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Ernst and Young Interview
Questions

27 Questions and Answers by
| Ryan has over 10 years of experience interviewing
candidates in the healthcare, public service, and private manufacturing/distribution industries.

Question 1 of 27

List the top 3 skills that you have acquired in your last role.

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Ernst and Young Interview Questions

  1. 1.

    List the top 3 skills that you have acquired in your last role.

      You have likely gained many valuable skills in your career. Share with the interviewer which skills you value the most. Be sure to include skills that will potentially benefit this potential new employer.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "In the past few years I was able to upgrade my education while still working full time. The biggest skill that I gained was my ability to multi-task as I worked the dual role of employee and student. I also have strong skills in a variety of Microsoft programs such as PowerPoint and Excel."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "There are many skills I gained in my most recent position as I had a great training program and my boss was a strong mentor. If I had to choose three top skills I would say that the biggest ones were effective multitasking, solid closing skills, and cold calling abilities."

  2. 2.

    Are you familiar with KYC and how it impacts our business at Ernst and Young?

      Prior to your interview, it is important to know and understand the principles of KYC. To start, KYC stands for Know Your Customer and these are steps taken by financial institutions to establish customer identity and understand the nature of the customer's activity to further assess money laundering risks with that customer. For your answer to this question, give your interviewer the sense that you know the basic premise of KYC and how it impacts your work that you do while also highlighting the important elements of a KYC program like customer identification and ongoing monitoring.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "Over the recent years, my work as a Financial Advisor has moved to heavy load of phone and online work and steps in customer identification have included things I needed to be cognizant of. Even though I know even the fine details of my clients' voices, I must have clients confirm personal information over the phone before discussing details with them. This personal info can include full names, date of birth, address and social security number. Because money laundering and identity theft have become so prevalent in the past ten years, I take these important steps in my work very seriously."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "I am very familiar with the Know Your Customer ethical guidelines in financial advising and have received a lot of formal training surrounding it. When opening new accounts for clients and maintaining them down the road, the KYC Rule 2090 is essential for me and my firm to keep records of facts on each customer and know if any other people have the authority to act on the customer's behalf regarding their finances. I love the fact that the KYC standards have helped build robust client profiles within our systems and these help make my financial decisions with them much better."

  3. 3.

    One huge philosophy that we believe in at Ernst and Young is professional development. How have you worked to develop yourself professionally throughout your career?

      In an ever-changing field like financial services, Ernst and Young knows that professional growth and development is vital to them staying at the forefront of their industry. For this question, your interviewer is looking to ensure that your values surrounding professional development match the values of the company. Use this question as an opportunity for you to highlight the many ways that you grow and develop yourself to be the best that you can be in your career. Highlight any continuing education you have completed, any societies or groups that you belong to and any publications that you read on a regular basis that will prove to your interviewer that you aren't comfortable being stagnant in your career.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "I am a firm believer in being a life long learner in my work as a Data Analyst. As technology and times have changed over the course of time, I see it as very important to be learning and changing along with the times. Just over the past two years, the Data Fest and Data Summit national conferences and participation in these events on a yearly basis is super important to me to help me grow and develop."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "In the financial field, I have to stay at the top of my game to compete with other advisors and keep clients happy and flourishing. To do this, I subscribe to and read many of the great publications that are out there. Some of my favorites include the Wall Street Journal, Money magazine and Forbes. I also subscribe to many others. As well, I am a member of NAIFA and I have attended the organization's Congressional Conference on a few occasions."

  4. 4.

    The day-to-day life at Ernst and Young can be hectic and stressful at times. If hired for this role, how would you keep yourself motivated when working with stressed colleagues and pushy clients?

      The daily life at Ernst and Young is naturally very fast paced and because of that, both the colleagues and the clients that you may be working with have potential to be stressed, needy and downright mean at times. For this question, your interviewer is looking to get a sense that you would be able to work in this type of environment. In your answer, talk about the fact that you are cognizant of what this job entails as far as personal interactions go and talk about times where you have worked successfully through situations like this in the past. As well, don't hesitate to talk about your own personality traits that help you thrive in these types of situations.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "Being a person that thrives in a fast paced work environment, I have the ability to handle stressed colleagues with a grain of salt. As you can see from my resume, I've spent the last five years in the manufacturing industry where my department worked under tight deadlines all of the time. If I noticed that a colleague was under stress, I offered my help if I was able to and down the road that was usually reciprocated back to me. This unselfish attitude and realizing that someone else's stress wasn't directed at me was the key to maintaining personal health and balance on the job."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "In my current role in client services with a large hospitality group, some days can go off the rails and it feels like I'm working with enraged customers all day long. I have the attitude that their anger isn't directed towards me, but I'm the face of the company that they are currently working with and I need to do my job in helping solve their issue. While I do have great resources at my hand to help solve customer issues, I think that taking the time to get to know all of our management team and how they solve problems is key as well so I know who to put customers in touch with if needed."

