Accenture Interview Tips – What to Expect and 8 Tips on How to Prepare Yourself
So you decided to try to get a consulting job at Accenture. You sent in the application and now it is here, the Accenture interview.
This article will tell you what to expect during the interview process for management and IT consulting jobs, give you advice on how to prepare, and give you specific pieces of info such as interview questions and actual Accenture tests that you can practice on.
What Accenture Looks for in Candidates
These are some of the things Accenture look for in career candidates.
- University Degree
This is a must, but what you studied is less important, especially in the management consulting work force.
- Fluent English
- Working capacity – Working hours are very long at Accenture, you need to be a person who can work hard without burning out.
- Motivation – You should be the type of person who reach for high goals.
- Interpersonal skills – Teamwork, leadership potential, and persuasion.
- Analytical abilities – Logical thinking in general and MS Excel knowledge are skills-to-pay-the-bills at Accenture.
- Writing skills – While you don’t need to have the oral presentation skills of Eddie Murphy or Jim Carrey, writing skills are a plus, for all those reports that need to be written.
The Accenture Interview Process
The process of interviewing at Accenture always varies slightly depending on country and practice.
Most often you will be asked to interview on 1-3 different occasions. You can also expect some type of recruiting test. The process will look something like this:
You can expect some of the following phases:
- Introduction interview (sometimes done over the phone) with a recruiter or a manager
- Group exercise with other candidates, where Accenture professionals observe your collaboration and roles when solving a case.
- Recruitment tests (described below)
- Interviews with consultants, managers, or senior managers from the department where you would be working
- Case interview (for management consulting positions)
- Technical interview (for IT consulting positions)
- Final interview with a Managing Director (MD) – This is when you get a job offer.
The InterviewMost of the interviews will cover:
- Introduction: A friendly and informal conversation to break the ice. The interviewer usually tells you a bit about his or her own background and the department where he works.
- Assessment: Questions about you and your competency.
- Case study (management consulting) or technical question (IT consulting).
- Questions about Accenture.
Typical Interview Questions
Expect the following questions, and prepare your answers to them, in a way that you show your interviewer that you are Accenture material.
- Tell us about yourself
This question is your golden opportunity to set the agenda for the interview. When searching for a job, you should always have an elevator pitch or introduction. If you have five things that you think will impress the interviewer, then memorize your elevator pitch where you talk about those five things. Try to keep your pitch short (max 2 minutes).
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
It is custom to name about three strengths, and perhaps two weaknesses. A good way to answer this question is to start with two strengths, then name your weaknesses and finish on a positive note with another strength.
Make sure your strengths are relevant to what Accenture looks for, e.g. ambitious, analytic, great leader, good at presentations.
- What does leadership mean to you?
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
- Tell me about your internship at XYZ Corporation.
If you do a so called “behavioral interview” you should expect this type of questions:
- Tell me about an experience where you had to take on a leadership role.
- Tell me about a time when you had to use logical thinking, an what was the outcome.
- Tell me about an occasion when you had to resolve a complex problem in a team.
Expect to be asked about your behavior for the typical consulting skills: leadership, team work, conflict resolution, analytic skills, structuring a problem, motivating others, meeting a deadline, etc.
Accenture specific questions:
- Why should we hire you?
- There are many consulting firms out there, why do you want to work for Accenture?
Do You Want The Job?
Most candidates are too nervous and too concerned with actually getting the job offer, to ask themselves if they actually want the job.
Interviewing, especially for consulting firms, is a bit like a game. You want to win the game, i.e. get a job offer. Consulting firms are experts into making it into a game. It is a challenge and if you pass it, you might be so excited that you forget to ask yourself if it is the correct job for you.
You should always try to get job offers from at least two companies, so that you can make a choice.
First of all, do some hard thinking about what you want in life and in your career.
- Nice colleagues?
- Stimulating tasks?
- Good pay?
Do your research. Ask questions during the interview (this will also show that you have a sincere interest). Talk to former Accenture employees. Search on the Internet for employee reviews.
Beware: Accenture is known to fake employee reviews online. What they do is to let HR employees write a large amount of positive interviews per day on different career sites, pretending to be very satisfied employees.
Don’t take everything the recruiters tell you at face value – they get paid for you to make certain decision. And they are experts at this.
You need to think about what is best for you.
How to Prepare for an Accenture Interview
Here are eight tips for preparing for your interview with Accenture:
Tip #1: Learn about the company
Some topics to read up on are:
Time investment: 0.5 – 2 hours
Tip #2: Prepare answers to the most common interview questions
If you are searching for a job actively you should practice interviewing a lot.
Write down the most common interview questions and some bullet points of what your answer is for each question. To not sound too rehearsed and to be able to remember it all – just write down the key things you want to say.
Investing 10-20 hours or more on this during your entire job hunt is not unrealistic. You need to know your strengths, your elevator pitch, etc. by heart. For each different type of company you should consider how your answers might change.
You need to be ready to talk about everything that is on your resume (each work experience, education, extra curricular activities, etc.).
When talking about a job experience in an interview you can use the STAR framework. This is a way to structure your answer to be clear and concise and appear as a star.
- Start with describing the Situation,
- mention what your Task and responsibilities were,
- what Actions did you take that makes you a star that they should hire,
- and finally what were the Results.
Always talk about the results you accomplished in an interview.
Time investment: 1 – 3 hours (to adapt your answers to the Accenture interview)
Tip #3: List your skills and the reasons a consulting firm should hire you
You need to now what you can do for Accenture. If you don’t know yourself, how can you convince your interviewer? It is recommended to have at least three reasons that the firm should hire you.
