Questions at PwC interviews

We analyzed 10,859 interview reviews for PwC from various job sites, social network groups and forums.

Here are the most frequent job interview questions asked by HR managers during initial phone or onsite interviews. This list does not include technical or factual questions.

10 frequent non-technical questions at PwC:

Tell me about yourself
What is your greatest weakness?
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Walk me through your resume
Describe a time you worked on a team with individuals from different cultural backgrounds
Tell me about your greatest professional accomplishment
Tell me about a stressful situation and how you dealt with it
Describe a time when you had to overcome a significant obstacle on a job
Describe a time when you resolved a conflict with a colleague in your past role
Tell me about a time you had a conflict at work. How did you handle it? What have you learned?

According to our research, hiring managers at PwC ask soft skills interview questions 26% more than at other companies:

PwC interview question statistics

1. Tell me about yourselftop question

How to answer

This question may sound vague, but it actually requires a matter of fact, concise and relevant answer. Here’s how you can approach it.

  1. About Yourself

    What is your current occupation? Define yourself professionally in one statement. Pick 3 key skills that make you great at your work (your Key Selling Points). How have you applied these skills? Try to give some numbers to support your statement.

  2. About The Company

    Research the Company. Based on what you know about the company and the job description, why are you interested in the position you are applying for?

  3. About The Fit

    Based on your Key Selling Points and your knowledge about the company, why do you think you are a good fit for this position? Can you support your statement with relevant examples from your past experiences? Try to be concise and stay within 1-2 minutes.

Pro Tip

You can also end with a question like “Do you know what the current needs in the company/department are, where my skills and experience can help?" That can help you learn more about the company and the job, turn the "interrogation" into a conversation and will allow you to relax some tension.

Read our blog post to learn more about how to answer this question.

Statistics

This question is asked 42% more frequently at PwC than at other companies.

2. What is your greatest weakness?

How to answer

This question ranks as the most challenging for many people. Fortunately, Mr. Simon is here to help!

Interviewers ask this question to gauge your level of self-awareness, your honesty and openness, and your capability for self-improvement.

  1. About Yourself

    No one is perfect and your interviewer doesn't expect you to be perfect either.

    While it is good to be honest and open, it will not help you to put yourself down. What's important is to find a weakness that you have overcome or something that is not related to the position for which you are applying.

    For example, one of our clients admitted that he is not very good at public speaking and that he has recently become a member of Toastmasters International to improve. What a respectful answer and approach, in my view!

  2. About The Company

    Research the company (website, social media, etc) to learn about the company culture. What personal and professional qualities do they value?

  3. About The Fit

    It is important that the weakness you decide to talk about is not one that will prevent you from performing the job for which you're applying.

    For example, if you're applying for a front-end developer position, do not talk about how you are struggling to understand HTML code.

Pro Tip

Use this question to sell yourself! It's important to show how well you've overcome a weakness by motivating yourself and learning a new skill to grow professionally.

Statistics

This question is asked 3% more frequently at PwC than at other companies.

3. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

How to answer

This question belongs to a family of behavioral, or even more precisely, reflective questions. The interviewer wants to see whether you are reflective about yourself, whether you are ambitious and strive to grow as a professional, whether you like to learn and develop your skills. They are also looking for your ambitions to fit the career path opportunities related to the position you are applying for.

  1. About Yourself

    Presumably, you are interested to grow professionally. Think about the possibilities that may lie ahead for you: take a personality test (I recommend 16Personalities which is a Myers&Briggs-based test), research the internet on what career paths are possible with your skills and current job. What challenges do you like overcoming? For example, if you are applying for a software tester position, you may find it fascinating to master automated testing in full and eventually become a software engineer, or you may be a natural trainer and love coaching other people which may lead you to become a QA team or department lead, or you may be more interested in understanding business aspects of requirements which may logically lead you into a Business Analyst position. However, if you are happy just where you are and want to further your current skills, that is also fine as long as there is a growth path for you that can be imagined and described.

  2. About The Company

    Research the company to learn what career opportunities may be available in the department you are applying to, and what the trends are in the company in general. Is the business expanding, are they opening new locations, or starting new projects? Or are they heavily automating and cutting staff? Let’s say you are applying for a UX designer position for a brand-new product. In the future, if the product becomes a success - which is what the company hopes for - the company will hire more designers and you may become a lead designer, or you may become a product manager.

    On a side note: If you train your mind to be open to opportunities you will be amazed at how much this world has to offer to you!

  3. About The Fit

    And of course, try to see where the perfect fit lies between your own potential and aspirations, and the company’s trends and hopes. However, beware of the risk of showing too much excitement for future opportunities compared to your attitude towards the current position. If you aren’t really excited about the position you are applying for and you demonstrate this lack of enthusiasm, the interviewer may conclude that you are not a good fit for the current position. Try to find a source of excitement in the current position as well, otherwise, you may be doing yourself a disservice by applying to a position you will find boring in 2-3 months.

