: an online tool to help you decide what business area suits you.
- 2. Apply online: simple online application form
- 3. Career Unlocked: a series of behaviour-based assessments.
- 4. Career Conversation: a video-based interview
- 5. Virtual Career Focus Day: a full-day immersive assessment
- 6. Offer
PwC does try to make sure that the entire application process is quick, straightforward, open and honest. If at any stage you are unsuccessful, you will receive feedback. It is possible to fail, but in most cases you can reapply. PwC has a six month hold on reapplication, and you may only apply to one open job role at a time.
If you are considering a career at PwC, this is the first step to understand which career route might be the most appropriate for you. The Career Uncovered tool is a web-based series of questions with multiple choice answers, to help you understand your own preferences and learn more about the skills and values that PwC are looking for in employees.
It is also a chance to see through some of the myths that you might have heard about working for one of the Big Four firms.
The tool is mostly aimed at school leavers, undergraduates and graduates.
Once you know what business area will suit you, your skills, and your qualifications best, it is time to apply.
The online application form is simple and straightforward, and the best way to fill it out is honestly.
Complete the research needed before you decide on which job to apply for; remember you can only apply for one role at a time, and if you are unsuccessful you will need to wait at least six months to reapply. This research will help give you the information you might need to explain why you have chosen to apply for that role, and why you feel you are a good fit for the role.
As with many roles, applicants are expected to take a number of psychometric tests to assess their inherent skills and abilities.
At PwC, there are several assessments that are made to test a candidate based on:
- Cognitive skills
- Behavioural preferences
- Numerical reasoning
- Abstract reasoning
What makes these assessments different from other tests you may have taken is that they are game-based. ALthough you will be assessed using psychometric matrices, the nature of the assessments makes it feel less like a traditional exam.
An example of the games that you might play is The Balloon. You have to press a button to inflate a balloon, and each pump gives more value. You can choose to bank the total at any point; but the balloon will pop eventually and almost at random.
The idea of the game is to measure your risk-taking behaviour; finding the balance between the amount banked and avoiding popped balloons will help assess how much you will take a risk under pressure.
These tests are an integral part of the assessment of candidates, and therefore their structure and pass rate are a closely guarded secret for PwC.
This is a specific type of interview, where you are required to video your responses to a range of questions and case studies. This is a great opportunity for you to demonstrate your knowledge of the values of PwC as well as showcasing your skills.
The video interviewing platform is enhanced with an artificial intelligence algorithm that provides a fair and objective measurement of responses. This algorithm will make suggestions of high recommended scores; these candidates will pass through into the next stage of the assessment process, while others will have a human review to decide if each candidate will pass to the next stage.
Virtual Career Focus Day
This is set up to be an immersive 'day-in-the-life' experience, where candidates take on a variety of case studies in group and individual exercises.
Candidates may be expected to take some further aptitude tests, or even in-tray exercises.
During this Career Focus Day, you have an opportunity to show off your skills and attributes that align the most with the values of PwC. You will be expected to make a presentation, work through group exercises, demonstrate communication and team work skills, and behave in a professional manner throughout the day.
The specific parts of the day will depend on which role you apply for, but by the end of it you will have a one-on-one interview with a relevant partner, manager or director.
Interview with Manager/Partner
This is the final step in the application process, and is a culmination of all the assessments that you have been through. This is a real time to shine in terms of your knowledge of PwC and the role you have applied for, and should be considered an opportunity to ask any questions that you have about the role too.
Top tips for success in the PwC selection process
Demonstrate all the Skills and Requirements
PwC are very open about what they want from their employees, and these skills fit into what they describe as the 'Professional Leadership Development Framework'. This includes the following skills:
- Whole Leadership: being purpose-led and value driven, so you can lead yourselves and others.
- Business Acumen: Understanding how business works and is changing.
- Technical and Digital Knowledge: Continually develop technical depth and breadth.
- Global and Inclusive: Employees have a mindset that transcends boundaries and leverages the power of the PwC network
- Relationships: employees should communicate with impact, ready to build meaningful and authentic relationships.
One of the strongest ways to prepare for the application process is in-depth research. Candidates can find different sources of information, from publicly available brochures and the PwC website.
You can also rely on the financial media available on the internet, through the press or television, for news stories and developments.
One of the best sources of information that might not be available to every candidate is any friends that you might have already in PwC employment. This can be a valuable source of information not only about what to expect during your recruitment process, but also what it is like to work in the PwC culture.
Although the PwC psychometric tests are not readily available in practice form, you can access some study information on the PwC website.
As the tests are variations of well-known psychometric assessments, you can practice similar tests online to get an idea of what is required to answer these types of questions.
With aptitude testing, it isn't about what you know, necessarily - more about how you can apply existing knowledge. Practicing these types of tests will make you feel more confident about taking the test when presented with it in your application.
Take Your Time
Although you want to be agile in your time management, do make sure to take your time to fully understand any instructions that you are given. Taking an extra moment to assess each stage of the application process before starting means that you will feel more in control and able to make the most of each stage.
Be Presentable and Professional
PwC firmly believes in the professionalism of both their employees and potential candidates. Throughout the process, there are many opportunities where you will be in front of the recruitment team as well as managers and directors - so remaining presentable and professional throughout helps you to demonstrate your dedication to the role.