September 14, 2019

How To Talk to Public Accounting Recruiters Without Coming Off Like a Tool

Found this gem on Reddit:

I have a recruiters reception coming up soon where I will meet many recruiters from various firms.

I'm only a student so my accounting knowledge is limited to textbook material.

What type of questions do you ask?

Although we've covered this before (repeatedly, at that), it is that time of year so might as well touch on this all important subject once again for all you fresh-faced newbies out there who can barely hold a conversation.

First — and most important — throw that "textbook material" right out the door. No recruiter gives a shit which ASC is your favorite and you're just going to come off like some sick robotic brown-noser if you're spouting off the crap you just learned in accounting class at a recruiting event.

DO: Have an opinion on current accounting events just in case but use it only if you are prompted. Chances are the recruiters will want to talk about anything BUT accounting.

DON'T: Regurgitate everything you just learned in intermediate accounting. No one cares.

Second, two things are always appropriate to discuss at any professional event: sports and the weather. Several things are NEVER appropriate: politics, money, controversial topics, money, the annoying things your drunk roommate does, money… you get the idea.

DO: Ask the recruiters how they spent their summer.

DON'T: Open your conversation with "so, how much money will I make at your firm?" or bring up hot button topics like, say, bombing the crap out of Syria.

Third, remember that your job here is to show that you're going to be a great guy or gal to work with. Since no one wants to work with a robot and/or know-it-all jackhole, the key is to be personable, interesting and somewhat intelligent without scaring people off.

DO: Be genuine. Practice making small talk with strangers if you're really bad at shooting the breeze.

DON'T: Be a suck-up. While you should be able to say why you'd like to work at their firm (even if it's a BS answer like "I appreciate the firm's commitment to diversity and inclusion"), you don't want to overdo it by blowing a bunch of fake smoke up the recruiters' asses.

Fourth, while you're being genuine, you don't want to be too genuine. As Braddock once pointed out, just because "99.99997% of Beta Alpha Psi members join the society because it looks good on a résumé," don't actually admit that to recruiters.

DO: Be real.

DON'T: Be so real you freak people out.

Lastly, if you run out of things to talk about, remember that everyone loves to talk about themselves. So you can always ask the recruiter about themselves and their experience within the firm. Remember though, while I like to say there are no stupid questions, only stupid people, that doesn't quite apply here. Asking stupid questions that could easily be answered by 3 minutes of Googling for the sake of asking questions is a waste of everyone's time.

As always, the peanut gallery is encouraged to drop their wisdom in the comment section.

Have something to add to this story? Give us a shout by email, Twitter, or text/call the tipline at 202-505-8885. As always, all tips are anonymous.

Related articles