Trainee Hints & Tips

School leaver or Graduate websites, careers advisers, or family and friends can give you good advice on how to tackle job applications. However we’ve put together a few handy hints to help you along the way. Before completing your application form, or attending an assessment day or an interview, please take a few moments to read through our hints & tips pages.

The Application Form

The Application Form

When filling out your application form remember to:

Plan your answers – When applying online, write your answers in a separate document first. You can then check your answers, including your spelling and grammar, before you copy and paste them into the form.

Get to the point – Think about what the question is trying to ask you and then decide what information is most relevant. Try to keep your answers concise, rather than waffling!

Don’t make it up – Your interview is likely to be based around the answers you’ve given on your application, don’t trip yourself up by not being able to talk about this confidently.

Give examples – You are not expected to have lots of experience in everything, particularly if you are just leaving school or university. However you need to be able show examples, however small, of where you’ve taken on responsibility or have dealt with a challenging situation.

Check your form – Ask someone to proof read it carefully, you will have read over your answers a number of times and are therefore more likely to miss simple mistakes. Most jobs require written and communication skills. An application form riddled with grammatical and spelling errors won’t impress, however good the content may be!

Answer all of the questions – Make sure that you answer all of the questions on the application form, they are all relevant and have been included to ensure that we can assess all candidates fairly.

Give yourself time – At MHA MacIntyre Hudson, we read every application form from start to finish, so every bit of content could make a difference. Try not to rush through the application and make sure you review it with a fresh pair of eyes before submitting it.

The Assessment Centre

The Assessment Centre

The assessment centre may not be held in the office/region that you are applying to. Primarily they are held in our London City, North London or Bedford offices, however we will cover reasonable expenses to get to the assessment.

The day will consist of a number of exercises as well as some informal sessions and will be facilitated by members of the HR team. You will also have the opportunity to meet current trainees and Partners of the Firm who will be able to give you a real life insight into what it’s like to work and train at MHA MacIntyre Hudson.

We will give you lots of information about the Firm and our training programmes, however don’t forget this is a two way process so ask as many questions as you would like to of anyone you meet on the day.

Participation is vital, if you don’t participate in the activities then we are not able to score you, so you should ensure that you represent yourself clearly in any group discussion.

Remember to be yourself – your personality is what is most important to us at this stage!


An overview of what to expect on the day:

Group Exercise – One of the key skills we assess is being able to work as part of a team. It is essential that you listen to the instructions at the beginning of the exercise and that you participate in the activity. We will be looking at your ability to grasp the facts and help the group to come to a clear conclusion.

Presentation – You will be required to prepare and present a short individual presentation. The presentation topic will be given to you on the day, so there is nothing to prepare for in advance.

Maths test – This is a timed maths test where we will verify the results of the online test in a pressured environment.

The Interview

The Interview

Be yourself – Interviewers are looking for certain skills for a particular job. But personality is more important, particularly when you are applying for a training contract with us. We can give you the skills you need to become a qualified accountant, however we are looking for people who can bring the right attitude and character to the Firm.

First impressions are key – Always ensure that you attend an interview in business attire, preferably a suit, which is clean and fresh. Simple things like brushing your hair, polishing your shoes and shaking the interviewers’ hand confidently will all help to create a good first impression; we need to know that we can send you to our clients’ premises and you can represent our Firm professionally.

Competency based questions – During the interview all candidates are asked the same opening questions to ensure consistency across interviews. The interviewer will then ask probing questions to follow-up on your responses.  Notes will be taken during the interview in order to assess your performance once the interview has finished and in order to provide feedback.

Be prepared – Before the interview, think about the skills and behaviours that you think are required to be successful in the role. Try to think of examples where you can demonstrate those behaviours in your past experience, no matter how small these may seem. Remember to be honest in these examples, if you are challenged on these then you need to be confident in your response… you are not expected to know everything at this stage!

Make notes and use them – During your preparation you should make notes of the examples you have. You should feel comfortable to refer to these throughout the interview as a prompt, however they should not be used as a script that you read out to the interviewer when asked a relevant question.

Take your time – You shouldn’t feel that you have to immediately jump in to responding to a question.  For example, you can say to the interviewer ‘Please can I take a moment to gather my thoughts’.  Take a moment to think of a specific example that would best demonstrate your capabilities; the interviewer will wait for you.

Listen, respond and be specific – Ensure that you listen carefully and fully understand the question and what is required before responding. When providing an example it is important to demonstrate what you personally did in that situation.  Avoid responding in general terms; the interviewer is not looking for what you might do, but is more interested in what you actually did. Provide clear, concise and informative responses. Provide enough detail so that the interviewer understands the example and so that you are able to demonstrate your ability in that area, but not too much that your key messages are lost.

Any questions?– At the end of any interview you will be invited to ask any questions. Make sure you have done some research on the Firm and on the office you have applied to, and always ensure that you have at least one or two questions that will show you are interested in the role. Make notes of the answers you are given.