Skills and competencies

Key competencies you need to demonstrate when applying to WTW, and why you will need these in your working life

21 Jun 2023, 15:42

You might have heard the word competencies to describe what an employer is looking for in its workforce and on its graduate programmes. So why are these skills, abilities and behaviours important for the role you’re applying for at WTW? Early careers recruitment manager Cathryn Rousell explains.

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Each of the competencies that we look for at WTW at the hiring stage is a key skill that we want to see within our colleagues across our entire business. They are really important skillsets to have when you are working. Here’s what we are looking for.


At WTW we work on client projects, so you have to be able to communicate the status of those projects within your team and to your line manager and also with clients. Are you comfortable talking to people outside the company in order to drive those results?

That competency leads into…

Team orientation

You may find yourself working on one aspect of a project on your own but you will be there as part of a team. You could all be feeding your work into each other’s contributions, or you may be pairing up on a piece of research and that’s where you’ll need…


We want people who are able to deliver a task. Of course you will be supported and given training and guidance; you will have mentors and your colleagues to draw on but ultimately we need to know you are dependable. We want to know you will get on with the tasks you have been set. That is all about the trust factor.

Drive for results and initiative

When we are solving problems and challenges for our clients, we are looking to guide them to success. So we look for innovative approaches, whatever these problems may be. Driving for high level results comes down to professional excellence. We want things to be correct and complete and to ensure all the work that we do is of the highest standards. That way we stand out to our clients. A high level of results focus is important, alongside initiative.

Willingness to learn

This is not just about your willingness to study for professional qualifications or learn a specific skill but about being open and receptive to feedback. If you are able to adapt and take feedback onboard that will drive your work and results towards excellence. As an organisation we live and breathe on feedback in order to improve continuously. This supports both our own business and that of our clients as well. People who are willing to learn are successful. We know that when people are set in their ways and are not willing to adapt their processes or to learn something new they are less successful.

Problem solving

People from different backgrounds take different approaches to problem solving and have differing thought patterns. We look for cognitive diversity in our graduates to add new facets to solving the problems we encounter. That way we can come up with the right solutions for our clients. Showing your problem-solving skills when you go through an assessment centre process will give us an indication of how you build relationships, how you structure tasks and how you evaluate problems. Many of our graduate recruits join us at analyst level, working on data sets, supporting our client consulting teams. Your role may be gathering information on behalf of the team and it’s really important to be able to do that. Another factor is resilience because change can happen overnight – think about the changes in the financial markets recently and the effect of the mini-budget, for example. Your problem-solving capabilities need not only to be proactive but at times to be reactive.

Planning and prioritisation

You might see this as just managing your workload but planning and prioritising is also about the ability to say no when you need to. Of course we want people to be organised, and to know we can depend on them to get on with the work they have. But sometimes you need to be able to say, “I’d like to be involved in this line of work but I can’t pick this up today, so no.” Being able to look at the work you have and prioritise is an important competency. You will also need to show flexibility. We all have our contracted hours but there are bound to be times where a flex is needed, to stay a bit later or come into the office a bit earlier, because a client’s needs have changed. You wouldn’t be doing this alone, but being able to plan and prioritise your work and being able to flex, while also maintaining a balance for wellbeing, is key.’

Find out more about how to answer competency-based interview questions .

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