For each reason you should have a “reason to believe” and perhaps some details.
|Interviewer:||So tell me, why should Accenture hire you as an analyst?|
Well, I have a good mix of analytical skills and people skills.
For one thing, I am very analytical and structured. In my last internship I created an Excel model for the company’s bonus system. I understand Excel work is a large part of the job as an analyst.
On the other hand, I have good leadership and team working skills. In college I was almost always the person who took charge and organized our group assignments. But I have no problems taking my assigned role in a team, and I look forward to learning from more experienced colleagues.
|Interviewer:||Yes, I believe those are good skills for consultants. Anything else you’d like to add?|
I’m also a very hard worker. I’m a very motivated person and I thrive when there is a deadline to meet. I don’t know, I just find it exciting when there is some time pressure.
Hell, I’m even excited about pulling “all-nighters”. Hopefully for many years to come so I won’t get distracted by having a personal life. This makes me think I would be a great Accenture employee.
Ok, perhaps that last part is not a good thing to say in an interview.
If you are uncertain what your personal skills are, an excellent book that also comes with a skills test is StrengthsFinder 2.0.
Time investment: 1-3 hours
Tip #4: Prepare 4-5 questions to ask your interviewer
Show your interest by asking some good questions, and get to know the firm at the same time.
Some things you might like to ask your interviewer:
- How does staffing work at Accenture?
- What would my first project be?
- If I’m unstaffed and Accenture has a project in my field coming up in two – three weeks, would I be staffed on that project or something else to just get me chargeable as fast as possible?
- How would you describe the culture at Accenture?
- What was your favorite project?
Everyone loves to talk about themselves, and Accenture people love to talk about their past project experiences. It’s an excellent opportunity to connect with the interviewer.
- How are promotions decided in Accenture?
- What kind of projects do you have in my field of interest?
Usually you get a chance to ask questions as the end of the interview, but it is a good thing if you can make the discussion into a pleasant conversation rather than just answering questions.
Time investment: 0.5 hours
Tip #5: Practice “IQ tests”
You should expect some so called “personality testing”, a.k.a. “computer-based testing”, “recruiting test”, “in-tray test” or “aptitude test”. This is not really about your personality, but rather something like an IQ test.
Since the process varies between different Accenture offices, you should ask what tests, if any, you would be doing.
You should not be too nervous about this, though, you don’t need to score 100%.
The secret to scoring well is to do it fast. There’s usually a tight time limit and you normally won’t make it through all questions so just work through them as quickly as possible.
And the good news is that you can prepare for this. There can be a huge difference in your score depending on how much you prepare for each test.
You can prepare with similar test (e.g. math test, riddles, brainteasers) and study for half a day the day before the interview. Your brain will be in “testing mode” when you get to the real test.
Some example tests:
- Aptitude Test used by Accenture (Pdf, 120Kb)
- Analytical Reasoning Test used by Accenture (Pdf, 95Kb)
Time investment: 2-5 hours
Tip #6: For management consulting: Practice case interviews
If you are applying for a management consulting position, you will likely do one or more cases. IT consulting candidates don’t do business cases.
Cases are a less important part of the interview process at Accenture compared to other management consulting firms.
In general, solving a case is about showing that you can divide a problem into smaller parts and solving each part separately.
You should also show your logical thinking, and that you can talk to the interviewer about the problem.
The first time you do a case, it can be quite difficult, but once you have practiced a few times, it gets a lot easier.
A great way to get good at case interviews is to get a book on case interviews and practice with a fellow job seeker.
Time investment: 10-30 hours
Tip #7: For IT consulting: Practice for the technical interview
For IT consulting positions, you might be tested on your coding abilities.
This can mean discussing a code or writing a very short function on a white board or paper.We recommend reading Cracking the Coding Interview or another book on the topic of coding interviews.
Time investment: 10-30 hours
Tip #8: Make an evaluation sheet for yourself
If you just graduated from college or are about to do so, a good aim might be to get interviews with 10-15 companies (depending on the economy of course) and get job offers from 2-4 companies.
This means you will have to choose employer.
You should list the aspects that you believe are important to you in an future employer, for example working tasks, culture and atmosphere, working hours, friendly co-workers, professional development, possibility to influence your projects and tasks, salary, benefits, etc.
Evaluate each company on your factors and perhaps assign a relative importance to each factor.
You can calculate a total score for each employer if you want. However, for many people this is just an indicator or a way to process the decision. In the end it is the gut-feeling that decides.
Beware tough, you should have a minimum level set for yourself. Would you for example work at a firm where people don’t seem nice? Are you interested in working 80 hours per week?
Accenture is a well-oiled recruiting machine and one of their tactics is to give job offers very quickly. You might end up having an offer from Accenture before other companies have finished their recruiting processes. You might be tempted to accept the first offer you get. This might be a horrible mistake!
Accenture also sometimes enforce so-called “exploding offers”, meaning that they force you to give an answer within a few weeks or they withdraw the offer. Ask yourself why a company would do this.
If a company is attractive, they would not be afraid to be compared to other job offers.
We are highly critical of Accenture and we don’t recommend anyone to work there.
Therefore, you probably wonder why we would give interviewing tips.
First of all, lots of people reach out to us after they get burned at Accenture. By then it is too late. We realized we need to communicate with people before they make the decision to join Accenture.
For those people who really want to work at Accenture, nothing we say can change that.
What we want is to give the ambitious, smart students who know little of Accenture a chance to realize what kind of firm it is. We want to warn them that most likely they will be working on unexciting projects, pull long hours and that they run a high risk of being abused and of burning out.
Our most important tips are that you research Accenture and apply to other companies as well.
These tips can also be applied to other consulting firms as well, so feel free to use what you just learned elsewhere.
Good luck in your career search!