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In this article, we’ll discuss:
- KPMG’s values and culture.
- The KPMG recruiting process.
- The KPMG fit interview.
- The KPMG case interview.
- 4 tips for acing the KPMG case interview.
Let’s get started!
KPMG’s Values & Culture
KPMG’s purpose and values are incredibly important and are put front and center in KPMG’s culture.
“Heads Up Thinking” is KPMG’s vision for the way they work. This means looking people in the eye, making connections, and collaborating on ideas. It means staring down challenges, facing them with candor and courage.
During the recruiting process, it’s expected that you understand the KPMG values and have considered why you’re a good fit for their culture.
Behavioral interviews are given more weight at KPMG than other big firms as finding a good fit between the business and new recruits is so important.
The KPMG values are:
- Integrity. We do what is right.
- Excellence. We never stop learning and improving.
- Courage. We think and act boldly.
- Together. We respect each other and draw strength from our differences.
- For Better. We do what matters.
Make sure you consider the KPMG values in every question that you answer. Talk about how the values appeal to you and give examples of how you feel your past actions align well with the KPMG culture.
For example, perhaps you were asked to lead a complicated project with a diverse team. Explain how you learned about, recognized, and leveraged the strengths of the group to deliver a successful outcome.
Or perhaps you’ve had an experience where you had to act with courage even though it was difficult.
Maybe you had to call out the behavior of a team member or line manager because you knew it was the right thing to do. Or maybe you pointed out a flaw in a process even though that was the way it’d always been done.
Showing that you can act with integrity even when it’s challenging is an important attribute of a successful KPMG consultant.
KPMG is not striving to be the biggest professional services firm, but its goal is to be the best professional services firm. They see living their values as a significant differentiator from other firms and believe it adds value for their clients.
The KPMG Recruiting Process
The KPMG recruiting process has 3 stages:
- Digital assessment
- Video interview
To start the KPMG recruiting process, search the job listings on their website.
You have to apply for a specific post and location so make sure to do your research on the locations and roles that interest you upfront.
If you’re unsure where to apply, you can reach out directly to a KPMG recruiter or attend one of KPMG’s virtual events.
KPMG says the application process should take around 10 minutes. Students will need a current resume and their college transcript. Application deadlines are shown for each job individually and you can only interview for one role at a time.
Nail the case & fit interview with strategies from former MBB Interviewers that have helped 85% of our clients pass the case interview.
KPMG Pymetrics Assessment
As part of the application process, you’ll be invited to complete a digital assessment created by Pymetrics. This consists of 12 gamified exercises that assess your suitability for KPMG.
It should take around 25 minutes to complete and there are no right or wrong answers. The Pymetrics assessment judges the cognitive, social, and emotional attributes of candidates against the attributes of successful KPMG consultants. After completing the assessment, the results are shared with you.
For more information on Pymetrics’s digital assessments, check out the article we wrote about what to expect on the Pymetrics test and how BCG uses Pymetrics to assess its candidates.
For more helpful hints, check out this article we wrote on how to prepare for online consulting tests.
If you are successful with the digital assessment, you will be invited to move on to the interview process. You will need to tackle at least 2 live video interviews with KPMG practice leaders as part of this stage.
Both behavioral and case interview questions should be expected. For more information, check out our article on acing video interviews.
The KPMG Fit Interview
Given how strongly KPMG values fit, expect to be asked behavioral questions in at least one, if not both, video interviews.
Behavioral questions are used because recruiters believe how you acted in the past gives a strong indication of future behaviors. This offers them insight into how you might tackle challenging situations within a work environment.
Fit questions often start with the phrase, “Tell me about a time when” or “Give me an example of.”
Typical KPMG Behavioral Interview Questions
- Why KPMG? Why Advisory? Unsurprisingly, given their emphasis on cultural fit, KPMG will expect candidates to have strong reasons for both applying to KPMG and their chosen practice area.
What made you choose KPMG over other firms?
What is it about Advisory that most interests you?
What are the key strengths you would bring to the Advisory practice?
- Teamwork. One of the KPMG values is “Together” so they’ll want to understand how you work within a team.
While it’s important to recognize and appreciate the different approaches of team members, you’re also expected to “do what’s right.” This might involve challenging other team members who aren’t pulling their weight.
Example KPMG questions:
Tell me about a time you had to manage an ineffective team member.
What would you do if your team members weren’t focused on delivering quality work?
Tell me about a time where you had to demonstrate flexibility in your approach.
Describe your most successful effort in promoting teamwork within a group.
- Personal history. KPMG is particularly interested in you as an individual, what experiences you’ve had to date, and how that’s shaped who you are.
They want to know how your past has influenced you, what you’ve learned from it, and how it’s brought you to where you are now. The recruiting team will be looking for candidates who are self-reflective and able to articulate what they’ve learned both from positive and more challenging past experiences. This is part of their value of “Excellence.”
Example KPMG questions:
Tell me about yourself.
Tell me about something impactful you’ve done that’s not on your resume.
What classes have you taken and how have they influenced your career path?
Tell me about someone you consider a mentor and how they’ve shaped your career.
Describe a situation where your work or idea was criticized. How did you respond?
- Motivation. KPMG works hard to keep its employees engaged and promote an effective work-life balance. However, the work is still demanding and KPMG needs its people to be goal-oriented and resilient.
The recruiting team will be looking for individuals who offer examples of self-motivation, hard work, and diligence. They’ll also be on the lookout for those that can pick themselves up after something hasn’t gone to plan and use disappointment to motivate themselves to achieve.
Example KPMG questions:
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Give me an example of a time you failed and its effect on you.
