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Interviewing

This is to address a comment concerning the interview process

"just curious how hiring has changed, if at all, since the massive layoffs? "

Hiring students at the staff associate level has dipped a little bit, but nothing out of the ordinary.
At that level, billing rates are the lowest and so we can afford to have staff at different clients. The 2nd year associate position is a little more tricky because billing rates are higher and they can't senior engagements. Since we really need a new influx of staff every year, there can never be a hiring freeze.

I was wondering how you choose which candidates to recommend for offers? Is it a gut feeling? or are there guidelines that you have to follow?

There are guidelines...it should be similar at all firms..but communication skills, leadership skills, teamwork, and a few other skills are what we focus on. You have to make a good impression on the interviewer, that's really the biggest key. Don't show off too much nervousness, do NOT be cocky or over-confident, as this is a big turnoff for interviewers. One kid had a 4.0 and a great resume, but wasn't given an offer because he came across as uninterested.
The candidates that I said yes to were candidates that a) were poised b) understood what they were applying for c) could communicate properly d) didn't apply just for the sake of applying, but actually showed a level of interest in it..and e) had a personality that can mesh with anyone without butting heads with too many people.
The ones I said no too were pretty much the ones that failed some of my informal guidelines above

I've heard lots of "theories" as to why my friends didn't get offers, from GPA to racial preferences.

All the GPA really does is get you the interview. After that ,it really comes down to you and not your resume. In terms of racial preferences, the firms do a pretty good job at being diverse and accepting diversity. Sure, there are hidden unconscious biases on the interviewer's part, but I think the biggest issue is communication (for international students). If one can communicate properly and eloquently, they'll be in good shape.

It's all about impression though, impress the interviewers, and you're golden.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Hey, thanks for this blog... I've been reading it since the beginning of 2008.

One quick question: I have signed an offer to work at a Big Four firm with the audit practice after my graduation at 2009. However, with the recent layoffs at the Big Four, do you think they will rescind offers to the new associates?

I have heard that some mid-tiers (BDO and others) are beginning to rescind offers.

Thanks,
A Concerned College Senior
notfordisplay said…
If you got an offer from a big 4 firm, you should be in pretty good shape. Unless something unforeseen happens over the next few months, I really can't see a firm rescind an offer. I'm really surprised BDO has started to rescind offers. If anything, firms would have cut down on offering jobs. So don't concern yourself with whether you're going to lose your job offer. We still need an influx of staff every year regardless of the economy.
Anonymous said…
Awesome!
Thanks for your prompt reply!
I can sleep a little better at night now.

Sincerely,
Enormously Less Concerned Senior
Anonymous said…
I am a recent graduate and seeking a job at accounting firm(any size). Also I'm now concentrating in studying CPA exam. I already took 2 sections and plan to finish the rest by the end of Feb. Do you think that passing the exam(all 4 section) would give an advantage for the entry-level job seeking?
What were the impressive questions that you asked by candidates when you were interviewing them? It would be appreciated if you answer my questions.

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