'Show your personality' and other tips for Mazars' graduate assessment centres
Candidates who pass the first interview stage will be invited to attend an assessment centre at the office they have applied to. The format of the day is typically as follows:
- Written and numerical test
- Group task
- Interview with a partner
This is based around a given scenario, which usually does not have anything to do with accountancy, or even business, and, according to past candidates' experiences, makes for a rather interesting exercise. A previous hypothetical scenario was that a group of people were trapped in an underground cave in danger of flooding or collapsing, and could only be rescued one at a time. Candidates had to assume the role of the rescue committee and decide in which order the people should be rescued. The only information that could be used to aid this decision was a page of information with a biographical paragraph about each individual. Each candidate was given time to read the information before the 30-minute group discussion began. By the end of the exercise the group had to have reached a clear decision. It is essential in this task that candidates can communicate their own point of view as well as acknowledge when others have good ideas.
On the day you'll be given a topic (so you can't prepare for this in advance) and asked to give a short, formal presentation. For help, check out our advice on delivering great presentations.
Interview with a partner or director
Interviews with Mazars partners are strength-based. Additionally, questions might probe your planning, organisational and problem-solving skills, and you may have to reiterate your motivations for applying to Mazars.
This will be an opportunity to ask questions about the firm and find out about the experiences of previous trainees. One previous candidate reported that lunch also involved a presentation from a tutor from a relevant training college, and said that candidates were able to write down and submit any questions they felt too uncomfortable to ask in front of a group.
How to conduct yourself
- Show your personality – Mazars states that, although it is looking for candidates with the necessary skills and experience, personality is considering to be an equally important deciding factor. Interviewers ask themselves: ‘Would I enjoy working with this person, five days a week?’
- Dress appropriately – Mazars takes the view that it is better to be overdressed than underdressed; this shows that candidates are serious about the job on offer.
- Show your interest – Candidates are always given the opportunity to ask questions at the end of any interview. Mazars wants candidates to have researched the company and have at least one thoughtful question to ask.
- Demonstrate the key competencies Mazars is looking for – throughout the day, try to display evidence of your analytical skills, commitment, drive, commercial awareness, flexibility and creativity.