Top tips for applying to BDO

There are three key steps in the BDO graduate application process: the online application, the interactive assessment and the virtual assessment centre. Here are eight quick tips for making your application a success, whatever stage you’re at.

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1. Be prepared

You’ll feel more in control if you know what to expect. You can help to prepare yourself for the BDO recruitment process by:

  • Getting a good night’s sleep. Being well rested will allow you to concentrate better and keep focused.
  • Making sure you know what each stage will involve. Forewarned is forearmed, after all! The interactive assessment will encompass numerical and verbal tests, a behavioural assessment and a video interview, and the virtual assessment day will include tasks such as a group exercise, an individual presentation, an interview and a written exercise.
  • Before you start your online application, make sure you have any supporting documents to hand.
  • Before beginning the interactive assessment and the virtual assessment day, ensure you have a stable internet connection. Find somewhere quiet, where you can concentrate, and let anyone you live with know that you shouldn’t be interrupted.

2. Be mindful of instructions.

Yes, your teachers and parents were right. Following instructions really does pay off. At every stage of the BDO application process (and this includes steps within stages) you’ll find useful instructions – they’re there to help you and keep you on track, so ignore them at your peril! For example, during the interactive assessment, there will be an introduction at the start of each assessment, talking you though the instructions, and you will also receive instructions before your virtual assessment day.

3. Be honest

Honesty really is the best policy when it comes to applying for a graduate role. First of all, ethical behaviour is essential in a professional services context. In addition, if you’re honest, you’ll be able to support your application more effectively as any statements you make (and examples you give) will feel real and authentic, and impress recruiters much more than false statements ever will. Keep in mind:

  • In your online application, include any information you think would be helpful for BDO to know, but don’t be tempted to exaggerate. Keep everything factually accurate.
  • The behavioural assessment will not require any prior knowledge or expertise – the best way to help yourself is to answer the questions as honestly as possible. BDO needs to discover if you’ll be a good fit for it, and vice versa.

4. Be specific

At every stage of the application process, give specific examples that show you have the qualities and skills BDO is looking for. For example, on your application form or during your interview, don’t just say ‘I have emotional awareness (or digital creativity/determination/an ability to learn)’ and leave it at that – make sure you provide an example that demonstrates it. Think of a time when you’ve handled conflict, for example, or supported a team member who was underperforming… you can use examples from part-time jobs, extracurricular activities and university activities/projects.

5. Be careful

You can help yourself by taking care at every stage of the application process. Make sure you:

  • answer each online question fully and correctly
  • take your time when answering questions – BDO’s reasoning tests are time-recorded, not time-limited
  • pay careful attention to the countdown timer on your screen so you can pace your answers during the video interview stage.

6. Be involved

BDO wants to see enthusiastic team players who can work well with colleagues and clients. Demonstrate your enthusiasm for the role and your willingness to work with others by:

  • getting involved in the tasks during the assessment day. During the group exercise, show that you can listen and respond to others, as well as make sure your own points are heard. Use the opportunity to work out if BDO is right for you – if you’re involved it’ll be easier for both you and recruiters to judge this.
  • asking questions when prompted. Asking questions will show that you’re curious about the role on offer and want to learn more. Try not to ask questions that are answered on BDO’s website, however, do your research beforehand!

7. Be BDO ready

  • Certain attributes and behaviours are critical to you achieving your potential at BDO, and it’s most likely that you already possess these to some degree. The key is to demonstrate them throughout the recruitment process. Help yourself to get ready by thinking about your:
  • Business thinking. Can you show that you understand BDO’s business strategy and goals? Read the information on BDO’s website and keep abreast of business news to raise your awareness of the pressures, threats and opportunities for the firm.
  • Communication skills. In your graduate job, it’ll be vital for you to be able to communicate successfully with both clients and colleagues. Many elements of the recruitment process will be looking to see that you can understand, create and share information with others concisely and clearly.
  • Decision making ability. Can you adopt reasoned approaches and agreed processes to choose a course of action that will achieve a desired result? Think about times when you’ve had to make an important decision: how did you go about it, and what was the outcome (ideally a successful one!)?
  • Development of yourself. The group exercise at the virtual assessment centre is a great chance to demonstrate both commitment to your own development, and your ability to support others and help them reach their full potential.
  • Collaboration skills. It’s vital that you can work with others in a way that is mutually beneficial, delivers exceptional service and achieves business goals. Think of times in the past when you’ve worked as part of a team to achieve a goal.
  • Ability to innovate and change. Thinking creatively is essential to BDO’s success. Right from the start, you’ll be encouraged to generate new ideas and approaches. Have you ever come up with a totally new way of doing something? Or solved a problem no one else could?

8. Be yourself.

It sounds obvious, but try to act naturally – during your video assessment and at the virtual assessment centre. BDO wants to get to know your personality, just as you want to understand BDO’s.

Looking for more tips? Check out BDO's early-in-careers advice and watch its 'Tips on how to apply and stand out' webinar , hosted by TARGET jobs.

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