Interviews and assessment centres

Tips for how to answer PwC interview questions

30 Oct 2023, 09:59

Read on for an overview of the PwC interview process for its graduate roles and for approaches for answering some of the PwC interview questions you might encounter.

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Jump to: Past PwC interview questions you could be asked

You may face up to three separate interviews before being offered a graduate role at PwC. The first is the pre-recorded PwC video interview. The second could be a video call with a member of staff during the virtual assessment day. Depending on the role, you may be invited to a third and final interview that takes place after the virtual assessment day – the firm, however, doesn’t state whether this is held in person or remotely.

At any one of your interviews, you can expect to be asked motivational questions that assess why you want to work for PwC, behavioural questions that determine how well you match the firm’s core values and competency-based questions that assess your skills against the skills that make up the ‘PwC Professional’ leadership framework. You can learn about the ‘PwC Professional’ framework in our overview of the PwC graduate recruitment process and also on the employer’s website.


Read graduate insights and more advice tailored to landing a job at PwC.

PwC interview questions you are likely to be asked for graduate roles

We can’t tell you exactly what questions you’ll be asked at your PwC interview, but we can talk about questions applicants have faced in the past and offer advice on good approaches to take.

Make sure to research the PwC Professional framework, the graduate role and the organisation’s core values to gain an understanding of the skills and behavioural traits that PwC is looking for. You could use your findings to come up with a list of questions that you might get in addition to the ones we’ve listed below. Practising in advance how you’d respond to each question will increase your chances of interview success.

Jump to a specific question:

PwC interview question 1: Describe a situation in which you’ve had to deal with a difficult person

Approach to take: Imagine, for example, that you were part of the team at PwC working on the case of a gaming retailer who recently went into administration. Hundreds, potentially thousands, of jobs could be lost and you’re attempting to sell at the best price while saving as many jobs as possible. On one side, you’ll have concerned employees, and on the other you’ll have hard-negotiating business people looking to keep the sale price as low as possible.

Bear scenarios like these in mind when selecting your example for this question – try to think of a similar situation where you’ve had to consider the interests of two conflicting groups. Explain the problem you faced and explain how you went about your actions. Don’t complain about the difficult person: you need to show that you were capable of managing the working relationship.

Key thing to remember: Think about the competencies you will be tested on. For example, this question could be an opportunity to demonstrate that you have courage and integrity. But don’t just cite these buzzwords – back them up with evidence.

PwC interview question 2: Describe a problem that you have encountered in your studies or work experience and how you manged to overcome it

Approach to take : A workplace or academic problem could be one of many things – a difficult group-project teammate, struggling to balance university and work commitments, difficulty understanding course material or having a lack of confidence in your part-time job, for example. With your answer, try to choose an example that resembles a situation you might encounter in the graduate role (you’ll need to have researched the role) and show PwC interviewers that you’re someone that focuses on solutions rather than problems by emphasising the measures you took to overcome and successfully resolve a problem rather than the problem itself.

Key thing to remember: There’s a behavioural and competency element to this question. PwC wants to see that you are a problem solver, but is also looking at the way that you approach tackling a problem and that you are resilient enough to see your solution through. Your example should demonstrate your ability to think methodically with an outcome in mind and to then act accordingly. The CAR method will help you to explain your example by giving the c ontext of the situation (in this case the problem), the a ctions you took as an individual and the r esults (that you resolved the problem).

PwC interview question 3: Why do you want to work in this role?

Approach to take : Ask yourself, what is it about the role that interests you and why do you want this position at PwC over another organisation? You’ll need to consider the different aspects of the graduate programme, such as the responsibilities, the type of clients that you’ll work with, how your role fits into the business area and the aims of the business area. Arm yourself with knowledge of client projects relevant to the department you’re applying to (which you can find in the case study directory on PwC’s website) so that you can give specific examples of the type of work that you are excited to get involved in at the firm.

Key thing to remember: PwC interviewers are looking for genuine enthusiasm for working for PwC in this role. They will judge this partly by the amount of research you've carried out into both the role and the organisation, and how you can link your personal career ambitions with what you'd be doing in the role and with the firm's values and work culture. They will also judge this partly by your demeanour and body language.

