If you're planning to interview with one of the Big 4 professional firms—Deloitte, EY, KPMG, PwC—you likely know that you'll have to answer questions about your strengths and weaknesses, as well as field a number of so-called behavioral questions.
These behavioral questions typically begin with the phrase "Tell me about a time ..." and most often cover your ability to lead, deal with conflict, work on teams, work within tight time constraints, and deal with failure. And so, to nail any Big 4 interview, you'll most certainly need airtight answers to these questions.
In addition, you'll now need airtight answers to a host of other "Tell me about a time ..." questions.
Recently, we surveyed several thousand Big 4 professionals, asking them about life at their firms. One question we asked had to do with interview questions. And below are 11 new behavioral questions that Big 4 professionals told us their firms are now asking their interviewees.
1. Tell me about a time you set a goal in one of your previous positions and the steps you took to achieve it.
2. Tell me about a time when you had to manage conflicting priorities and still exceed someone's expectations.
3. Tell me about a time you used technology to effectively complete a task or analysis.
4. Tell me about a time you had to be a problem solver and the methods you used to solve the issue.
5. Tell me about a time you were proactive in soliciting performance feedback from a mentor or client.
6. Tell me about a time you enthusiastically led a work team through a major change initiative.
7. Tell me about a time you had to analyze data and present it to a group. How did you get the data, analyze it, and what was the outcome?
8. Tell me about a time you had to adapt to real change in your life.
9. Tell me about a time you had to influence others' opinions on a project or work situation.
10. Tell me about a time you went out of your way to learn.
11. Tell me about a time when you had to think on your feet. What was the outcome?
Of course, chances are slim that you'll receive all of these questions in one Big 4 interview. Still, it's going to be a good idea, if you are interviewing with a Big 4 firm, to make sure you prepare answers for each of these questions.
Here's how to go about dointg that: First, take a few minutes to think about a real time that you experienced each situation (never make up your answer; always base it on fact). Second, take a few minutes to collect your thoughts about what you honestly did in each circumstance (visualize yourself in that situation and try to recall all the details involved, what happened, what you did, the outcome, etc.). Third, take a few minutes to practice your response to each question (you can do this aloud or in your head).
Finally, remember that it's always better to over-prepare than under-prepare. And that this is especially true when it comes to interviewing.