  5. 5.

    Can you think of a situation where raising debt over equity would be beneficial?

      Debt and equity have a very closely bonded relationship with each other in relation to a company's finances. In most situations, raising debt can create too high of an amount of pressure to meet payments versus raising equity. But, there are a few key situations where there is a distinct advantage in raising debt over equity and your interviewer will be looking to hear that you understand at least one of those advantages to be tax shielding, reducing cost of capital and not diluting the stake for investors.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "In the situations where I've advised an organization to increase debt, they've received a distinct advantage in a lower cost form of financing versus equity financing. In the end, this reduced the organization's WACC and came out to be a win for them."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "Last year, I advised a manufacturer to take the debt over equity route when adding a new line of products that was guaranteed to be very profitable. This fact allowed the company to simply and quickly repay the loan plus interest while being able to reap the rewards of the extra profits. In that same case using equity, final profit would've been less."

  6. 6.

    If you noticed that a company's balance sheet was showing increased amounts of accounts receivables, what future impacts to that company would you consider to be feasible?

      At the root of this question, your interview will be looking to hear that you understand how the different lines on a company's balance sheet are related to each other. In your answer, be sure to point out your understanding of this as your job as an analyst with Ernst and Young will rely on your ability to do so.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "An organization's lines on a balance sheet all have impact on other lines. In the case that I was made aware of an increase in accounts receivable for an organization, I would note that cash flow could be directly impacted and give a higher chance that the organization didn't have enough money to operate. As well, the reduced value of assets is a real possibility for that organization."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "In reality, an increase in amounts receivable can have both a positive and negative impact. In the short term, accounts receivable show up as current-period revenue and have a positive effect on income statements. But over the long-term, a large increase in amounts receivable has a negative impact on cash-flow for the company."

  7. 7.

    Tell me about a time where you had to analyze information in order to make a recommendation.

      Talk about your attention to detail and sharp focus on data and statistics. If the job requires you to take an analytical approach to solving problems, think back on your experience to offer up an example. Give as much insight into your process to show you are capable of taking an analytical approach to problem-solving.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "I worked for a financial firm last year and had a client who was looking for investment recommendations. I gathered data on the stocks they were interested in, sorting through trends and historical data to determine the most promising returns."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "As a financial service professional, I am always analyzing information before creating a path of recommendation for my clients. I am highly skilled when it comes to data analysis. My abilities stem from my statistics and analysis related courses while obtaining my Bachelor's degree in finance."

  8. 8.

    Here at Ernst and Young, we strive for continuous delivery and continuous deployment with our software. Are you familiar with these processes in your current work?

      In the industries that Ernst and Young works in, updates to software are vital to end users for them to stay at the forefront of their business. To ensure that updates happen as quick and smoothly as possible, Ernst and Young utilizes continuous delivery and continuous deployment for their customers. For this question, talk about what you know about these processes as a software architect, why they are important and what experience you have with them.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "In my current role, we utilize a 100% continuous deployment process with our end users when we role out new changes to existing software. We use automated testing in our process to validate that code changes are correct and able to be deployed without issue. Once validated, changes are automatically rolled out to our end users. Having once utilized a continuous delivery system, I am very appreciative of working in an environment utilizing continuous deployment as it negates any need for human intervention in the roll out."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "In my current position, we've slowly grown from a continuous integration process to a continuous delivery process. I love the automated testing process when we are looking at rolling out new changes to existing software and my role as the architect for our projects puts me in the drivers seat for sending out these changes. If hired for this role here at Ernst and Young, I'd be very intrigued at learning and working with continuous deployment practices as well."

  9. 9.

    What statistical analysis tools do you have experience working with?

      As a successful and resourceful Data Analyst, your interviewer at Ernst and Young is expecting you to be knowledgeable and well-versed in the many tools available to you. In your answer, be sure to show diversity within particular programs like SAS and SPSS while also explaining that you are very proficient in Microsoft Excel. On top of the programs, talk about any experience you have with programming and database language like SQL and Python.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "In my current role, most of my analysis is handled in SAS and I've really grown to appreciate the program's ability to to manage large data sets and create predictive modeling in the financial field. From a past job, I have experience on SPSS and also with the SQL programming language to build robust databases. Of course, I have received expert level training in Microsoft Excel and consider myself a master of the program."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "Having been in the field for over 15 years, looking back at the technological advancements in the tools that we use is very amazing. I consider myself very fluent in both the Sisense and KISSmetrics programs. I also have a good amount of experience in Crystal Reports."

