DanHi guys and welcome. My name is Dan and this is Deyell and we are the Co-Chairs of the Queen’s Accounting Association. You’re probably here because you’re planning on going through accounting recruiting season over the next few weeks. It really springs up on you. What’s a better welcome back than having a huge recruiting networking session the first Tuesday of class. We know. We both went through recruiting last year and spent our summers at KPMG and PwC so this evening we’re hoping to share with you what we learned from going through it and also what we know about recruiting from being on the other side of the fence. So our goal is to get you set for the weeks to come.
DeyellWe’re going to be going over a number of things, talking about the recruiting timeline, general overview and expectations, tips on how to get hired, then specifically going into details on the info sessions, resume and cover letter writing, the interview process, offers, and what not to do.
DeyellSo here is a copy of a calendar we have of what’s to come. You’ll see that Tuesday evening is the firm info session, which it’s absolutely essential you attend if you want to get hired. Then throughout the week, resume/cover letters will be coming due online. The following week is when interviews will most likely be. You’ll probably hear that you’ve received and interview with a firm a few days after your submit the resume and then you’ll have a couple of days to prep. Next you’ll hear back whether or not you got an offer. Usually they’ll call you. And the amount of time it takes depends on the firm. We also have a few QAA events over the next 2 weeks to continue supporting you throughout the process.
DeyellSo Panel of Interns is this Wednesday evening. We’ll have 2 interns from each firm sit and answer your questions. It’s good cause it will help you get a better understanding of what a summer internship is like at each firm. It’s pretty crucial to explore the culture, figure out where your best fit it. And this event will be especially important this year since the info session is combined so harder to get a feel for individual cultures
Deyellthe following Monday we’ll have Coach and Coffee session where you get to have a one on one coffee sessions before interviews start. You guys are matched up with a coach of their firm of choice. I did it last year and found it was great for interview tips, learning about the firm, its culture, what its summer internships are like, etc.
DanGrades – firms use grades in order to project likelihood that you’ll pass the UFE. Minimum standard is B – B+ or around 75-77. Higher importance placed on CA prerequisites. Making yourself known to recruiters - in a pile of hundreds of resumes, if the recruiter already knows you it increases your chances of getting picked. Participating in firm sponsored – conferences and case competitions, attending firm summer leadership conferences and recruiting events (KPMG Ace the Case, Fast Forward, Executive Look, volunteering, PwC Brilliant Futures, DLNC, E&Y Young Leaders, Coffee Chats, etc), seek out positions on committees with interaction with firm recruiters i.e. sponsorship, industry liaison. Networking – networking sessions, conferences, keep in touch with contacts. Follow up with phone calls, ask to go for coffee/lunch if you’re in the city. Also network with students that have done an internship there already. Firms often rely on these students to recommend other students for jobs. Put yourself in situations to work with these students ie. Group projects, committees, etc.Apply early on – try in 2nd or 3rd year to improve your chances for 4th year, even if you don’t think you’ll get the offer the first time. Firms hire roughly half as many summer interns as full-time positions. This should not deter 3rd years from applying. The experience gained from going through recruiting will benefit your chances in 4th year. Ie. Familiar with application process, interview experience, many of the same recruiting teams. What do recruiters look for? technical skills – written & verbal communication, analytical skills, flexibility/multi-tasking, planning & organizing- and soft skills – leadership, teamwork/relationship building, drive & resilience, accountability, initiative. You can attain these skills through school, extra curriculars, work.
DeyellLadies, most of recruiting season you’ll be in business formal. I’d recommend always go with business formal to be safe unless the firm indicates that they are cool with business casual, for example maybe for the pre-interview dinner. Here we have 2 lovely ladies sporting the correct attire, we have one business formal, for girls this is a full suit, skirt or pants, a nice blouse and black heels. You want it to fit right, not too tight, no cleavage showing, skirt to the knee. Business casual for girls you don’t require a full suit. Maybe a skirt or pants and a nice blouse. Perhaps a dress and blazer. Again opt for heels. For make-up, keep it pretty neutral and subtle, nothing overstated. Last recruiting season I would usually do a bit of eyeliner and mascara, nothing crazy. Hair, just make sure it looks like you’ve put some effort into it. Pulled back and down both work. DanMen,
DeyellOur info session is a combined session for all 4 firms taking place Tuesday the 10th at Bio Sci from about 5:30-7PM for summer interns and 7:15-8:45 for full time. This is the second time they are putting all 4 firms together rather than having 4 separate nights which makes it a lot harder to make a positive impression with each firm in such a short time so I’d recommend you definitely plan to attend from start to finish and do your best to make strong connections with each firm in an efficient manner. When you get there, you’ll have a chance to walk around to different corners of the room and talk to reps. It’s a chance for you guys to display social skills the firm is looking for. It’ll likely be quite similar to CA night for those of you who attended last year. Pre-Networking Tips:Do your research – know the dates that the firms are visiting campus, look on their websites to learn about various initiatives that may be relevant to you and that you would like to be involved in. Don’t ask questions that you could easily answer for yourself by spending a few minutes looking on the firm’s website for. Your time is much more impactful if you are asking questions that are personal to you. Have a plan – Have a strategy for the day of and know what firms you would like to spend time talking to. Have an idea