One of the ‘Big Four’ accounting firms, they are at the top of their game and attract graduates who fit the culture of excellence mould.
We sat down with three recruits to the KPMG graduate scheme to get a unique insight into the high-performance world of A-list applicants.
Holly Apps, Casey Taylor and Jeffrey Russell had their pick of the ‘Big Four’ firms, being talented grads. So how did they end up choosing KPMG?
A lot of it came down to the holistic recruitment approach. KPMG are interested in finding out what makes the candidates tick on a personal and professional level, and found interesting ways to use the qualifications the grads had earned in ways they hadn’t considered before.
“I’m in the deal advisory tax team; we do a lot of property-related transactions. The interviewers thought my property degree would be really useful. As long as you’re willing to learn, you can do very well at KPMG,” Holly said.
Another important factor to these superstar grads was exposure to lots of different kinds of consulting.
“The broad spectrum of work in different areas is good. I could be working on infrastructure privatisations, IPOs, small companies… I get to work across a lot of different areas,” Casey explained. “It’s very engagement specific – and I’m only working on one or two at a time, which is great for focusing on getting the best results for those clients,” he said.
While a steep learning curve is to be expected, the kinds of grads KPMG goes after aren’t afraid to ask questions and get stuck in right away - and, in return, the firm offers support in the form of a dedicated mentor and an open-door policy with partners. They also offer extended educational courses for you to do, and support to undertake further qualifications.
“You can ask questions to any level of seniority and it’s fine. The stigma around partners doesn’t exist,” Casey said.
Most jobs these days are no longer the traditional nine-to-five, and KPMG are no exception: the hours can be longer than usual as projects come to a close. But because the firm are hiring superstars, they give their grads the freedom to figure out their best methods of working. This can be anything from working remotely, flexible hours and taking time in lieu on another day.
“If you take advantage of the flexible options you can turn the occasional overtime into a positive thing. Quite often I find when working late I can go home, walk my dogs, have dinner and then go back online. It’s what you make of it,” said Jeffrey.
A lot of what attracts people to an organisation is culture, and KPMG appear to have it in spades if the numbers of times it’s mentioned is anything to go by.
“The vibe I got and the people I met through the interview process, I felt KPMG was the place for me.” Holly said.
This sentiment was echoed by Jeffrey, who explained that the interactions he had with managers and team members he met during the interview stage convinced him he would fit right in quickly and easily.
These grads might have been at the tops of their classes, but now they’re learning how to get to the top of their game.