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Five Most Effective Tricks You Can Use During Your Job Interview

You have mastered the art of drafting flawless cover letters, resumes and job applications and are now receiving invitations for interviews. But do you know what it takes to succeed in the job interview to kick start your career at one of the blue chip firms?

For most fresh graduates, interviewing for a job is a scary, nerve wracking experience for many reasons. While some may find selling themselves unnerving, others have difficulty putting up with unexpected questions.

Fortunately, with the right tips and tricks, interviewing is a skill you can learn. We often hear tips like ‘dress smartly’, ‘be confident’, ‘sit up straight’ and other standard tips and tricks but here we dig deeper to help you ace your graduate job interview and come one step closer to getting the job you want at any organization.

Thorough Research on Financial Reports, Earnings Calls & Blog Posts of the Organization

Most individuals find themselves in a sticky situation when they are asked questions about the organization’s strengths, opportunities and its current standing in the industry. This is because they haven’t done thorough research on the organization and its current standing in the industry.

Content is gold in today’s world and all the big companies like Goldman Sachs and Microsoft have blogs where they publish  earnings calls, quarterly reports and all the latest happenings. Even new start-ups have blogs nowadays which is why it is important to gather as much information as you can by spending a couple of hours perusing through the company’s blog.

Take a look at the latest media releases, service and product information and anything else that can help you in the interview. Focus on the company’s core values to impress the interviewer by discussing situations that shed light on those highly sought-after values.

Suppose you’re interviewing for Google and you’re asked a question, ‘What is the biggest opportunity for Google in the next five years?’ You can answer this question in two ways:

You could either come up with a run-of-the-mill answer that wearable technology will be big since the Apple Watch and Google Glass has already become increasingly popular now or you could refer to Google’s quarterly earnings call and say how Google has currently spent a staggering $5 billion dollars only on display advertising for Google Glass.

The latter shows that you have done your homework and your answers are backed by current happenings in the industry.

Tell the Interviewer What He Wants To Hear

No two interview processes are identical. You may be interviewed by a partner, line manager, recruitment consultant or the HR department depending on the firm and the role. You may be invited for an interview with them individually or in combination. Each of these individuals will have a different agenda for the graduate job interview and so, your approach with each should be tailored accordingly.

The recruitment consultant’s role in the recruitment process is to screen out the unqualified applicants from the ones that meet the employer’s requirements. Essentially, the role of the recruitment consultant is to sell the job to the ideal candidate and sell you to the client if they believe you are a good fit for the job.

When a recruitment consultant calls you, woo them by highlighting your strengths, achievements and pointing out why you are an ideal candidate for the job in question. On the other hand, the HR consultant is the recruitment procedural expert whose job is to make sure the firm complies with all the legal requirements.

They are the ones involved in setting up the recruitment process so you can expect to face a more structured interview from them than anyone else. The HR consultant serves as the first screener from the employer’s side. Your interview with the line manager matters the most because they will determine whether you are the perfect new addition to the team or not.

Here are the two best techniques you should keep in mind to ace the interview:

  • Focus on building a good rapport with the line manager and point out your previous work-related accomplishments during the interview.
  • Brainstorm at least 3 PAR (Problem Action Result) anecdotes in which you highlight a problematic situation that you faced, what you did to solve it and what changed afterwards.

Treat each interviewer differently as if they don’t talk to each other and you will be surprised to see the difference it makes.

Prepare For the ‘Deal Breaker’ Question

Many of us over think and give run-of-the-mill answers like ‘I’m a perfectionist’ when asked, “What’s your weakness?” Others believe that honesty is the best policy and give genuine answers but still fail to understand what this ‘deal breaker’ question is all about.

This question does not require you to admit your weaknesses. It is all about showing how you identified your weakness, what you did to overcome it and what progress you’ve made in turning that weakness into strength. Getting through the job selection process can become a piece of cake if you come up with a compelling answer at this stage.

