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staff associate quality

Is it just me or has the talent level dipped? Maybe it's just bad luck with the ones assigned to my jobs, but it sure seems like our interview process needs to be streamlined a little. I'm a believer in the one-month grace period for new hires, but not when it comes to common sense. I probably have to extend it to three months, but the training diapers need to come off before busy season. Around the firm, i've heard things ranging from good to lukewarm, which is expected initially. We're not expecting any associates to audit equity, but some of the blank stares I get when i ask them for items that you don't really need to go to college for are surprising. Don't get me wrong, they're still scared to death in this environment, which is a good thing for the team. For those in public accounting, what's your take on the new hires?

Comments

Anonymous said…
Wow, a one month probation period.... In my miserable government job the probation time is six months. During that time you can't even take a single day off. Extended probation periods result in unnecessary eggshell walking though.

My guess is that a lot of kids that join your company have never worked a day in their lives. Probably all products from fancy colleges that the Big4 like and mommy and daddy paid for. These kids are in shock and lack all basic (life) skills. Basically, you are the new mommy and have to help your kiddos with the most basic tasks. I don't envy you.
notfordisplay said…
Well I don't mind holding hands in the beginning and walking them through the process, but after a while, I have to focus on my own work and they're off the training wheels. How long does one have to hold hands? I guess three months now, just to play it safe.
Anonymous said…
Anonymous...My Mommy and Daddy paid for my fancy college undergrad and grad degrees...it feels great! Don't hate..appreciate, congratulate.
Anonymous said…
Jesus, you people are harsh. I recently started and have been on a client about two weeks. I interned with a bank since I used to be a finance major. Training did absolutely nothing to prepare me for the job. I struggled a lot the first week. Granted, I'm now able to do a lot more on my own and do it better, but sometimes I still require some extensive, explicit direction, especially when a task involves about ten different spreadsheets. For the record, I'm paying off my student loans. Thanks.

Not all of us are incompetent.
Anonymous said…
I have been working in auditing for several years, and I agree that it takes staff about a month to get used to working in the grown up world.

Annon- There is a big difference between a probation period in government and at an audit firm. When was the last time that you worked til midnight during your probation period? In auditing not taking a single day off means you work til 10pm Saturday and Sunday too, not like in government where working hard means 8 to 5 everyday with two 15 (most likely 20) minute coffee breaks during the day.
Anonymous said…
I have worked all over the world in many different industries and capacities, so don't think that I am clueless about what else is out there beyond the government. Just to rebut your suggestion that I don't know how to work hard: I am a self made millionaire at age 40.

My government job is not challenging or stressful (if not counting boredom) but that is the whole point of working there. The 8 hours a day pay the same as public but I go home at 4:30 and don't worry about the economy. I earn my real living after 4:30 and that is why I got the government gig. It is just a matter of simple math. Public is not worth it since I would be a cube slave until I turn 65. Because I am not working 14 hours a day for the boss, I can make real money for myself. I will retire early in a few years from now when I am 45 tops.

Seriously, what is the attraction working for free for the boss until 10 pm during the weekend?
Anonymous said…
i'm at a big4 and i agree with you the talent level has dipped. I can tell you though there is no set time you can hold hands... you can't say 1 month or 3 months you are just being unfair to yourself setting high expectations (you will be disappointed). Every one is different some people need a week to pull themselves together and some need a year. You have to know what you're working with... The best you can do is communicate expectations and take it from there.

Anon (who started with "Jesus you people are harsh") - I don't think this post is directed at you and your circumstances... You are on the job 2 weeks not 3 months... get over yourself (yes that's harsh)
Anonymous said…
if we must be more efficient then pls help us by explaining before throwing us sections to do and last year's files. sometimes it is difficult to ask questions because i don't know what or how to ask and i end up trying to figure out things by myself and wasting time :(
Anonymous said…
I have to agree with the previous post. How are you going to tell me tie out this tax provision, the APB25 rollfoward, or the FIN 48 analysis when I have no idea what to tie them to, or what they relate to.

Managers and seniors gotta understand that auditing is never taught in school and should explain the actual procedures to us.
Anonymous said…
It's very difficult to give a set time frame on when new hires should have a handle on things. Why? Because every new hire has a VERY different experience.

They get the mostly-useless group training, then are thrown into things, and their education and training is at the mercy of whatever random senior(s) they end up with. You may have a great senior who takes time to explain everything. Or you may get someone who refuses to answer questions and doesn't care about anything except getting the file done, whether you learn or now.
Anonymous said…
I'm kind of curious what you guys consider a good junior? Efficient? Self sufficient? Asks good questions? All of the above?
Anonymous said…
i think for them, good juniors = geniuses, like babies who know how to walk when they are one day old
itAuditSecurity said…
I've been interviewing and hiring IT audit consultants and I have complained about similar issues. Where are the quality people?

Check out my blog posts on this subject, including the latest one, where one interviewee asked us why we were doing an IT SOX project...

Search for the word "interview" on my blog or click the Employement category.

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