You applied for a grad position and your resume caught a recruiter’s interest. Now you have up to half an hour on the phone to convince them to put you through to the next round. Accenture’s Early Careers Recruitment Specialist, Josie Harfield-Park, tells you what to expect and shares her tips and tricks for getting through to the next round. 

A phone interview is one of the first steps in a graduate recruitment process. This is where we short-list candidates to go through to the big assessment day. During the phone interview, we want to hear about your experience and what makes you passionate to join Accenture.

My big tip is be prepared! Do your research. Not only on the company website but read the company’s blogs, speak to people in the industry and know why you want to be part of the team.  Start answering your phone professionally and if you’re busy at the time you’re called ask to be called back.

You can pretty much guarantee some of these questions you’ll be asked, so start thinking about preparing some answers:

What do you know about the firm?

When I ask grads this question about Accenture, I can’t tell you how many times people say, “It’s a consulting firm.” Find something to say that demonstrates you’ve done your research and have a genuine interest in the company. Don’t just repeat what comes up at the top of the internet search. I’m asking lots of people the same question. Find something different and personal to say.  

Read the company blogs and even speak about a specific case study or piece of work that particularly interests you.  Go into detail speak about the pillar you chose and why you chose it. Why do you want to work for this particular service group?

Tell me about yourself

This is where you need to keep it short, concise and crisp. Think about it as an elevator pitch, practice it on your friends and family and ask for their honest feedback. Remember – you only have 30 minutes for the whole interview! You should include:

  • What you’re studying
  • Anything outside of your CV that is a selling point or point of difference such as intern programs, involvement in clubs and societies (sport or academic), and part-time work
  • And finally how your background intersects with the company’s goals or values

The idea is to sell yourself in the shortest possible time. Check out my colleague’s advice on practicing your personal elevator pitch.

Top tips for a professional interview

These may sound pretty basic, but it’s amazing how many people don’t follow them:

  • Respond to the email promptly – Even if you’re not interested, be courteous and let the recruiter know you’d like to retract your application.
  • Organise a professional setting – Make sure you’re in a quiet environment where you’re not distracted. You don’t want to be driving, outside or in a café.
  • Prepare well ahead of time – Don’t put it off until the last minute.
  • Conduct some mock interviews – Practice your responses in the mirror or with a friend or family member. Time your answers to make sure you can get all your points across.
  • Listen to the questions carefully – You’ve prepared your answers. Now you have to adapt them to the questions you actually get asked. Feel free to ask to have questions clarified.
  • Prepare questions you want to ask – At the end, we’ll have time for questions. Think about what you want to know.

Finally, don’t stress. We’re not here to grill you. We want you to do well and have a positive conversation.

Good luck!

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Josie Harfield-Park

Early Careers Recruitment Specialist

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