Pro Tip

This question gives you a good opportunity to showcase your Key Selling Points (e.g. “as I am very good at delegating tasks, I can easily see myself leading a team of software testers in the future…”), and end your statement by asking about current initiatives and goals at the company.

It is generally NOT a good idea to say something like “Oh, I cannot imagine what happens to me tomorrow, let alone in 5 years”. This will show you as a person who is unimaginative and not forward-thinking enough to grow with and be a good fit for the company.

Statistics

This question is asked 20% less frequently at PwC than at other companies.

4. Walk me through your resume

How to answer

This question is often asked at the beginning of the interview. The interviewer wants to hear a brief overview, a summary of your professional experience, in order to have a starting point from which they can dig deeper. Structuring your answer wisely gives you a good chance to emphasize your Key Selling Points and to channel the conversation in the direction you want.

  1. About Yourself

    Print out your resume. For each of your recent job experiences (at this point do not go back more than 5 years), write down 3-5 key points at which you feel you are strong. For example, for your current (or previous) job, you may want to list skills like “Excellent presentation skills,” “Employee Engagement guru,” “Analytical skills,” “Attention to detail” (they don’t have to be all soft skills, but being aware of at least a few of your strong soft skills is important). Make sure you have examples for each of your statements.

    If you have difficulties to think of these points, search online for job descriptions for similar job roles, and figure out which of those keywords appeal to you. Look for people on LinkedIn that have jobs similar to the one you are applying for. Their profiles often contain many keywords that you can use in response to this question.

    Now that you’ve gone through all your recent experiences, are there any points that repeat more often than others, or are especially important to you? These are candidates to be your Key Selling Points -highlight 3-5 of them.

  2. About The Company

    Research the company and the role for which you're being interviewed. When researching the company, find out what skills and qualities they value the most. Carefully consider the job requirements. What is it that you will be responsible for?

    Now, write down 3-5 keywords from the job description that you find of utmost importance for this job role.

  3. About The Fit

    Try to establish the match between your own highlighted keywords, and those of the job description. These are your Key Selling Points! You should normally limit yourself by 3-5 such keywords or phrases.

    Now, craft a story based on your career history. You don’t have to go in chronological order - you can start with your current or last job experience, and then go back to your previous ones, or focus on just the experiences that are relevant to your story, and only briefly mention the less relevant ones and only if needed.

    Select one point to highlight for each phase of your career. Make sure you ingrain your Key Selling Points in the interviewer’s memory - after the interview is over, you want them to remember you as someone who is strong at XYZ, or experienced in A, B and C.

    It's okay to focus more on stellar achievements and brag a little bit about them.

Pro Tip

Don't bore the interviewer by going through your resume line-by-line. Instead, WOW them by succinctly (keep it within 2 minutes) telling a story of how your career path has brought you to this point and how you are the best candidate for this role.

Super tip: The more you practice with Mr. Simon, the better you'll be at telling WOW-worthy succinct stories!

Statistics

This question is asked 2.9x more frequently at PwC than at other companies.

5. Describe a time you worked on a team with individuals from different cultural backgrounds

How to answer

Why do interviewers ask this question? Nowadays many companies rate global and cultural awareness as a key competency for all employees. For most jobs today, it is essential to be able to work well with diverse teams, including individuals who understand international and cultural differences and can interact respectfully with individuals from diverse cultures, political affiliations, races, religions, ages, genders and sexual orientations.

  1. About Yourself

    Answering this question highlights your ability to navigate cultural differences at work. Think about your team experiences and times when you’ve had to overcome differences with colleagues.

    • How do you adapt to working with team members of different communication styles?
    • Are you open-minded enough to consider all their ideas even if you don't agree?
    • How do you handle the differences in attitudes and values between you and people from other countries or backgrounds?
    • Do you show respect and are you diplomatic with those people?
      Maybe you haven’t worked with people from different cultures, but you may have been studying or been friends with people from different backgrounds. Address your personal life, if necessary, and emphasize your curiosity and openness to other cultures.
  2. About The Company

    A careful review of the job description, along with some research of the company will help you anticipate what aspects of global/cultural awareness are most important for a particular role in the company you are applying to.

  3. About The Fit

    Demonstrate your openness, inclusiveness, sensitivity, and the ability to interact respectfully with all people and show your understanding of individuals’ differences. Your task is to prove to the interviewer your ability to build strong and caring relationships based on trust and shared goals. Use the STAR method to tell a story about how your experience helped you to create an open and inclusive workplace environment, so all team members felt empowered to contribute. Ensure the interviewer that you are very comfortable working with team members from other cultures and possibly with different communication styles. Make it your advantage. For example, you can say something like: “At my recent work, representatives of different cultures participated in one common project. As a result, our team was able to approach the tasks from different viewpoints to reach a successful conclusion.