  10. 10.

    If hired to this role here at Ernst and Young, what do you see as one initial hurdle you will have to overcome in your first weeks on the job?

      At the heart of this question, your interviewer is asking you to take an honest look inside of yourself to discuss what you feel is the biggest learning curve you will have if offered this position. This will give your interviewer a sense of how to handle your onboarding process if hired for the position and give them a sense that you have the ability to see what your biggest need would be. Similar to the what is your greatest weakness question, the key to answering this question is humbly pointing out a flaw that you may see and making a plan for how you will overcome that flaw.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "Having put a lot of thought into this even before submitting my resume for this position, I realize that my greatest hurdle would be making the leap as an Auditor into the financial focused industry. My five years of experience out of college have been focused on management and technical consulting services, but I feel that I've built a very good knowledge base and experience for this role here at Ernst and Young. If given the opportunity to join your team, my initial focus would be to get enthralled in auditing in the financial industry and I'd do this by being attached at the hip to my colleagues and taking the time to talk one on one with a lot of other staff to help better understand what they'll expect of me in this role."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "Understanding that my role here at Ernst and Young would have me working with the entire advisory staff, the first hurdle would be getting to know everyone on that team and showcasing the skills that I could bring to their work. If hired for the job, I would hope to be invited to team meetings where I could introduce myself and my role with the team and I'd invite an open conversation with the entire team."

  11. 11.

    In this role here at Ernst and Young, we will rely on you to conduct thorough presentations with clients. How would your rate your overall presentation skills and why would you give yourself that rating?

      Solid communication and presentation skills are an essential part of a job as a Financial Analysis and this position with Ernst and Young is no different. To show your interview that you will have what it takes to get hired for this role, talk about your experience in delivering meaningful presentations to a group. Be sure to emphasize your delivery style and your comfortability in speaking in front of others and stress that you understand the importance that communication plays in your role as a Financial Analyst.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "Hopefully from this interview you get the sense that I am a people person by nature. In my current role, I make financial presentations to our largest clients and was asked to do this several years ago by my current Director. He saw my ability to capture a crowd through my confidence, my educational demeanor and my wittiness to use humor in my presentation skills. If hired for this role, I'd love the opportunity to work with the clients at Ernst and Young to do the same."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "I pride myself on my ability to communicate clearly and effectively with my colleagues and my clients on a regular basis. With my colleagues, I don't hesitate to talk in person, over the phone or through email when needed. With clients, I have a great way of talking in terms that are understandable and knowledgeable for them to understand complicated items. These skills definitely translate over to my presentation skills when required. A few weeks ago, I presented to a group of investors that were very engaged and asked a lot of questions. I was able to effectively navigate all of their questions to make the presentation a success for all who attended."

  12. 12.

    What SDLC models are you familiar in working with?

      As a software engineer, you are very familiar with the software development life cycle. For this question, your interviewer is looking to hear what models you have worked on in the past. While there isn't necessarily a right or wrong answer to this question, try to show your flexibility to working with different SDLC models by bringing up your past experiences. Then, show you have knowledge of different models like the waterfall model or agile model. It is also a good idea to use this question as an opportunity for you to learn more about Ernst and Young by asking your interviewer which model they work off of.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "During my training in software engineering and in my early career, the waterfall model was the standard. In this model, each phase of the development process happens in a set order and projects using this model are easily managed. But over time, as the development projects that I have led have become more complicated and intricate, I have implemented the spiral model. This model has allowed the ability of end users to give feedback early on and often during development and helps to build a more customized product to our customers."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "In my current position with XYZ Company, my department utilizes the agile model in development life cycle. Since our products are so tailored to the needs of our customers, we get a working product very early on in the process and then I work hand in hand with customers to fine tune the software moving forward. It is a very effective model that has built a great reputation for our software among customers. I also have familiarity working with the iterative model and it has similar advantages to the agile model. If I were hired here at Ernst and Young, can you expand on what models you use here in your software development life cycle?"

  13. 13.

    What software programs do you use in your current work and how adaptable would you say that you are in learning and using new programs?