For instance, don’t just say that you struggle to run efficient meetings. Tell them how you’re trying to improve by drafting an agenda prior to the meeting. Emphasize on how you send the drafts to all the participants to make sure everyone knows what happened in the last meeting and what to do next.

Keep Your Body Language in Check

How you respond to the interview questions is paramount but poor body language may make you seem nervous, under confident and show that you have a tendency to crack under strain.

The best way to combat this problem is to smile, maintain eye contact, listen attentively, nod from time to time and maintain a solid posture. Avoid doing these – slouching, fidgeting with the pen, mumbling and chewing gum.

Think Aloud When Solving Analytical Questions

Sometimes analytical questions are included in the interview as well. Instead of staying silent for a minute and exploding with an answer suddenly, think aloud. Share your calculations and assumptions so the interviewer understands where exactly you’re coming from. Also, the good thing about thinking aloud when answering an analytical question is that it shows your communication and problem solving skills.

Keep these 5 surprisingly effective graduate job interview tricks in mind when you’re interviewing to get the job offer you always wanted. Check out for SHL aptitude test tutorial packs today!

Who Should I Work For: Big Four Or An Investment Bank?

deloitte, Pwc, kpmg, ernst and young, job interview

deloitte, Pwc, kpmg, ernst and young, job interview


Ernst & Young, KPMG, PwC and Deloitte are the most prestigious firms in the professional services sector today. Every year, hundreds of fresh graduates come out with majors in finance or accounting and usually find themselves stuck in a dilemma – to work for one of the big four companies or start a career at an investment bank.

If you’re undecided between working for a big four company and an investment bank, read on to know the pros and cons of working for the big four vs. pursuing a career in investment banking.


With 170,000 employees, Deloitte is the largest firm in terms of manpower. Specializing in financial advisory, consulting, audit and tax, Deloitte LLP ranks number one in the US and around the world.


Deloitte is an ideal career choice for fresh grads for they hire hundreds of entry level employees through different universities.

Deloitte strives to reach out to a broader spectrum of individuals who wish to pursue a career in the accounting industry which is why the company is subdivided into 4 subsidiaries that provide countless job opportunities to individuals in categories like financial advisory services, taxes, consulting, growth enterprise, risk advisory, technology and Deloitte Real Estate.


For most fresh grads, gaining experience in the field of accounting is more important than the salary offered. However, the pay scale is still taken into consideration when applying for a job. The average salary earned by new graduate at Deloitte falls in the bracket of £31-33k.

Job Satisfaction

Here are some stats related to job satisfaction that we’ve picked from an anonymous survey conducted by GreatRated!. 96% employees working at Deloitte feel that the work given to them is both personally challenging and interesting.

92% described the work environment as collegial yet demanding. On the other hand, more than 85% employees agree that that Deloitte offers great rewards both, monetary and nonmonetary. Ample perks are offered by Deloitte including free snacks and beverages, personal travel service, fitness classes, etc.


With its main focus on environmental sustainability and corporate social responsibility, PwC services clients from various industries including pharmaceuticals, aerospace, banks, defence, media and biotechnology.

According to insiders, PwC is seen as the machine of the Big Four – just like the Terminator. The company is seen as the most posh out of the four and generates the most revenue too. However, employees at PwC don’t get enough free time as they normally would at another big four firm.


PwC is one of the best accounting firms to kick start your career in finance. The learning curve at PwC is steep but employees usually have to work under stringent deadlines and pressure. If you like challenging tasks and deal with tough situations, PwC is the place to be to. You’ll also make a lot of industry connections and networks when you start working at PwC.

On another note, this big four company truly values diversity and has a strong commitment towards training and development of its employees. However, one of the major disappointments that new graduates face at beginning their career at PwC is that working late nights and weekends is not uncommon.


An associate with minimum experience of 0-2 years makes earns an average salary of £ 29,406. The salary increases to an average of £ 41,806 once you gain 2-4 years of experience and become a senior associate at the firm.

