This article explains what you can expect if you are going through PwC’s assessment stages before getting a job with them. It explains what their assessment center is, what happens there, what you should prepare and even some helpful tips.
PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) is one of the largest professional service brands offering a range of services including Tax, Advisory and Assurance. PwC has offices all over the world in 152 countries and is constantly looking for new employees.
Why does PwC use assessment centers?
PwC uses assessment centers as a half or full day event where candidates will complete a range of assessments and activities throughout the day, relating to the role they’ve applied to. Using these centers ensures everyone has the same experience and can complete all of the essential assessments on the same day.
The assessment centers also create an artificial experience of what a day at PwC would be like, demonstrating to candidates and employees how different people respond and react to situations they would face in a typical working day.
What skills is PwC looking for?
Depending on what role you are applying for, PwC looks for a variety of different skills, however, there are generic skills that apply to all positions. The first essential skill all applicants would need is a high level of understanding about PwC and a firm understanding of why they want to work there. This could include knowing specific clients and the current market they are working in.
Teamwork is essential when working at PwC and they want to see that represented at the assessment centers. They focus on how well you negotiate, influence other people, and adapt your thought process to make it suitable for the team.
Another key skill for PwC is communication, they want strong communicators who can express what they want fluently and effectively. This includes verbal and written communication as a large part of the job may include emailing current or prospective clients.
As well as working with others, you must have the skills to lead and manage yourself and the work you are completing. This includes being able to work to a deadline, showing that you’re flexible, and prioritizing work until you have completed the task.
Finally, the key skill PwC looks for is being open-minded. There will be a few out-of-the-ordinary questions and situations where they want to see candidates accepting it openly and acting appropriately instead of panicking.
PwC assessment center format
The PwC assessment center is a half or full day, depending on the position, which consists of multiple activities and exercises which all contribute to the assessment. The tasks test different skills and aim to demonstrate a typical day at PwC
PwC written exercise
One part of the assessment center is the written exercise. For this, you receive a brief about a work-based task, based on the specific role you have applied for. You are then given 30 minutes to read through the material and write a report about the information. The purpose of this task is to find out if you can write concisely and clearly in a logical structure.
A report should consist of an introduction, the main argument, and a conclusion. Throughout the report you must include evidence to back up your arguments, this could be data and figures or facts you’ve found in the brief.
30 minutes is not a long time, but it is recommended to create a plan before writing to ensure you are including everything and staying on track. As the activity is timed, it is also a way of assessing your time management so make sure you have something finished when the timer finishes.
PwC aptitude tests
All candidates will take a range of aptitude tests that best suit the position they are applying for. All applicants, regardless of the role, will complete the situational judgment testwhich is made up of different work-related scenarios with multiple answers. Candidates need to identify the best and worst situation to take based on the information they have. This test can help to identify skills such as leadership, communication, and teamwork.
Other aptitude tests which PwC uses include numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning, and inductive reasoning. These are all more specific for certain roles, but allow candidates to demonstrate their level of specific reasoning by answering multiple-choice questions about a relevant scenario.
PwC in-tray exercise
An in-tray exercise is an assessment that tests a realistic work situation containing multiple demands, requests, and information overload. The purpose of this activity is to see how the candidates will do in a real-life situation.
One example of this may be when you receive a brief about a new client PwC has just signed with, it would explain what they want and their top priorities. You would also receive information about a few colleagues who will be working with you.
With that information known you then will receive an email explaining something has gone wrong and needs to be fixed, how will you respond. Throughout the activity, multiple emails and requests may appear asking for different members of your team or specific jobs where you need to allocate specific people.
In these situations, you are expected to demonstrate leadership and teamwork as well as your understanding of the company and its values. You must also show how you prioritize tasks and manage multiple issues at the same time.
Another part of the assessment center is the presentation. This will be linked to the specific role and will be based on a brief the company gives you. After reading the brief you will create a presentation that will last for ten minutes. After the presentation, there will be ten minutes of questions from the panel as well.
The purpose of the presentation is to demonstrate presentation skills including communication and leadership. It is also a chance to show how to act on specific information including problem-solving skills and adaptability. The information will be relevant to the role so there are lots of opportunities to demonstrate knowledge of the field and how you would work if you were offered the job.
Tips for passing the PwC assessment center
Tip 1: Research, Research, Research
You need to know everything you can about PwC including their clients and current market. Read previous case studies to ensure you are confident in the way they approach their business. On their website, you can also find lots of information about their values and generic company.
Tip 2: Stay Calm.
Throughout the day there are lots of opportunities to demonstrate your abilities, but you must remain calm to ensure you show your best side. If you start to feel stressed or worried your ability to express yourself and think will be affected. Stay calm.
Tip 3: Practice!
There are lots of chances to practice the different activities, especially the aptitude tests. Go online and take some of the practice aptitude tests which suit the specific job role. This could include numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning, or situational judgment. The more you practice the better you will do when it’s the real thing.
Tip 4: Be yourself.
The purpose of the assessment center is to find the best candidate for the job, if you believe that is you then stay true to yourself and answer questions honestly. Don’t try to find what you think they are looking for, just be yourself and show off all the skills you have.
Tip 5: Be organized.
PwC is a huge company and they receive lots of applicants for each role. Make sure you are organized and have everything you need for the assessment center. Be prepared for each type of question and lots of examples to support your statements. Understand the skills you are putting forward and why they will help PwC.