My experience recruiting in public accounting

Even the last person to finish, finished the race.

My recruitment story is a little different from most others.  For starters, I had just finished my first year of university and was highly unaware of what was happening in the world of accounting recruitment.  How do I network?  When do interviews happen?  What’s my password to my school’s career portal?  Despite my unpreparedness, I was fortunate enough to be given an offer during my first attempt at recruitment and have never stopped working towards proving them right in their decision.

What I did wrong:   The first time I spoke with a rep from the firms was at the end of August, right in the midst of the recruiting cycle.  I didn’t do my research ahead of time so as other students were already building good relationships with the recruiting reps, I was asking the basic questions like “what is the firm culture like?”.

What I did right: Despite being late to the recruiting circuit, I was genuine about my questions and passionate about my career choice.  I wasn’t looking for a job, I was looking for a long-term career path.  I’ve been a rep at my firm’s recruiting events, and that authenticity really shines through.

What I did wrong: I missed deadlines.  Stemming from the “not knowing accounting recruited so early” mistake, I ended up missing an application deadline for one of the big firms and missing networking events with other firms.  If you never put yourself in the race, you automatically lose.  Start early, plan ahead, and don’t miss opportunities.

What I did right: Although I didn’t do the traditional recruiting activities like attending networking events and conferences, in actually, I had been working for years towards my career choice.  In high school and university, I worked with my province’s accounting body and worked part time at a small accounting office.  These gave me great experiences and contacts that really helped set me apart, even though I didn’t spend a year getting to know recruiters.

What are your concerns and questions regarding recruitment with public accounting firms?

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