Before we get into the details of a UWB BAP member’s Fall Recruiting experiences, make sure you are ready to show up in business casual attire to the Professional Meeting tomorrow, Wednesday the 24th starting at 5:45pm in room UW1-010. We will have a triple header with important BAP announcements leading off, second up is Sally Schwartz providing important information about Milgard School Of Business’s Master of Accounting Program at UW Tacoma (good way to get to 225 credits for CPA), an in the three-hole we have Clifton Larson Allen who will be discussing their firm who is in the Top 10 in the Nation and employs over 1,500 CPAs, including 500+ partners. See you all tomorrow… oh, yeah… a little story is below if you have extra time somehow.
Below is opinion based and has only proven results in this particular instance. The story is not intended to be a set of guidlines and may even be the worst way to get a job. Please read the following for what it is… a blog post, but for the many of us who are going through Fall Recruiting for the 1st time, the 2nd time, or not yet… this story is for you.
Before you even start applying for a internship or a job at a CPA firm, you are already getting racked and stacked. Fall Recruiting begins in the Summer and even the previous year if you attend Professional Meetings and other events. From this person’s perspective, your best shot at getting to the final interview table is getting to know many people from the firms you are interested in.
If you are interested, you should respond ASAP to every registration for a recruiting event, I checked and used my Smartphone (simple!). Even if you are not sure if you have the time, make the time to attend every recruiting event you are invited to (yes, the author took vacation days). Many of the events are fun (if you like baseball or BBQs), but remember that you are trying to network and be remembered. I stayed late at a Mariner’s game (they won in the bottom of the 9th!) and made the two connections that helped me get a final interview at the firm. Ask for business cards or contact information and follow up with people you meet. My follow up presented an opportunity to go out to coffee and meet a new recruiter.
Go on UWB BAP office tours and/or schedule your own private office tour with the recruiter. I scheduled two individual office tours at different firms. This gave me the opportunities to personally meet a couple managers of one firm and visit a whole audit team at another firm’s client location. Always be polite to everyone, I had a great conversation with one firm’s receptionist and found out later that he is well liked by everyone in the office and his input is also well received. Do not be afraid to contact friends of friends (with their permission). I found out my buddy’s old roommate was a manager at a firm now.
The first interview seems to be a ‘get-to-know-you’ session where all the firms I interviewed for (three that is) ask you about yourself. Make sure you get to know and thank the recruiter, greeter, other interviewer, or anyone else that represents the firm or career center while you wait. In the interview, I was asked to give a quick introduction of myself and I related my experiences on my resume to skills that seem to be audit staples (work ethic, seeing the big picture, working with customers, etc.). Many behavioral questions were posed to me and I used both my working and college experiences. If you don’t have much work experience, do not be shy to answer these questions with group work, projects, and assignments from college if it is relevant. This first interview is only 30 minutes long, so kmowing the firm and the firm knowing you from Summer/Fall Recruiting is a huge benefit. Have honest questions for the final 5 minutes. I like to use questions that are both about the interviewer and their company. I often asked, “what was your path to where you are now?” Or “where did you graduate from and did you pass the CPA exam before starting your job?” This allows them talk about something comfortable (their own story) and give you some insight into starting at their firm (or another if they started somewhere else). As always, make sure to follow up with the interviewer and the recruiter a day or two later and thank them.
So this is how I basically worked to get to three final interviews this Fall Recruiting season. I applied to only four firms (2 of the Big 4) and the firm I did not get a first interview with was the firm I had the least touch/contact with. I submitted the same resume and attended their Summer Recruiting event, but not having a solid contact at the firm seems to matter more.
The author will provide additional bloggity bloggity when final interviews are done. To give you an idea of how to spend 21+ hours applying to one firm:
3+ hours Attend Summer Recruiting event (+ $ for parking)
2 hours Individual Office Tour
1 hour Coffee with contact and recruiter
2+ hours Tailor resume and cover letter to be specific to the firm
2 hours Firm presentation at UWB BAP and networking
3 hours Meet the Professionals event
0.5 hours 1st interview
6 hours Final interview including Intro, Lunch, and Closing by firm
2 hours Post interview social event