Deloitte's interview questions explained

Your Deloitte interviewer may play Devil’s advocate.

Below are examples of the kinds of questions you could be asked at different stages of the intern and graduate recruitment processes at Deloitte - and how to show recruiters, in your answers, that you possess the competencies they're looking for. Even if the questions you're asked are different, practising how you'd answer these will be great preparation for your interview.

Why Deloitte?

How to approach the question: Employers always tell students to use examples in their interview answers, and this is no different. You can demonstrate your commercial awareness and career motivation by giving a couple of examples about what Deloitte is currently doing.

The points you make should show that you have thoroughly researched the company – simply referring to Deloitte’s annual turnover or first quarter results doesn’t really say very much and won’t make you stand out from the competition. You can still cite these results, however, as long as you talk about what they mean. Think about other recent developments – for example, what does Deloitte’s launch of a new leadership consulting practice following the acquisition of Kaisen Consulting Limited say about the company? Explain how these developments are relevant to you and your interests.

Don’t say: Anything to do with a ‘strong reputation for excellence’, ‘the chance to work with pioneers in their fields’, ‘working within a true meritocracy’ or anything that sounds equally sycophantic.

Why this service line at Deloitte?

How to approach the question: Think about the actual day-to-day nature of the job you’ll be doing. If you’re working in the restructuring services team as part of the corporate finance service line at Deloitte, then you’ll be doing different tasks than someone in corporate finance advisory – the two run down the same main service line of corporate finance, but you need to talk about the specifics of your particular position within that line.

A very basic answer would be that corporate finance is an area where you can make use of your problem-solving skills. A more detailed answer would be that working in the restructuring services team would mean that you’d have to analyse problems from the perspectives of both Deloitte and the client. An even more detailed answer would then relate those interactions back to things you have already done in your life, either through work or your time at university.

Don’t say: 'I'm not sure about my choice of service line yet.' You need to come across as being decisive and focused on your immediate career.

If you were running Deloitte for a day, what would you do?

How to approach the question: Deloitte is looking for someone who can make and implement clear decisions, and has exceptional planning and organisational skills. You will likely face follow-up questions that challenge your opinions; your interviewer will play Devil’s advocate to make sure you have considered things from every angle.

You could suggest, for example, that you would identify a number of areas for the business in the technology sector. By citing Deloitte’s ‘London Enabling a World Leading Digital Hub’ 2013 report, you can tie your thoughts in line with some of Deloitte's that are already out in the world. If you gave an example like this, you would have to consider the potential impact on Deloitte’s other geographical markets and additional service lines, as well as the long term impact on business development in these areas.

Don’t say: You would make wholesale changes and focus only on one or two markets alone. The example above highlights the technology sector, but remember to think about how your actions here impact on the rest of the business. You can easily fall into the trap of focusing only on what you are interested in, rather than what’s in the best interests of the international business as a whole.

What challenges is Deloitte currently facing?

How to approach the question: This is a particularly fun question because you can really sell yourself in terms of what value you could bring to Deloitte and highlight your commercial awareness. You need to take some company news and spin it around to relate to what you do – for example, Deloitte is currently one of the big auditors going through a restructuring process in China. Just stating that fact isn’t enough: you need then to be able to say, ‘What this means for the company is x’, and even better, ‘This is what it means for the division I’m applying to, and how it might affect things we have to consider here in Britain’.

Don’t say: That the current economic climate makes things difficult for Deloitte. You’ll need to know plenty about local, national and international economics, certainly, but this is the bare minimum – you need to be more specific.

What documents would an auditor check?

How to approach the question: Think about Deloitte’s investigations into the statutory repairs scandal. It’s a highly politicised atmosphere, with Lothian and Borders Police also conducting investigations, so if you were working on this case there would be absolutely no room for mistakes. Who would you need to investigate? What systems would you need to look at? How would you prioritise? You may get a follow-up question, such as: ‘Which of those problems would you tackle first?’

Don’t say: Just a list of the documents involved – you need to explain why you would need to check them, as well.

What does the ACA involve?

How to approach the question: Everyone is going to go to Deloitte’s webpage and note down its content. The problem with this is that Deloitte’s website doesn’t actually provide much information about the ACA qualification, aside from the absolute basics. A more interesting candidate would investigate the providers of the ACA qualification and find out who Deloitte’s specific training partners are. Contracts for this kind of training vary quite a lot in the industry, so it’s useful to keep up to date with the different partnerships. The content of the ACA will always stay the same, but how it is taught and how much personal study is involved will vary, so look into this to help your answer.

The presentation in your Deloitte graduate partner interview

Your presentation is likely to last only about five minutes but it will be a key indicator of your strengths and weaknesses. The topic of the presentation will be revealed to you nearer the time of your interview – you’ll probably only be given the full title a few days before you attend your assessment centre. Often, topics cover recent events that will genuinely affect the work that Deloitte does. It would be fine to bring printed slides or similar to illustrate your points, but remember that assessors will be focusing on the content of what you say rather than the visuals. Keep it simple. Your communication, organisational and problem-solving skills will be on show – consider in advance the kinds of questions you'll be asked on the topic.

Candidates are often given the option to present on a topic of their own choosing, rather than being designated a specific question to answer. As such, you'll need to consider what is most appropriate for your division.

Deloitte graduate partner interview presentation example topic: ‘What are the challenges facing the auditing sector in the UK?’

How to approach: There are a number of things that you can find in the news covering this; perhaps the two most prominent issues are the reputation of the industry, and the recent European reforms which force companies to put their audit out to tender every ten years and to change auditor every 20.

Consider the wider implications of these issues – how will Deloitte's business be affected in terms of winning and keeping contracts if a new bid must be made every ten years? Will this cause issues relating to conflict of interest between clients? How can Deloitte promote a strong image to the public when a firm of its size is an easy target for any bad news that affects the sector as a whole? In particular, think about the increasing concerns over the quality of audit services provided by the 'Big Four' considering the drop in audit revenues in relation to consulting revenues.This is what Deloitte means when it asks you to show commercial awareness – the firm is looking to see whether you can identify the business consequences of a particular event or trend.

It is more than likely that you will have to respond to questions on how some of the points you have made relate to Deloitte and to your particular service line. Be prepared to face close scrutiny of the points you've made - you may well be grilled on your current understanding of issues affecting the business, from the last few days as well as the last few months.

Don’t say: There will be more opportunity to win new contracts, so Deloitte's business will increase. You don't know this for a fact, and will come across as very speculative in your analysis.

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