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The Undergraduate's Guide to the Big Four Interview

The Undergraduate's Guide to the Big Four Interview

Dona DeZube, Monster Finance Careers Expert

If you’re looking to sign on with a Big Four accounting firm after graduation, a solid grade-point average, leadership in extracurriculars and internship experience will all put you in good position. But to land the job, you’ll need to nail a competitive, complex interview process.

Interviewing at one of the Big Four — Deloitte & Touche USA, Ernst & Young, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) — differs for recent college graduates and experienced hires. This advice will help you maximize the process as an entry-level job seeker.

Practice Early

Ernst & Young, For students, some firms start the interview process as early as sophomore year. “By the time we interview juniors and seniors, we’ve met many of them,” says Dan Black, Ernst & Young’s campus recruiting leader.

Check company Web sites for special events, campus visits and summer internships. KPMG alone hires about 1,500 interns a year.

During senior year, submit your resume directly to the company or through your school’s career center. Companies typically look for a GPA of at least 3.0. Don’t overstate your credentials on your resume.

If Big Four recruiters don’t visit your school, check company Web sites to find out how to apply. Having an alum or other contact submit your resume will get you considered faster, Black says.

First Impressions Count

If you make the first cut, you’ll be called for an on-campus interview. You’ll be judged on appearance, so wear a dark suit with a conservative shirt. Men need a tie. No flip-flops, sneakers or nonearlobe piercings, please. Arrive early, because showing up even a minute late reflects poorly on you, Black says.

All four firms do behavioral interviews. “We ask them to explain scenarios where they’ve had to produce results for clients,” says Amy Van Kirk, PwC’s campus recruiting director. Blane Ruschak, KPMG’s national director of campus recruiting, says strong candidates will give examples gleaned from their experience as chairs or committee heads for campus activities.