Describe a goal that you’ve set for yourself over the past year.
What do you consider your greatest accomplishment and how did you achieve it?
How to Tackle KPMG Behavioral Interview Questions
In answering behavioral questions, talk honestly and authentically.
KPMG suggests building an “elevator pitch” to describe your personal history and answer the question, “Tell me about yourself.”
This is a short 20–30 second speech describing a few relevant pieces of information about you, your history, and how your history has shaped your aspirations for the future.
Answer behavioral questions using stories. Stories are more engaging and relatable and allow more of your personality to shine through.
Make sure you explain the emotional elements of your examples — how you felt and what impact that had — not just the bare facts. Remember to show the learning you’ve taken from events that have happened and how it’s influenced your career path.
A framework such as the A STAR(E) model can be helpful for structure your answers.
For more information and extra tips read our article on successfully tackling behavioral questions.
The KPMG Case Interview
KPMG is a large professional services firm. The format and technical nature of the KPMG interview are dependent on the practice area you are applying for. For Advisory applicants, this will be a case interview.
What Is a Case Interview?
A case interview is a discussion of a business problem between a candidate and interviewer. They typically cover problems that are similar to those the company sees their clients struggle with. Case interviews are used to assess problem-solving ability, creativity, and business acumen in candidates.
Sales of drinks in Coffee Bean cafes are decreasing. What is causing the sales decrease?
Turnover of store employees at Burger R’Us restaurants has increased over prior years. What would you advise the company to do?
You need to offer a solution to the given problem using logical reasoning. There may well be data provided in the form of charts or graphs that you’ll need to interpret and use to give weight to your solution.
While you should expect a conventional case (market sizing questions or profitability questions, etc.) in all KPMG Advisory interviews, be prepared to expand on relevant technical drivers depending on the specific area you’re applying to. For example, value-chain analysis if you’re applying to the Operations Advisory practice.
What Is the KPMG Case Interview Format?
At the moment, KPMG is recruiting predominantly through video interviews. However, this may change back to face-to-face interviewing this fall.
KPMG case interviews are candidate-led and positioned as a dialogue between the candidate and the recruiting team — as if you were working as part of a team to prepare for a client presentation.
Once the problem is presented, you’re given time to work through supporting information and prepare your thoughts. After that, you’ll offer a recommendation to the recruiting team and answer follow-up questions.
To tackle any case interview, use a 4-part approach:
- Opening – Make sure you’re clear on the problem that the client is facing.
- Structure – Brainstorm all the relevant aspects of the problem and organize your thoughts about how to tackle the case to ensure you cover everything in a logical manner.
- Analysis – Gather and analyze all the relevant data, prioritizing factors that will be most important to the client. Use this data to create a recommendation.
- Conclusion – Deliver your recommendation to the client (the recruiting team) in a well-thought-out and persuasive manner.
4 Tips on Acing the KPMG Case Interview
1. Opening: Understand the Problem
Ask clarifying questions about the client’s problem, including about any specific goals (e.g., increase revenues by at least 10% or have a payback period of 3 years or less.)
Reflect back to the recruiting team what you believe the problem to be to make sure you’ve understood it correctly. You don’t want to waste time coming up with an answer to the problem you think they want to solve — or one you wished you’d been asked!
2. Structure: Take Your Time When Organizing Your Approach to the KPMG Case
We get it! You can feel under a lot of pressure during a case interview, especially if there’s a lot of information to sift through.
Make sure you take the time to clearly plan how you’re going to tackle solving the problem.
Using business frameworks can be a helpful way to organize your thoughts and can help you decide what data you want to concentrate on. An issue tree is another way to structure your thinking.
Check out our article on how to use business frameworks effectively for more information.
3. Analysis: Take the Interviewer through your Structured Approach Step-by-Step
Consulting interviewers are looking for structured problem solvers. Take the approach to solving the case that you’ve developed and lead the interviewer through it, sign-posting as you transition from one step to the next. Explain your thinking at each step along the way.
You might receive data relevant to the case question requiring further analysis. If so, structure any math calculations and walk your interviewer through those as well.
4. Recommendation: Be Clear and Confident
Plan the key points that you want to make during your presentation to the recruiting team.
Cover the main highlights from any data you were given that has shaped your analysis. Then clearly present your recommendation for the next steps.
Make sure that you also point out any risks associated with the recommendation and any assumptions you’ve made.
For more information check out our step-by-step guide on case interview preparation.
Does KPMG Use Written Cases?
Before the shift to video interviews, many candidates also had to complete a written case as part of the KPMG interview process.
Even though KPMG is currently using video interviews, this may change, so it’s worth checking with your local recruiting team and preparing for a written case if you’re unsure.
A written case is similar to a verbal case interview. Recruiters are still interested in your ability to solve business problems by thinking clearly and logically. Information is presented via a pack of slides containing charts, graphs, text, or photographs.
You’ll have to sift through the information to find relevant and compelling data that helps answer the problem presented. Then you’ll need to create 3-5 slides that provide a clear recommendation for the client.
You will then present those slides to the recruiting team and take questions.
For more information, see our article on tackling written cases.
In this article, we’ve covered:
- The importance of KPMG’s values and culture.
- How the KPMG recruiting process works.
- How to tackle the KPMG behavioral interview.
- How to prepare for the KPMG case interview.
- Our top tips for KPMG interview success.
Still have questions?
If you have more questions about the KPMG case interview, leave them in the comments below. One of My Consulting Offer’s case coaches will answer them.
Other people prepping for KPMG case interview found the following pages helpful:
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