PwC interview question 4: What are your major achievements to date?

Approach to take: You won’t be able to include everything here – that’s why PwC is asking for ‘major’ achievements. This could be almost anything but don’t go back to your school days (unless you have a unique and outstanding achievement from then). It could be a successful campaign to become a student committee member, winning an essay prize or raising a significant sum for a charity, for example. Almost anything is valid, but don’t be vague. You can work outside the box a little on this one by using a more personal achievement, such as overcoming shyness, as your example. The important thing is that you can put your finger on how you achieved your goal.

Key thing to remember: It’s not enough just to reference a position – you may well have been president of the finance society at your university but, if you can’t give a specific example of a major achievement while in that post, it’s irrelevant. Bear in mind that PwC wants to see evidence of certain competencies, such as adapting quickly to change, so choose examples that show your flexibility.

PwC interview question 5: What was the latest technology you learned, what inspired you to learn it and how has it been useful to you?

Approach to take : The fact that PwC asks how the latest technology you learned has been of use suggests that your inspiration for learning it should be tied to how the technology has been helpful to you. Think about what you were trying to achieve by learning this technology. How has it made your life easier? Did you perhaps learn it to help resolve a problem? For example, have you learned how to create a CV in Adobe InDesign to better your job application prospects? Or have you recently learned how to create spreadsheets in Microsoft Excel in order to record funds raised at university society events?

Key thing to remember: Don’t fret if the latest technology that you learned wasn’t something highly technical such as a computer programming language. The firm isn’t trying to gauge whether you are a technology whiz, but rather that you are technically and digitally oriented (an attribute outlined in the PwC professional framework), that you see the value in and importance of upskilling and learning new technologies and that you do so with specific intentions in mind.

PwC interview question 6: What do you anticipate you will be doing in your first year at PwC?

Approach to take: The groundwork needs to be done first by researching the business area and role and you can do this by heading to the ‘Our business areas’ page of the PwC website. Some of you will be conducting research to help clients rearrange or sell parts of their business as they go into administration. Others will be preparing documentation and presentations on things like sector surveys. Other graduates will be interviewing members of staff for audits of companies. Many of these tasks will overlap, but each will be distinct to divisions and their sub-divisions.

Key thing to remember: Don’t jump the gun and state everything that you want to achieve in your career; you may well also be asked where you see yourself in five to ten years, but that’s not what this question is about. You need to stay focused on what you will be doing day to day in your team – PwC wants to know that you’ve made an informed choice and that you’ll be happy working for the organisation.

PwC interview question 7: Tell us about a time when you led a team

Approach to take: Focus on yourself –applicants often fall down on this question by saying what the team did, rather than what they did. Think about the kind of team you’ll be involved with at PwC – if you’re applying for a role in audit and assurance, you may well be the person in your team who takes responsibility for researching a particular topic. You’ll need to be able to relay your research to colleagues and will sometimes have to take the lead in determining how to apply that research. Is there anything from your background that matches this kind of scenario?

Key thing to remember: Know your CV inside and out!

PwC interview question 8: Tell us about a time when you’ve shown courage or done something out of the ordinary

Approach to take : Think of the cowardly lion from The Wizard of Oz . Courage is not necessarily about fighting off evil hordes in battle armour – it’s about facing something you don’t want to face.

You’ll find in your first years with PwC that you’ll frequently be put into new scenarios and, while this is exciting to some, it can be extremely daunting to others. If, for example, you’re given the task of working through the line items in the accounts of a relatively small firm, you’re likely to find you’re given a broader field of personal responsibility and this will change to some degree for every single company you help to audit.

Go back to times when you’ve been taken out of your comfort zone while at university – perhaps in doing a presentation on a topic you knew nothing about, or taking the lead on a project when you hadn’t been given that kind of responsibility before. You probably found you had the courage all along.

Key thing to remember : ‘Out of the ordinary’ does not have to be something completely bizarre. Think of this more as doing something out of the ordinary for you . When have you had to do something you wouldn’t ordinarily do, given the choice?

If you haven’t already, make sure to create your profile on targetjobs to follow PwC and receive the latest advice, events, vacancies and news from the employer.

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