Job Satisfaction

According to a recent survey conducted by, PwC ranks second in terms of job satisfaction after Deloitte. Even though most employees find the work environment at PwC challenging yet stressful most of the times as they usually have to pitch in more work hours and even work on weekends, PwC stresses upon the wellbeing and psychological health of its employees.

PwC’s Business Fit programme is especially designed to indentify and treat health conditions like mental health issues, knee and back problems, etc. A lot of perks and work benefits are also offered to employees such as longer vacations, retirement benefits, insurance benefits and bonuses.

Ernst & Young

Ernst & Young is a global leader in providing transaction and advisory, assurance and tax services. EY provides its invaluable services to clients from various industries like technology, telecoms, aviation, energy and retail.


Working at Ernst & Young is a pleasant experience for fresh graduates who want to maintain a work-life balance since this firm truly believes in flexibility. Just like PwC, the work environment at Ernst & Young is challenging and provides its employees with great new opportunities to showcase their talents alongside other hugely capable people.

The experience one gains at Ernst & Young lasts a lifetime for it provides its employees the chance to work with the biggest and most thriving businesses in the world.


The average salary earned by an associate at Ernst & Young is £ 28,696. However, once the associate is promoted to the position of senior consultant, he or she may earn up to £ 49,661.

Job Satisfaction

In order to retain employees, Ernst & Young offers amazing perks and work benefits. EY Discounts enable employees to get discounts on everything they buy – from restaurants to computers, cell phones, new and used cars, electronics, movie tickets and personal vacations.

A proper flexible benefits system is also in place that offers work benefits to employees pertaining to health and wellness, retirement, family and parenting, vacations, etc. To enhance the work experience of its valuable work staff, Ernst & Young spends millions of pounds of training and development programs for its employees.


KPMG is a big four accounting firm with a global presence in more than 140 countries. KPMG provides financial accounting services to clients from the government to public sector agencies and even non profit organizations.


To work at KPMG is a dream-come-true for fresh grads and professionals alike. According to Big Four insiders, KPMG works with a ‘work hard, play hard’ mentality; making it one of the best companies to begin a career in financial accounting.

KPMG is also regarded as the friendliest firm out of the Big Four given its friendly work culture and laidback work environment. With plenty of great opportunities to bring one’s talent to the forefront when working with fast-paced career progression, the work experience at KPMG is unlike any other.


The salary range for an audit associate at KPMG is between £ 27,000 and £ 47,242. The average salary earned is £ 32,403.

Job Satisfaction

KPMG believes in rewarding its hard working employees with the best perks and benefits to make them stay. KPMG offers its employees an opportunity to pick and select perks and benefits according to their needs along with standard benefits pertaining to health and wellness, vacation, parenting, financial and retirement, etc.

Why Work For An Investment Bank?

Working at a top notch investment bank like Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase, Merrill Lynch, BNP Paribas, Goldman Sachs, etc. is another great career opportunity for those who want to excel in the field of investment banking.

It is believed that landing a job in an investment bank is relatively more difficult than starting a career at a big four firm. Here we analyze the pros and cons of working at an investment bank in terms of career, salary and job satisfaction.


A career in investment banking is financially rewarding and pretty stable. In public accounting, one has the opportunity to choose from a variety of financial and accounting roles and disciplines.

As you climb the career ladder, financial careers can result in narrower yet more successful positions with higher than average incomes. When it comes to kick starting a career in the investment banking field as a fresh grad, the only barrier to entry is cutthroat competition from competitors.


According to an article published in the International Business Times, salaries for entry level positions at top notch investment banks has now skyrocketed to £ 100,000. This is mainly due to a structural change that has resulted in more fresh graduates working for investment banks as compared to senior staff members.

