You should know how to answer questions using the STAR method and why you're interested in EY as opposed to the other Big Four firms. The employees at EY tend to be more relaxed so it's common for interviews to feel more like conversations.
Typically, consulting companies will organize their interviews into three rounds:
Informational – why are you interested in consulting? what are your near-term goals? why this company? etc.
Behavioral – tell me about the time when…
Case – review and analyze a business case, and provide your recommendations
Be sure you have clear and concise answers for #1; consider different professional examples you can draw from for #2, and spend a significant portion of your time preparing for #3.
I would suggest that you highlight skills like analytical ability, time management, communication and teamwork, adaptability and flexibility on your resume, as these are the most important transferable skills that consulting companies look for, in my opinion.
This is a tough question, but candidates need to make sure that they stand out, and have experience working with clients is a plus. Honestly, getting the interview is 80% of the battle, and the interview is just to confirm that the person described in the resume is a legitimate description of themselves. One thing I would say definitely helped me was client experience. One of my interviews was with a manager who makes the teams and he was very impressed that I had that experience and said it would make his job easier knowing that he could send me out to client sites and trust me.
I did not have any experience in accounting when I was offered my internship at EY. With my interviews, I highlighted my work experience, most notably my shift lead role at a fast food company where I was employed at the time of my interview, and my enthusiasm to work for EY. Be outgoing and ask many questions and that will go a long way.
Interviews are just conversations, so don't get too worked up about them. It's good to show the interviewer that you've done your homework on the firm and its culture, as this demonstrates that you're serious about EY. The Big Four are probably more alike than not, so they try hard to differentiate themselves. Look into how EY differentiates itself, and explain in your interview why you find its strategy both personally and professionally attractive.
- Attention to detail in any job is important, but is extremely crucial in the accounting field.
- Taking initiative: there are going to be days when it will appear as if you have nothing to do. Always ask among the team you are placed with or around the office if anyone needs help with anything.
- Communication and listening skill
Ernst & Young values your ability to work successfully on a team. You should highlight your ability to be team player. Additionally, you should demonstrate your ability to learn quickly as projects and roles change often.
EY wants interns with a wide array of experiences. They want people who are willing to engage and learn in a variety of different subjects and fields. While you should have some knowledge of accounting, they recognize that everyone is coming from different schools and different points in their schooling. Therefore, EY will utilize the internship to help you learn and discover accounting. Additionally, as a client based industry, it is helpful for their employees to know about various fields and to be effective communicators of ideas and processes.
Any tips on what I should know before an interview at EY? This is not a position a lot of people stay in for a long time because it is very time-intensive. A typical week for an audit assistant during high season (January through May) is 70+ hours a week. All you really need to show is that you are willing to work really hard, that you have some logical common sense (tested through IQ and math tests) knowledge, and have knowledge of accounting. The hardest part is passing the test, after that is just formality in my experience because they always lack people.