      Overall, your interviewer is simply looking to hear that you have a good grasp on programs to use to make you more efficient in your work and to do this, talk open and honestly about the programs that you currently use and talk about in what context that you use them. If at all possible with this role, try to research what additional programs you may have to learn if given this opportunity to join Ernst and Young and reassure your interviewer that your computer skills are fluent enough to pickup quickly if needed.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "In my current role, I currently use a program called Zendesk that is an interactive customer support tool. When we started to use this tool a little over a year ago, I was very quick to learn and utilize all of the great functions of the program and have since become a trainer for new staff that join our team. As well, I'm very fluent in the entire Microsoft suite of products and would consider myself an expert on the Outlook, Excel and Word programs."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "I consider myself very agile when it comes to using and appreciating the vast amount of software that is available to Financial Advisors today. In my current role, I solely use RightCapital as a financial advising tool with my clients. I really love its ability to help in the budgeting and comprehensive planning processes with my clients. I'm also very familiar with the MoneyGuidePro tool and have used it successfully in the past. If hired for this role, you can consider me an open book when it comes to learning and effectively utilizing any programs needed."

  14. 14.

    In working with financial data here at Ernst and Young, what are the steps you would take in the data validation process as part of your work?

      Your job as a detailed and proficient Data Analyst requires you to take proper steps in the data validation process to ensure that data used is accurate and clean. Bad data in the financial industry can have a costly impact and your job will be to ensure that doesn't happen. For your answer to this question, discuss the importance and your method for both data screening and data verification as part of the validation process. Also, be sure to talk about any programs that you utilize during the validation process.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "With any large analysis project and performing data validation, my first step is to create a detailed plan for the data needed. This plan will define the required data to be validated and set the way for the remaining steps. The next steps are to validate the information in the database and then the formatting of the data. Finally, prior to validating the data, sampling needs to be done to ensure that a small sample meets the requirements of the project. Being very proficient with many validation programs, I consider myself very proficient in both QuerySurge and Datameer but remain open to learning any new programs here at Ernst and Young."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "Here at Ernst and Young, your Financial Advisors rely on the most accurate and up to date data to present to clients and I would take great pride in my job as a Data Analyst to provide the best data possible. To validate data, the two important steps I would take are data screening and data verification. I am very confident in my ability to work with algorithms that screens large sets of data for their accuracy. On top of that, I have worked with a few of the different data verification programs like Experian and Sage Intacct."

  15. 15.

    What programming languages would you consider yourself fluent in?

      While this question gives your interviewer insight into the diversity of your programming language experience, they most importantly want to know that you are adaptable and able to learn on the fly if needed. Talk about the different languages that you consider yourself fluent in and, if possible, do as much research into Ernst and Young as you can prior to your interview and try to speak to the specific languages that they work with.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "From the start of college, where software engineering grew into a passion for me, I've become very fluent in Java, JavaScript and C++. My current role has me working primarily with C++, but I pride myself on my ability and passion to learn new programming languages and would be able to do so if hired for this role with Ernst and Young."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "During my training to be an engineer and then in my current role since graduating, a majority of my experience falls within Python. My current role delves deeply into artificial intelligence and Python is awesome with this advanced technology. As I understand it from talking to another engineer here at Ernst and Young, a requirement would be for me to learn Scala. Though I haven't worked directly with Scala, I believe my experience and willingness to learn would have me up and running in no time if hired for this role."

  16. 16.

    If hired for this position at Ernst and Young, what factors would you consider part as part of an organization's long-term liability?

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  17. 17.

    How do you believe your coworkers would describe you?

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  18. 18.

    Think back over your career up to today and tell me about the most difficult day on the job you encountered. What made the day difficult and how did you handle that situation?

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  19. 19.

    We pride ourselves on our interdepartmental teamwork here at Ernst and Young. If hired for this role, what kind of team player could we expect you to be?

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  20. 20.

    Among the common issues that are faced by Data Analysts in their work, which one or two problems do you feel really challenge analysts in the financial industry?

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  21. 21.

    How would you define what working capital is for a company and what does its measurement mean?

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  22. 22.

    At Ernst and Young, we take security risks very importantly in our products. In your experience, what are the biggest security risks in software and what is your experience in any prevention methods?

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  23. 23.

    Here at Ernst and Young, we are expecting someone with strong leadership skills to take this role. How would you describe your management style?

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  24. 24.

    As we work with clients on assessing potentials mergers and/or acquisition, valuation is an important skills to possess. How would you go about placing a value on an organization for a client?

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  25. 25.

    In your experience as a Financial Analyst, what do you feel is the best metric to gauge a company's future stock performance?

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  26. 26.

    If you were asked to review a colleague's code that they had written, what key things would you look for?

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  27. 27.

    If you joined the team here at Ernst and Young, how would you build relationships with those that you would be working closely with?

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