Job Satisfaction

Even though putting in 80-90 hours a week when working in an investment bank is the norm, young investment bankers are fairly satisfied with their jobs. According to a survey conducted by, it’s not just the high salary that makes investment bankers stay. It’s the work itself that is highly satisfying.

A day in the life of a young investment banker is action packed with challenging work and high pressure situations coupled with great opportunities to showcase their skills.

We hope this detailed comparison on Big Four vs. Investment Banks helps you in making a decision on where to begin your career once you graduate. Log on to for SHL aptitude test tutorial packs today!



aptitude test tutorial

Have you ever wondered how some graduates manage to get top scores on aptitude tests? They must be extremely intelligent and talented people, right? Well, not exactly. Studies have shown that some otherwise extremely ‘brainy’ people could get very low scores on aptitude tests due to a lack of speed, focus or confidence. The reason is two-fold. First, different categories of aptitude tests are designed to test different innate abilities (called aptitudes) such as numerical reasoning, abstract thinking and verbal reasoning. Some who do very well on numerical tests may easily fail the verbal test. In fact, extremely talented people tend to be one-sided so while they may get 100% on one type of aptitude test, they will likely get a very low score or even fail another one.
Second, the aptitude tests that employers (or recruiters) use assess at least two of your innate abilities – and you must meet their benchmarks on both tests. These abilities almost always contradict each other. For example, numerical reasoning ability is quite different from verbal reasoning ability. This implies that the recruiters are not looking for Einsteins (by the way Einstein was far behind his peers in his verbal ability as a child) but just average people who can perform well on the job. Besides, it is quite unusual for a first-time test taker to get top scores on BOTH. Unless … well, unless you know the tricks AND you are not a freakin’ genius because if you were, it would be harder for you to follow these tricks and you would not need the bloody job anyway.
Having conducted some extensive research, below we have summarised our findings. The following are the key techniques used by top aptitude test scorers.
Learn about the exact types of aptitude test questions you may get on a real test. Discover new ways to solve them. This does not mean you are cheating because you are not preparing the answers for real test questions BUT you are learning about question types, data format (data tables, pie charts, etc) to be able to anticipate what cords you will have to cut. Put it in another way, if you were a starting brain surgeon, you would need know to exactly how the contents of the brain look like before you even are allowed to the operation room. This is what it is all about.

Learn about the key shortcut techniques to solve nearly half of the test problems in 15-30 seconds – in order to save time. Imagine you are driving from one city to get to another. How helpful would it be if you knew the shortcuts to get there also avoiding traffic jams and possible road repair situations? You could get there faster, with less stress and with more time to enjoy the scenery. Learning the shortcuts to solve test problems does NOT MEAN you will have to be able to answer each question in 15 seconds. Shortcuts may not exist for some test questions. What you need to learn is how you can get 5 questions out of the way quickly so this adds up to 3-4 minutes of extra time. Then you will be working with less anxiety and more confidence through the rest of aptitude test problems.

Begin to apply your learned techniques in practice tests and anticipate and differentiate various test problems. Unfortunately, this one comes with practice. One erroneous assumption people make is that practice time long time, that it develops over months and years. According to NLP practitioners and reputable psychologists, it is practically possible to achieve automation in a matter of days and even hours. For example, you could improve your speed reading skills in days. You could learn how to throw a basketball into the net accurately in hours. Aptitude tests are not much different. Of course, your results will get better in 1 month than in 1 day, however, you can still improve a lot in several days enough to make a difference on the test day.

Learn to feel like a test champion each time you do a test. Have you ever watched boxing fights of a legendary former undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, Mike Tyson? He would say, “Fear is my friend, I use the fear to reflect it upon my opponent. If I don’t have fear, I don’t fight”. Most novice test takers are really scared before the test. Emotions could interfere with your ability to think straight during the test, however, there is no way to become emotion-free. What you can do, however, is to imagine that recruiters too are scared that you will destroy their testing scheme by a getting a Knock-Out score in half the time allocated for the test thereby leaving them shocked. Learn to feel like a champion like Mike Tyson in his prime and you will have a chance to knock-out the test in the first round.

