The Recruiting Process and Meet the Firms
We are two months into classes and the recruiting process is in full effect. Around 50% of NC State MAC students did not have a job lined up going into the program. As I mentioned in my first blog, the job placement rate of the MAC program is 95%-100% 3 months after graduation, so obviously you can expect a very interesting, intense, exhausting, but rewarding experience throughout the recruiting process.
Before classes start you will have the opportunity to submit your resume to MAC Career Services and attend a one-on-one session discussing your resume and making it look as professional as possible. Everyone is required to enroll in the 1 credit class, ACC 600 – Managerial and Career Effectiveness. This class typically meets once a week. Some topics in the 600 class include a presentation by Brooks Brothers on how to dress for success, a session with advice on interviewing, how to setup your elevator speech, mock interviews with feedback, and a presentation by Sharon Hill on business etiquette.
Meet the Firms
The Meet the Firms nights are spread out in 2 weeks. During the first 4 events I had the chance to meet 20+ public accounting firms, 5-6 firms each night. The event takes place at the McKimmon Center after classes and each firm has 30 minutes for their session. Some firms have a little presentation prepared, some try to do fun activities and get you engaged, some firms break you off intro groups to let you talk to individuals currently working for their firm. The 5th event is a corporate and government expo, pretty much the same thing just with corporations and government entities looking to hire for their accounting positions. I have to be honest, those 5 events are extremely exhausting, but very rewarding. I had the chance to get to know MANY firms that I didn’t even know about before, but most importantly I talked to a lot of people! Some of them just started their jobs and it is always great to talk to those people because they can answer all your questions relating to their transition into the work force right out of college. They can give you great advice on recruiting and how you can determine what firm would be the best fit for you. Then you have the people that have been with the firm for a few years, those people can give you great insight on the firm’s culture, why they like to work for their firm, and what they think distinguishes their firm from others. And lastly you have the chance to talk to managers, senior managers, directors, and even partners. You want to make sure you show your best side because those people have the most say when it comes to inviting students for interviews.
Pre-Interview Socials and Campus Interviews
After the Meet the Firms events you will have to apply to the firms that you are interested in through NC States job site ePACK. After that you have to wait about a week and hope that you get an invitation to interview. The firms that want to interview you will invite you to a pre-interview social the night before the actual interviews. Those events are a great way for you to determine what the firm’s culture is like and how the employees interact with each other. They are also the best part about recruiting, at least in my opinion, you get to talk to many people in a somewhat informal environment. Most of the firms will introduce you to your interviewer and you get a chance to introduce yourself and figure out what type of interviewer this person might be – strict behavioral questions, conversational, or a mix of both. The actual interviews are held on campus and you can pick a time from morning till afternoon that works best for you. Interviews are scheduled for 30 minutes
Office Visits and 2nd Round Interviews
If you did a good job during 1st round interviews the firm will invite you to their office for 2nd round interviews. The location is dependent on which office you want to work for, if you want to work in Atlanta for example you should communicate that to the firm’s recruiter either at the Meet the Firms event or after. You should only accept 2nd round interviews if you have a sincere interest in the firm because you don’t want to waste your or their time. If 2nd round interviews go well you well get a job offer and you will have a certain amount of time to either decline or accept.
Advice for the Recruiting Process
I do have a few hints for anyone going through the recruiting process in the future:
- Dress for success: Make sure you look sharp and polished because people will remember you and you want to make a good first impression
- Ask questions: Make sure that you are asking questions that will help you determine if you like the company or not. For example ask about their office locations, their office culture, and ask people that work for the firms about their experience and why they picked their company, ask for opportunities to grow, CPE, training and transitioning into the job etc.
- Thank you emails: Make sure you ask about business cards and write thank you emails to whoever you talked to. Tell them that you are sincerely interested in the firm and that you will apply/already applied.
- Talk to many people: Make sure you talk to a good mix of people. People that just started their job but also people that have been in it for a long time. I talked to directors and partners and recruiters told me that those people personally added me to the list of who they wanted to interview. But it also important to talk to people that have just started to learn about why they picked the firm and how the first weeks have been like for them. Remember that you only have 30 minutes though. You don’t want to talk to 6+ people because chances are that you will not have a deep conversation with them and they won’t remember you. My advice is to pick 1 or 2 people to talk to and make sure they get to know you and you get to know them.
- Don’t be nervous: No need to be terrified or stressed! All employers know that you probably do not know anything about the job that you are interviewing for (unless you had an internship with that company). You will get the necessary training before they throw work at you.
- Be yourself: This is the advice that I have been getting a lot throughout the recruiting process and it is true! None of my interviews have been difficult, pretty much all of them were very conversational. The firm wants to get to know you and see if you are a good match. They clearly know that you are smart because you already made it into the MAC program. It is all about your character! So do not pretend to be someone that you are not or pretend to be the person you think they are looking for. The firm AND YOU are trying to figure out if it is a good match. And you will know which firm is the one that you should work for, it’s a gut feeling they say.
I hope this was helpful. Please comment if you have any questions! Please make sure to follow us on Twitter @NcstateMAC.