So you’re considering applying to Grant Thornton for a summer internship? You’re drowning under a pile of applications and are about to join a shoal of other applicants in the Grant Thornton pool. But will you make the sift or get caught in the net? Metaphors aside, how do you create an impressive application? Summarising yourself and all you have to offer in online tests and word-limited prose is a daunting task. So, read on potential applicants, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
When you’re applying, don’t go into it thinking all you need to do is show academic ability. That’s denoted by your school and university results as well as scores in the online tests. Tell them what makes you unique. Push your extracurricular activities, anything that involves working as a team is a winner. Grant Thornton consider how well you integrate into the existing team, so work with that in mind and show them how good you are at doing that already. Prove that you are a well-rounded person. Of course academic achievement is important but, what really sets you apart is what else you have to offer. Anything outstanding you have taken part in that has given you certain skills which others may not be armed with. Sell yourself!
After the initial application? Online tests. Ahh the online tests. The formality of verbal and numeric reasoning is often scorned, but not one to be taken lightly. The only answer here, I’m afraid, is practice. There are loads of practice tests available at the simple click of a search engine button. No shortcuts available, just take your time in becoming familiar with the question formats and working to the time limits. Practice makes perfect! I realise some of you may not be studying a numeric based degree, so you’ll be grateful of the refresher. And the maths isn’t overly taxing – you don’t need A-level maths to puzzle these out. Common sense and a deal of practice questions will without doubt suffice.
So you arrive at the next hurdle, the telephone interview. The first stage of the application process which requires actual contact with someone at Grant Thornton, therefore, your first chance to make a good impression. Panic not, take heed of the following. The interviewer is not, never, under any circumstances trying to trip you up – they just want to find out more about you and your motivation for your application. They want you to succeed, and they aren’t scary. Be relaxed, be personable, show how easily you can build rapport and create relationships with new people. Make it a memorable conversation. Think of your reasoning behind wanting to join Grant Thornton and what sets it apart from competitor firms. Consider what the CLEARR values mean to you and the importance of the quality of training. Read a Spilling the Beans blog which you found interesting? Talk about it. Mull over why you’ve decided on your particular service line, what makes this your preference? You may be asked for examples of when you’ve demonstrated organisational skills, good time management, working well as part of a team. Why not make some notes to reduce your ‘ermmm’ time? And if you want a second to consider the question, just say so. It’s easier to explain your silence and come up with a better example than fill it will an ‘erm’.
You have successfully passed the telephone interview – congratulations! Now you are through to the next stage – the assessment day. This is your chance to meet and impress the people who hold the key to your career. No pressure, then! Think of this day as your chance to talk about your achievements, show what you have learnt about the firm and get a real impression about life at Grant Thornton. Not sure what to wear? Formal is the best way because first impressions count. May I suggest a well pressed suit? So, the assessment itself. There cannot be enough emphasis impressed upon my next word: research. Don’t underestimate this. Do it, lots of it. Research Grant Thornton, research your service line, research all service lines. Even research some competitor firms – it’ll give you chance to compare, meaning that you will genuinely know why Grant Thornton is unique. Being fully prepared is the only way to enter any interview, telephone or otherwise. General questions about the firm can and most probably will be asked. Be prepared, as well, for a group task. Being put into a group with people you’ve never met before in order to formulate a solution for a business problem gives you a brilliant opportunity to show teamwork, confidence and your business knowledge. Don’t be afraid to share your ideas and start discussions within the group. Identify key issues and put those forward. What is important is that you find the balance between confident and overbearing. Take the lead but don’t trample others. Encourage others team members to contribute to the discussion. Grant Thornton values leadership and those who take responsibility, but also respect for others and their opinions.
Take this advice into consideration, from those who’ve been there and bought the t-shirt. Be personable, be diligent and make the most of this opportunity. Good luck!