In sum, the above techniques could help you massively improve your aptitude test score. However, you also need the right tools achieve that. Therefore, we have developed GraduateMonkey aptitude test tutorials to help you along through your journey. Click here to explore our test preparation packs.

How to Maximize Efficiency of Graduates to Pass Exams?

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Graduation doesn’t necessarily guarantee a career right off the bat, much as prospective job applicants would like to believe otherwise.

Graduate job, though one would assume the mere fact that a graduate has gone to school and thus studied would be enough, often have additional requirements expected from the employers involved with graduate recruitment.

Whether these requirements entail aptitude tests for recruitment or graduate ability test, the unfortunate truth of the matter is, many graduates don’t meet these additional requirements employers are looking for when it comes to filling a position with fresh graduates.

With the proper tools, perhaps we can ensure more graduates go on to pass aptitude examinations.

Various companies produce a wide variety of aptitude tests for graduates used by employers every year to test potential graduate recruits on a number of various skills that graduates are expected to have mastered by the time they graduate university.

There’s the SHL tests– among the most commonly used aptitude tests that employers use. Applicants, using a variety of these tests, are evaluated on topics ranging from numeracy, to logical, and even visual awareness. Kenexa reasoning test is another popular subject for employers to test applicants on.

The purpose of these tests is to determine if graduates understand the fundamental skills required by the various positions they may find themselves applying for.

To ensure that the optimal number of graduates are passing examination, it is in turn of utmost importance for graduates to receive the proper tools and preparation they need in order to pass these exams with above passing scores.

There are numerous sites out there offering practice tests meant to allow potential applicants to test their skills before they’re to go in and take the physical test upon job application. These graduate online aptitude tests give applicants a sense of what to expect when taking these exams- from the structure of the test to the kinds of material covered by them.

More sites still offer resources for graduates- from free graduate test videos, to test preparation, and even recruitment test tutorials designed to help graduates conquer the various types of professional sample aptitude tests floating around out there.

To ensure that more graduates are able to successfully pass these exams is to ensure that graduates have the access to different graduate online test portals. To do so is to ensure a robust population of young, bright professionals prepared for numerous situations they may encounter upon entering the job market.

Test results may not be the only factor employers look at when it comes to hiring new applicants- but it’s certainly a key element where upon one’s score can affect whether a young graduate can be guaranteed a career. To neglect the results of companies’ aptitude test is to neglect the chances of one finding employment with a desired company.

Should an applicant be well prepared for taking an aptitude test for recruitment, such examinations can ensure, according to Georgina Clatworthy of Human, that these exams can be “a representative measure of performance similar to actually placing that person in the job.”

With such expectations hinging on the exam itself, it’s no wonder that employers frequently rely on such tests to determine whether an applicant is right for them.

A test for job recruitment can provide employers with a practical method to determine whether an applicant holds the optimal skills and knowledge required to perform the job according to the employer’s expectations and requirements.

Simply put, when a graduate does pass an aptitude test and earns a higher than average score, he or she is signaling to his or her potential employer that they are a competent, well equipped, and optimal employee and well suited for whatever position they’re testing for.

College itself provides the necessary education and training minimally required of any graduate applying for a position. But the name of the university itself does not simply open doors for the graduate entering the job market. If it were that easy, no college student would ever have to worry about their chances of finding their ideal career upon graduation.

Thus, it is up to the graduate applying for work to prepare for recruitment aptitude test and prove to potential employers that they are the ideal candidates suitable for the job the employer is hiring for.

And with the numerous resources available out there for graduates preparing to take aptitude examinations, graduates have the power to prepare themselves and understand the fundamental skills required for any job they choose to apply for.

It takes more than a degree to find one’s ideal career. It requires graduates take on the responsibility of ensuring they are competent and well prepared for whatever requirements an employer may ask of potential recruits.