Pro Tip

Working in a multicultural team has both advantages and challenges at the same time. In such a team you can broaden your outlook. Challenges that you have to overcome are: to understand other people’s language and culture, to get used to the different ways they think and work; to reduce mistrust that can be a barrier to understanding each other, and to promote awareness of cultural diversity in the workplace. If you overcome these challenges, you will be the ideal employee at any job.

Statistics

This question is asked 4.0x more frequently at PwC than at other companies.

6. Tell me about your greatest professional accomplishment

How to answer

Of all your accomplishments (and I am sure you’ve had a great many of them!), you should choose the one most relevant to this job position.

  1. About Yourself

    Write down your Key Selling Points - your top 3-5 skills that make you a strong professional.

    Write down a list of your top 3-5 professional accomplishments that you are most proud of. No need for lengthy descriptions, just 1-2 words for each one to help you recall each situation. Make sure you have developed the story behind each accomplishment and have a strong command of the details of what happened so that you can tell the story clearly and distinctly.

    Along with each accomplishment, mark which of your Key Selling Points they showcase. How exactly?

  2. About The Company

    Based on your research of the company, what are their current needs? What are the major projects going on? What are the expectations for the position you are applying for?

  3. About The Fit

    Try to imagine yourself being an employee of the company you are applying to, say, at your 6th month into the job. Which of your Key Selling Points and accomplishments would be most relevant to the company? What “have you accomplished at your new job?”

    Choose the most relevant accomplishment from your list and then practice telling your story.

Pro Tip

Most enterprises are now going through major transformations, often called Digital Transformation. Do your research on what it means and what is often involved, to get a better idea of the current goals and environments in companies. But one thing that definitely characterizes this transformation is striving for agility.

In particular, for startups (if you are applying to a startup or a small business), agility is their middle name, in order for them to survive among bigger sharks in the market.

So, demonstrating qualities like agility and adaptability should generally be helpful and quite a safe choice in most circumstances today.

Statistics

This question is asked 27% more frequently at PwC than at other companies.

7. Tell me about a stressful situation and how you dealt with it

How to answer

Nowadays, professional life is stressful everywhere and always. However, there are levels of stress that are so common that we consider them normal, and there are times when they really skyrocket. Your future employer wants to know how you will behave in such times, whether you will be a helping hand or a burden.

  1. About Yourself

    Remember a time when you had to hit a tight timeline and to work long hours, hard and overtime; or when you found yourself in the middle of a conflict with someone, or with a group of people. If you had more than one such occasion, choose one that ended positively and successfully, and ideally, that can demonstrate some of your key skills - your Key Selling Points.

    Most likely, the situation was highly emotional. What helped you persevere? Was there an element that you enjoyed? For example, in one of our projects, my team and I had to hit a really tough timeline for a customer, which seemed almost impossible in the beginning. However, we knew that we owned the results and that a major decision by the customer depended on the outcome. This sense of ownership, meaning, and impact gave us energy and excitement. Those were the challenges that we loved and could deal with for a sustained period of time. Also, the pleasure of working with a highly qualified top manager on the customer’s side added to the enjoyment. Now, after a few years, we remember those times as some of the most exciting for our team.

  2. About The Company

    What do you know about the company, where you may encounter a stressful situation? Are they working on a major project which is approaching a due date? Are they going through a difficult time when cost-saving is a top priority, company culture is full of negativity and mistrust, they have gone through massive layoffs, customers are neglected, and everyone wears a long face? These are always stressful times, and you should try to know more about expectations in the company, and how realistic they are.

    Or, are they just a dynamic, highly agile company run by smart and creative folks, which may work excellently for some people and be confusing and mind-blowing for others?

    Do Your Research!

  3. About The Fit

    Think of your ideal workplace environment. Does this company feel like it? Do you feel excited and enthusiastic about the kinds of stress you may encounter here? If you feel compatible with this company culture and enthusiastic about the challenges you expect here, this is a good chance to mention it and to show your excitement. Explain your approach or rationale and give your example from the past.

Pro Tip

If you cannot remember any stressful situation with a positive outcome, you can use one with a negative outcome accompanied by your Lessons Learned. However, this option should not be your first choice, as the failure to give an example of a successful outcome may portray you as an emotionally immature person.

Statistics

This question is asked 21% more frequently at PwC than at other companies.

8. Describe a time when you had to overcome a significant obstacle on a job

How to answer

This is a tough question because you’re forced to talk about a difficult time with a complete stranger. Fortunately, it’s also a great opportunity to turn a big challenge into a great accomplishment. This question is designed to help the interviewer discover what type of problem solver you are. Why do employers ask this question? It’s because they want to know that they’re hiring someone who can think on their feet and who is resilient when facing challenges.

