Recruiting Season: There’s No Crying in Accounting

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I'm in need of some serious help. Tonight was one of the most humiliating experiences I have had in recent memory. It was "Meet the Professionals" night at my campus. 30 national, regional, and local firms were in attendance. What went wrong? I didn't approach or talk with a single firm representative the entire 45 minutes I was there. My problem? What the hell am I supposed to talk to these people about? I am a Junior, which means I have a whopping 3 weeks of actual accounting curriculum under my belt. Obviously I am not going to be able to have any kind of technical conversation with these people. Another problem I have is that I'm more informed than most accounting students are about how the recruiting process actually works because I read accounting blogs, accounting forums, etc. So I don't feel comfortable asking the dumb or really basic questions. What are some semi-informed questions I could ask these people? What are some conversation starters? I feel like if I could at least start a conversation with these people I would be able to at least keep it up. But what the hell do I open with? Please help GC. I feel utterly depressed, dejected, worthless, and humiliated and I want to cry.
Okay, Junior. I'm going to breakdown your little sob story and hopefully you'll realize how silly this is:
 
I'm in need of some serious help. Tonight was one of the most humiliating experiences I have had in recent memory. – The occasional humiliating experience is good for you. The sooner you realize that laughing these off is the way to go, the better off you'll be. I'm not suggesting you starting soiling yourself in front of colleagues on a regular basis to increase your tolerance but at least try to avoid FREAKING OUT. Yes, emailing Going Concern in a fit of anguish qualifies as freaking out. That's okay though; we love this stuff.
 
I didn't approach or talk with a single firm representative the entire 45 minutes I was there. My problem? What the hell am I supposed to talk to these people about? – Were all these people unattractive and/or smell like the monkey house at your local zoo? Have you ever interacted with another human being? Try chatting up some comely person at one of the booths to find out what they do at their firm. Ask them questions. Answer their questions. ACT INTERESTED (it's better to be sincere, but I know it's hard sometimes). This is how other humans behave.
 
I am a Junior, which means I have a whopping 3 weeks of actual accounting curriculum under my belt. Obviously I am not going to be able to have any kind of technical conversation with these people. – I got news for you, they don't want to have a technical conversation with you. I get that some of you people like discussing what you would write in your comment letter on the latest release from COSO but most people at these events don't give a baker's fuck. Any student that approaches a campus recruiter and starts jabbering about something technical is going to get a blank stare until you shut up. After you walk away, they're going to look at their colleagues wide-eyed and silently mouth, "WHAT. THE. FUCK?"
 
Another problem I have is that I'm more informed than most accounting students are about how the recruiting process actually works because I read accounting blogs, accounting forums, etc. So I don't feel comfortable asking the dumb or really basic questions. – Oh, Christ. Congratulations on being "more informed" than everyone else. So I guess these firms should just pull an offer letter from their secret stack that they keep around JUST IN CASE someone like you came along and wowed them because you are ALL OVER THIS. But since you said exactly nothing, not even "Hi," to anyone, how could they possibly know that you're such a bright and informed recruit? Should they have just known by looking at that thoughtful gaze in your eyes and ran right over to you? At the very least you could have done this:
That would have helped.
 
What are some semi-informed questions I could ask these people? What are some conversation starters?  – I don't know, maybe try the polar bear joke? Or maybe "Hello"?  As far as questions are concerned, this isn't the White House briefing room so you can ask simple questions. "What do you like about your job?" and insist that they don't say, "the people." Everyone says that. It's a bullshit cop-out answer. If they SWEAR to you that "it's the people" then ask specifically, "which people and why?" Most people like talking about themselves so if you make it personal and not just about the firm, you'll get more interesting answers, and thus, more interesting conversations.

Please help GC. I feel utterly depressed, dejected, worthless, and humiliated and I want to cry. – Sigh. Refer to the headline.

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