The ideal career may not fall onto a graduate’s lap overnight but with the right tools and graduate test preparation, a graduate is certain to find one.

Graduate Monkey: Your Key to a Successful Career

So you’re fresh out of college. You’ve worn the cap, you’ve tossed it, and now you’re filling out job application after job application. You’re hunting like a hound for your dream career but as it turns out, it’s not as easy as just graduating and jumping right into a desk with a name plate on it.
As it turns out, finding the perfect job’s going to take a few more steps than that. For one, you’ve got to know how to deal with the aptitude tests.
“What?!”you cry. “More tests? You’re kidding me, aren’t you? I just graduated college. I thought I’d never have to take an exam again!”
But even if you’re fresh out of college and you’ve had your fair share of final exams and midterms to spare, even the idea of taking yet another test can be daunting. If you’re anything like me, you’ve had your fair share of test anxiety. The sleepless nights. Biting your nails to the nubs. That double, maybe triple knot in your stomach.
Even the word exam can inspire a fair amount of terror. Believe me, we’ve all been there. Haven’t you had enough of all these tests?
And what the heck is on these tests anyway?
Well as it turns out, many employers require aptitude tests to know if you, the graduate hunting for work, are right for the job. You’ll be tested under the requirements of the SHL test- which covers a variety of fields. SHL is a company that provides a variety of tests that cover all sorts of ground employers want to make sure you have a good handle on.
There are tests for SHL numerical reasoning, SHL abstract reasoning, SHL logical reasoning, and sometimes, you’ll even be tested on how well you’ve got a handle on your diagrammatic reasoning- or how well you can interpret visual information, like charts or graphs.
Basically, these tests are so your prospective employer can rest assured that, you, the test taker, are no monkey, no sir. Your employer wants to make sure they’re got the right man or woman for the job. And you want to make sure you can take whatever they can dish.
But you’re not alone. There’s help for you out there.
Graduate Monkey is a resource designed to help prepare you for SHL aptitude tests. Offering everything from aptitude test tutorials, aptitude test video tutorials, aptitude test preparation packages, their goal is to help you knock the socks off your employer.
You might be wondering “well, what’s the minimum score you need to pass?” But why not do more than that? With a little help, you can work towards getting the highest score possible.
Employers love aptitude tests. And no two aptitude tests are the same. So the goal of is to give you the right tools provided to ace an aptitude test and to come prepared. There are even practice reasoning tests, in addition to eBooks and tutorial videos to help you get a head start.
After all, many people (as many as three out of four applicants) who apply for a graduate level job never make it past the aptitude test level.
You don’t want to be that guy or girl.
Graduate Monkey offers monthly subscriptions for their test preparation materials- so if you’re interested, there’s a variety of options for you to match whatever kind of budget you’ve got.
Hey, you’re fresh out of college. Chances are, your diploma didn’t come with a dotted treasure map leading to Scrooge McDuck’s swimming pool bank.
If you’re looking to ace your aptitude exams, I highly recommend giving Graduate Monkey a look around because they offer aptitude test 3-in-1 prep packs.
It’s hard enough hunting for work after school. But with the right resources, you can not only find the ideal job, but you can ace whatever aptitude tests your employer dishes at you.
The key to success is having the right tools at hand.
Whether you need to ace a numerical reasoning test, a math test, or show your employer you’re not a monkey’s uncle, having the right idea of what to do on an aptitude test is the best thing you can do to ensure you’ve got it made.
Hey, you’ve spent several years in school. Isn’t it about high time you find the career that you put all your time, money, and gumption into studying for?
Successfully acing an aptitude test can make a huge difference between one day ending up at that desk with your name on it and a thinly sympathetic phone call from the hiring manager “I’m sorry, but you’re just not right for the job.”
Well, with a resource like Graduate Monkey, you could be one step closer to finding the job of your dreams.