Public Practice Recruit Series: Top 10 Mistakes Made During Fall Recruit

By Stephanie Snowden, Student Recruitment Officer CPABC

Fall recruit can be stressful for most university students. To make your experience more impactful, here are some things to not do during the recruitment process.

  1. Not attending networking sessions

Attending networking events can be difficult with a full academic schedule. However, making connections is a key component of public practice recruit. Establishing personal connections greatly improves your chances of being given an offer. You can find out what events are taking place by connecting with the career center, your accounting club, and by visiting the firm’s website.

Tip: Follow the firms on LinkedIn and other social media channels. They often post when open houses are being held.

  1. Not maintaining a professional online presence

It should not come as a surprise that future employers will search for you online. Ensure that all your accounts are updated and appropriate – especially your LinkedIn Profile. Take some time to ensure that your profile has a professional photo and current information.

  1. Coming unprepared to a networking event

Attending a networking event without being fully prepared can negatively impact you. There are a few things students should do before coming to an event, which include:

  • Coming with ample amount of business cards
  • Researching the firm ahead of time (e.g. their culture, their clients, their services)
  • Practicing your handshake – firm, but not too firm
  1. Only talking about accounting at networking events

Recruiters are people too. Accounting can be relevant to speak about in some situations, but try to ask questions about the person you are speaking with or reveal something about yourself that is not related to accounting. This gives the firm representative a sense of who you are and can help form natural bonds. This is critical when they are assessing whether you would fit within the team.

  1. Not knowing when to leave a conversation

Lingering with one firm representative for an overly extended period of time is inadvisable. The best strategy for fall recruitment should be to meet as many people possible from as many firms as possible. Keep your conversations short and move on to the next person.

  1. Sticking with your friends the whole time

Networking can be uncomfortable, especially when you have not attended many events before. However, sticking with your friend the entire time can inhibit your ability to make connections with firm representatives. Break out of your comfort zone and meet as many people as possible!

  1. Submitting your resume and cover letter without proofreading

It happens every year: A student will send in their application but address it to the wrong firm. Before you submit anything, re-read through all written content (including emails) and give yourself ample time to submit documents to avoid rushing.

  1. Not preparing enough for interviews

If you are given the opportunity to interview with a firm, ensure that you are well prepared. Some things to do to prepare yourself:

  • print extra copies of your resume
  • be nice to everyone you meet in the office (including the receptionist)
  • practice the STAR interview method
  • shake hands before and after the interview
  • send a follow-up email to thank them for their time
  1. Selectively engaging with firm representatives

If a partner of a firm is attending a networking event it would be a good opportunity to introduce yourself to them. However, the decision of who receives an offer is made collectively – from junior recruiters to the partners. Make sure you connect with everyone you meet, not just senior-level representatives.

  1. Rescinding an offer after it is accepted

The public practice recruitment process should be undertaken in a professional manner. If you are given an offer by a firm and accept it, honor that agreement. If you later decline that offer because you were given another opportunity, the action will likely impact your reputation as a professional.