Managing Your Job Search
Just when I thought things couldn’t get any busier, the pace has managed to pick up since I last blogged! I’m taking a break now from studying for midterms. Although it can be overwhelming at times, I enjoy the fast pace of the program. I like knowing I’m getting a lot accomplished and that no time is wasted. This is a particularly busy time for those of us going through recruiting.
Meet the Firms
The recruiting process begins with Meet the Firms. This event gives you the chance to learn about many different CPA firms who are looking to hire graduates to start next fall. It takes place over four nights. There is a pretty even representation of every size firm out there. There are representatives from the Big 4, medium-sized national firms, and large and small local firms.
I was in a group of about 10-15 of my classmates. We spent 30 minutes with a firm before rotating to the next room and another firm. Think of it as job interview speed dating! Typically, the firms gave a short presentation, then invited everyone to mingle and talk to each other one-on-one.
I met recruiting staff and managers of the firms who are influential in the hiring process. You definitely want to make a good impression on them and offer a resume. The firms usually also brought new staff members who recruited themselves very recently. Don’t ignore these people! They can give you a lot of honest information about the firm culture and what you would be doing when you first start out.
If the whole process sounds intimidating to you, don’t worry. I am a pretty introverted person and was nervous going into the first night. You will meet so many people that it will be impossible to stay nervous for long. The firm representatives expect you to just walk right up and introduce yourself. The conversation will start to flow naturally in no time.
Once you have gotten to learn about all the firms, you choose which ones could be a fit and apply for an on-campus interview. All the initial interviews are conducted right on campus and you can schedule a time that works best around your classes. It makes it very convenient.
If you are selected for an interview, you will likely be invited to a social at a local restaurant the night before. You will have a chance to feel out the vibe of the firm. You can also meet your interviewer in a casual setting. This made me feel a lot less nervous during the interview.
You never know what you will get in the on-campus interviews. I had some interviewers who were formal, some were laid back. Some asked behavioral questions, some didn’t want to talk accounting at all. The good thing is that by this time you will have had so much preparation and practice talking to recruiters that you’re ready for anything.
Admittedly, it is an intense process. However, as someone who has done the traditional job search in the past, I can say this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. When else in your life will you have the chance to socialize and interview with multiple firms back-to-back over the course of a few weeks? It gives you the confidence that you have evaluated all your options and are making the choice that is truly the best fit for your career.
The final step in the recruiting process is the office visit. At this point, the firms are narrowed down to just a few and it’s time to really start weighing the options. This is where I am currently in the process. I’ll tell you all about that next time!