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Grant Thornton Application and Interview

The application process at Grant Thornton consists of the following:

Online application
Online reasoning tests
First Interview
Assessment Centre

As GT is a smaller firm than those in the Big Four accounting firms, this means that they are not able
to accept as many applicants. Grant Thornton hires 360 students in the UK each year across all
graduate roles, internships, and placements, and they are looking for the following qualities in their

business insight
critical thinking
grows the business
builds business relationships
develops, inspires and influences

Online Application
You will be required to provide the following information in your online application:

Personal details name, address, etc.

Education from secondary onwards, with obtained or predicated grades .
Qualifications GCSEs, A-levels, undergraduate degrees and any other qualifications you
may hold, along with subjects, results and dates provided for all.
Work Experience including names of employers, dates and descriptions of employment,
and knowledge gained.
Free-text questions There will be four short-answer questions, each should be about 250
words. These will ask you to talk about your motivation for applying to Grant Thornton and
your specific division, examples of positions of responsibility that you have held, projects you
have worked on or client service that you have provided, and any extra-curriculars you have
been involved in.

TIP: Keep your answers clear and relevant, and try to demonstrate the qualities listed above in your

Additional Information Anything else you may want to add to provide support to your
application. It is not necessary to fill out this section.
Preferred locations You may select a first and second choice out of 20 UK locations.
CV upload optional.
Note: Each applicant may only apply to one division, and therefore may only submit one application.

Online Testing
After completing your application you will also be asked to complete to online psychometric tests:
one numerical reasoning test and one verbal reasoning test. These tests are provided by Kenexa,
and there is significant time pressure.
The numerical test consists of 20 multiple choice questions which must be answered in 20 minutes,
and many people have found it to be significantly harder than the practice tests suggested by GT.
The verbal test is also 20 minutes long, and the content is business-oriented.
There is no fixed pass mark for these tests, however 65% of people are typically let through. Many
applicants report not completing the numerical test, and passing to the next stage nonetheless.
Focus on getting the correct answer rather than on rushing through all the questions.
You can take practice online aptitude tests and improve your performance for the real thing - click
First Interview
The first interview will in most cases be a conducted as a telephone interview, and will be with an HR
representative. This will last anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes, and will focus mainly on your
background and motivation for applying to GT. There will also be at least two competency based
You will almost certainly be asked the following questions:

Why Grant Thornton? What differentiates it from others?

Why Accounting?
Why this division?
Why this location?
How is the current economic climate affecting GT?
How might it affect specific divisions, and you as a trainee?
Tell me about your work experience
Why do our clients keep coming back to us?
Do you have any questions for me?

TIP: To give a satisfactory answer to these questions, you will need to do serious research into the
company and the services that it provides. You may also be asked what you know about the ACA or
other relevant qualification, particularly if you do not come from a business or finance background,
so be sure you have looked into this as well; employers want to see that you know what you are
getting into.
Examples of competency based questions that might be asked:

Tell me about a time when you solved a difficult problem.

Tell me about a time when you turned a negative into a positive.
Tell me about a time when you used initiative to improve a way of doing things.
Tell me about a time when you demonstrated a flare for business.
Tell me about a time when you led a team.

The interviewers are generally very friendly, and the atmosphere very relaxed, so just be calm and
answer truthfully.
Note: Once you pass the telephone interview, you are entered into a pool of candidates waiting to
attend the next available Assessment Centre. Unfortunately, due to the high number of applicants,
not all candidates who pass the first interview will necessarily be invited to the Assessment Centre. If
all AC slots are filled, pooled candidates may have the option of interviewing for their second choice
of location, however in some cases all positions will have been filled and candidates may not
progress to the Assessment Centre. It is advised to apply early to avoid disappointment.
Assessment Centre
The AC is the final stage of assessment, and lasts 3 or 4 hours. It is not unusual for only two or three
people to be in attendance. The Assessment Centre at Grant Thornton consists of the following

Case study and Partner discussion
Competency based interview
Group exercise

If your AC takes place in the afternoon, you Assessment Day will begin with lunch, with new recruits
in attendance. Though this portion of the day is not technically assessed, it is advised to use this
time to get to know your potential colleagues and ask questions.

Case Study
(Note: The case study is not part of the Assessment Centre for Summer Internship roles.)
You will be given a package of materials which explain your case study, and include a number of
graphs, charts, articles, diagrams, and so forth. You will have 40 minutes to read these over and
prepare for your discussion with a Partner from the firm. You will be given three questions with your
materials that you will need to answer in your Partner Interview.
The individual case study will vary, but will be about a company that GT works with or is hoping to
work with. This company will have a goal or a problem that it is looking to reach/solve. The three
questions you will need to answer are:
1 Identify 3 key challenges that this business faces
2 Come up with some possible solutions to this problem/approaches to this goal, and how
GT could accomplish these.
3 In what other service lines or areas can GT help this client, and establish a long-term
You should not directly use any outside information to complete this task, however your answers
should demonstrate strong commercial awareness and knowledge of Grant Thornton products,
services, and values.
TIP: Read through the material quickly and leave most of your time for preparing your answers, but
do make sure you have understood all the supporting charts and other visual materials.
After you have presented your answers to the Partner, he or she may choose to ask you some
additional questions based on your responses.

Competency Interview
After a short break, you will have a 30-minute competency based interview with a Manager from the
department to which you have applied.
You may be asked some of the same questions that you answered in your telephone interview; it is
perfectly acceptable to repeat your answers. In addition to the questions listed above, you may be
How do you manage your time?
Tell me about a challenging goal you have set for yourself.
Tell me about a time when you went the extra mile for a customer.
Tell me about a time when you made a real difference to a situation.
How do you react when a deadline is pushed forward? Can you give an example?

There may also be a few commercial awareness questions posed in this interview. You will likely be
asked to talk about a current topic in the industry, so prepare to speak at length about one or two
particular issues, such as the Euro-zone crisis or Audit reforms. You should be able to articulate your
own opinion on these topics, and understand how they affect GT.
You can take practice online aptitude tests and improve your performance for the real thing - click

Group Exercise
Your final activity will be a group exercise, so it is a good idea to get to know your fellow candidates
during that day so that you will be more comfortable during this task. You will have 30 minutes to
discuss the scenario that you are given, and then 5 minutes to present your decision as a group.
Be sure to contribute your fair share of valuable ideas to the discussion, but do not speak over
others or dismiss their ideas. You are being evaluated on your ability to work with others just as
much as your solutions.