Written by: Moaaz Iqbal

Ladies and gents, the hot topic you’ve been waiting for is here. From day one of AFC level, every student dreams to get into any of big4 firms. To make the interview process easy for you I am sharing my interview experience with you guys. Well, I didn’t apply for all the big 4s so I won’t be specifying the interview questions. I will just generalize the questions and atmosphere of the interview room. In this article, you will be learning how exactly my interview(s) went and what type of questions can you expect for your interview. Let’s get to it!

What do they care about?

Get one thing straight! They want a Professional and Competent person. Someone with a decent personality and a sharp mind will surely meet their criteria. They expect you to be in a business formal attire for your interview because the first impression matters. I have seen some of my fellow interviewees get ridiculed by the Partners just because they weren’t in professional attire or a decent one at least. Does that mean that I need to wear a suit (talking about males here)? No, you don’t need to but it’s always better if you wear one (preferably a dull color). They don’t care if you own a suit but they do care about your dressing sense because you’ll have to represent the firm. Thus, decent dress pants and dress shirt with semi-formal shoes will do just fine. Moreover, please don’t forget to get a decent haircut. They also care about how organized you are. So, don’t go in carrying a loose pile of papers. Carry your documents in a file or pouch or an envelope. I, myself, wore a business formal attire and carried my documents in a file. 

What do they look for?

They are looking for a precise combination of confidence, cooperation, and competitiveness. To put it simply, they will test your ability to cope with pressure and level of patience in a matter of minutes. Yes peeps, you read it right: in a matter of minutes! Please try not to appear cocky. If the HR representative notices that you’re over-expressing, he might like you at all. HR likes people who talk less yet keep the listener interested. Talk about your hobbies, share memorable and productive experiences but DO NOT brag. Also, honesty means a lot to some firms. So if you’re asked about something you don’t know, come clean in a polite manner. I witnessed a fellow interviewee get stuck in his mess because he claimed he had a grip over something we haven’t even studied in CAF yet. 

Interview Structure

  • Human Resources’ interview
  • Partner’s/Director’s Interview
  • Both of these interviews differ from each other a lot. First, the HR representative takes an interview and if you’re good to go, your 2nd interview is with the relevant department’s partners and director. The partners and the HR rep were all very calm, cool, and giving out friendly vibes. I will list down some questions that I remember I was asked during both the phases

    HR’s Phase

    Final Interview

    What are your hobbies?

    Types of audit opinion

    Tell me about a situation in your life when you had a tough time.

    Substantive procedures for debtors

    What seasons have you watched?

    Concept of emphasis of matter paragraph and other matters paragraph

    Some questions relevant to things mentioned in the CV.

    Indicators of going concern issue

    What is your biggest strength?

    Basic Economics

    What is your biggest weakness?

    Trade deficit and Inflation

    What books have I read other than books relevant to the course?

    Currency devaluation and current economic situation of Pakistan

    Questions regarding experience mentioned in CV

    One word to describe yourself

    How will you contribute to the firm


    In the end, everything turned out well because I was well-prepared. I know these questions might seem normal but trust me when you're sitting inside with the partner of a firm, the pressure is of a different kind. Although, you’re tense if you can convince the partner that you’re confident and you can admit when you’re wrong, he will be impressed. 

    I hope this helps. If you want to learn more about how to prepare for a big 4 interview, check out this article I wrote https://www.nearpeer.org/blog/interview-preparation-for-big-4

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