  1. About Yourself

    It’s your chance to show that in tough times you turn to your inner strength and possess skills to find the right solutions. You probably had to solve many problems daily at work. It’s high time to remember them. If you do not prepare examples in advance, this question will get you off guard and you will find it difficult to remember all the details on the move.

    Start with recalling a few examples of real obstacles you coped with. For each of them, think about:

    • What was the project or task you were trying to accomplish?
    • What was the obstacle? This can be a specific problem related to your job or a higher-order issue across the organization.
    • What steps did you take to address the issue?
    • What decisions did you have to make?
    • How did the company benefit from your decisions?
    • How would you describe your approach, or what lessons have you learned?

    Be careful how you respond to this question. Make sure that you select a difficult work situation where you were not the cause.

  2. About The Company

    When you research the company, try and find out what kind of challenges they are facing. Try to find out what they need in terms of problem resolution. Search for online reviews, complaints and any other useful resources. What problems and obstacles can the employees face with this position?

  3. About The Fit

    This is your opportunity to showcase your problem-solving skills, resilience, and strength of character. Talk through your problem-solving process and show how you can think on your feet.

    Pick an example relevant to the position you are aiming for. Let’s say, you are applying for a blog writing job. The job description mentions that a successful candidate must have experience working “in a dynamic environment.” You could mention a situation in which you had to write an article on short notice because your co-worker failed at the last moment to complete the assignment. You were short of time but worked extra hours to prepare the article successfully and on time. This answer would show your experience in blog writing, your sense of responsibility, ability to achieve results under stress, your willingness to go the extra mile, your problem-solving skills.

Pro Tip

This question is not about your past, it's how you deal with things that will happen in the future, so try to keep your answer short and focused. After all, the interviewer is really looking for what you took away from the situation and doesn’t need to know the full backstory of what happened.

Use the STAR method to prepare your story and practice it so that you can stay within 1-2 minutes. Make sure to show that you remained positive when overcoming a hurdle at work. Positive attitudes lead to positive outcomes.

Statistics

This question is asked 73% more frequently at PwC than at other companies.

9. Describe a time when you resolved a conflict with a colleague in your past role

How to answer

Wherever you go, you will always have to work with people. This means that there is a greater chance for conflict to happen. This question helps the interviewer determine how well you would fit within the organization.

  1. About Yourself

    Think of the times you had to deal with conflict. What were the different ways you were able to address the situation? If you were the cause of the conflict, how did the other person talk you down from the conflict? What were the key lessons you learned through your experience?

  2. About The Company

    Research the company and its culture. What do they value? Is there anything that you can find about how they deal with conflict resolution? Reading comments to their social media posts often prove helpful to see how they react to customers' complaints.

  3. About The Fit

    What have you found out about the company’s culture and job description? Are they looking for someone who can take charge and resolve conflict?

    Tell a story of how you addressed conflict and how it turned a negative into a positive. Try to conclude with your lessons learned or methodology for approaching conflicts - this will show the interviewer that you would be able to apply your methodology to future situations.

    Use the STAR method to frame your story.

Pro Tip

A key to addressing conflict is listening, communication and emotional intelligence. Highlight these skills.

If you're able to, turn the question around and ask the interviewer if they have experienced the same thing. This will start a conversation, which is the goal of an interview.

Statistics

This question is asked 2.1x more frequently at PwC than at other companies.

10. Tell me about a time you had a conflict at work. How did you handle it? What have you learned?

How to answer

Wherever you go, you will always have to work with people. This means that there is a greater chance for conflict to happen. This question helps the interviewer determine how well you would fit within the organization.

  1. About Yourself

    Think of the times you had to deal with conflict. What were the different ways you were able to address the situation? If you were the cause of the conflict, how did the other person talk you down from the conflict? What were the key lessons you learned through your experience?

  2. About The Company

    Research the company and its culture. What do they value? Is there anything that you can find about how they deal with conflict resolution? Reading comments to their social media posts often prove helpful to see how they react to customers' complaints.

  3. About The Fit

    What have you found out about the company’s culture and job description? Are they looking for someone who can take charge and resolve conflict?

    Tell a story of how you addressed conflict and how it turned a negative into a positive. Try to conclude with your lessons learned or methodology for approaching conflicts - this will show the interviewer that you would be able to apply your methodology to future situations.

    Use the STAR method to frame your story.

Pro Tip

A key to addressing conflict is listening, communication and emotional intelligence. Highlight these skills.

If you're able to, turn the question around and ask the interviewer if they have experienced the same thing. This will start a conversation, which is the goal of an interview.

Statistics

This question is asked 42% more frequently at PwC than at other companies.


This page has been updated on March 26, 2020.

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