5 top interview tips for international candidates applying to a UK audit role

Gordon Smith

Looking for a role in the UK? Senior Recruitment Advisor Gordon Smith provides his advice for how to succeed in the interview process.

As a Senior Recruitment Advisor, my role is to support the growth of our Assurance division within EY by recruiting top quality candidates who will contribute to the success of our business vision. Leading the recruitment for the Midlands and South regions, I am responsible for finding and attracting top audit talent globally whilst supporting each individual in making their move to the UK.

I’ve interviewed many candidates based outside of the UK who have been successful in joining EY’s UK firm in audit. We understand how daunting it can be when the interview is in English and this is perhaps not your native language, as some of our interviewers may have been in the same position when they joined. However, my top 5 tips below can help anyone prepare for any interview for one of our UK roles.

●  Be clear and commit
It is important that you are committed to the role you are applying for. If a recruiter is screening your application and can see that you have applied for several roles across various teams and locations then it can create an impression that you are uncertain in what you want to do, or possibly even just looking to take any job that will allow you to live and work in the UK.

Within Audit at EY, we expect at least a two year commitment from our International joiners to the role and office location you have applied for. This doesn’t mean you cannot develop further, but if for example you are applying for an Audit role in one location, it is inadvisable to give the impression your primary motive is to use the position as a stepping stone to another team or location, either at application or interview stage.


●  Do your research
If you have an interview it is important you are prepared thoroughly and have demonstrated an understanding of the firm, location and role you have applied for. Being flexible is great, but it is also important the interviewer can assess your motives for wanting to relocate to the UK, and their office in particular, are genuine. We want people who are clear in the direction they are looking to take their career and have given their next move real thought. Our website includes very useful information on all UK cities where EY has an office so it is definitely worth looking at to impress the interviewer by demonstrating what it is about the location that excites you.

●  Take advantage of social media
EY UK have a fantastic social media presence, and are constantly producing new relevant content which goes beyond the information you might see on our website. This can provide a valuable insight into our culture, strategy and values which will give you some points of interest to discuss with your interviewer, as well as an idea of what life with EY is like in the UK. It is a good idea to take advantage of this content when doing your research for your interview.

●  Know your interviewer
Once you know the name and job title of who will be interviewing you, it may be helpful to view their profile on LinkedIn to gain valuable insight into their background. You might find you have common interests, a similar client portfolio, or experience of working with the same (or similar) firms which can help you build rapport.

●  Show some personality
Many interviewees are so keen to impress with their technical knowledge that they don’t let us see what individual skills and characteristics that they would bring to a team. If you have an unusual hobby or involvement in an extracurricular activity outside of work then tell us about it. We enjoy meeting passionate people with high energy who are capable of building rapport with colleagues and clients. It is the personalities of our people that drive our culture, so it is important we see yours during the interview.


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