of which representatives will be there and do a bit of research on their profiles. Also, have an idea of what questions you would like to ask them ahead of time.Prepare insightful questions – many people ask things like ‘what do you do in a day’ or ‘what type of clients do you work with’. These are types of questions you might ask a staff accountant who is new at their job, but when you’re talking to a manager or partner, you want to ask questions that demonstrate you have an understanding of the profession. You don’t need to be an expert on everything accounting-relatedbut your questions should lead to a discussion that you can participate in too instead of asking a question and have the other person blab for 10 minutes. That doesn’t allow you to make an impression on them. Before attending, you should come up with a list of 5-10 questions that you would feel comfortable asking and discussing. (Possibly even general questions about your interests outside of work and school, i.e. sports) Asking insightful questions will help you distinguish yourself from other students that are just asking those generic questions, and the conversations that come out of them will allow you to gauge the personality of the firm and whether you would be a good fit. During and Post Networking tips:Relax and be genuine – the firms are there because they want to talk to you! You are at this event because you are from a great business school and the firms are interested in getting to know you. Also, be genuine, representatives will know you are asking a questions you think they want to hear instead of asking for information you truly want to know. If they can turn the question back around on you and you don’t have an answer, they will know there wasn’t a lot of thought behind the question. Also avoid asking question after question after question, remember this isn’t an interrogation. The conversation is two way, you need to allow the recruiter an opportunity to get to know you as well.Don’t wait to talk to the recruiting manager - lots students will be swarming around the recruiting manager and it’s a waste of time to wait in the crowd to ask a question especially with such limited time. It’s better to walk around and talk with other members of the firm whether that’s partners managers, senior accountants, staff accountants, and even summer interns. This is because the following day, a list of students who attended will be circulated and everyone will be asked to contribute names of students who impressed them. They actually rely on summer interns’ opinions pretty heavily since they know these are the people that interact with potential recruits on a regular basis, in class, in group projects, committees, etc. It’s also good to talk to people from every level because you might meet a partner or manager that is involved in recruiting so you might interview with someone you met which will make you feel a lot more comfortable and at ease than if it were a complete stranger. Team up if you’re shy – if you’re new to networking pair up with a couple of classmates and walk around the room together. Most reps will be friendly so after a bit of practice you should get the hang of it andbe okay to do it on your own. But after you get the hang of it definitely split up.Know when to say goodbye – If you’ve said what you need to say and gained the information you would like, don’t be afraid to move on, the recruiter will appreciate this! Exit tactfully by saying something like “It was so nice to meet you, I’m going to take the opportunity to meet more representatives from your firm, thank you so much for your time!” Also be respectful of the reps, don’t wait until the last second when the crowd is leaving to jump on a chance to talk to them. They travel for hours and talk to huge numbers of students so when the event is dying down, even if you may think this is a prime time talk to them with less students around, they are looking forward to wrapping things up. Being respectful of their time will also show you have good time management skills yourself. Follow up – Some students have a habit of asking for and giving out business cards to everyone they met. But for example if you’re standing in a big group and you only get one question into the conversation and haven’t really made a connection or impression, there’s not really any point in exchanging cards. I’d say you should only exchange business cards with a firm rep if you have had a good conversation with them. Then you can follow up the next day by sending a brief email or phone call saying you enjoyed meeting them and thanking them for speaking to you and it’s really great to add a personal touch like something you discussed so that they can remember who you are and what you talked about, since they’ll have seen lots of different faces throughout the night.
DeyellFormality Resumes are generally a formality. Firms usually know who they want to interview before resumes are even submitted. These are students that have been recommended or have effectively made themselves known to recruiters through networking sessions, getting involved in firm events over the summer, etc. Firms will read resumes to confirm that they wish to interview them and provide the interviewer with background information. Keep it Simple and ConservativeAvoid colour. Use black font on 8 ½ x 11 inch white paper. I’d say don’t attempt to differentiate yourself by style of your resumePrevious accounting experience is not required to be hired. Any job where you interacted with customers or coworkers, organize tasks, supervise others, etc is an asset. extra curricular activities should be recent. Do not include anything from high school unless it’s outstanding. 1 page each Recruiters have hundreds of resumes to read over. If yours is more than 1 page they’ll probably think you’re too long-winded.
Dan- date the cover letter & resume are due - name and address- company name and address- opening salutation- introductory paragraph – introduces who you are and the position you are applying for- personal paragraph – briefly highlights some of the qualities on your resume- closing paragraph – provides additional contact information and thanks the recruiting team- closing salutation and signatureIn the personal paragraph, mention the name of someone at the firm you met at a recruiting event or info-session to whom you made a positive impression.
DeyellInclude your contact info, education, work experience, extra curricular involvement. And try to tie the tasks you perform at work and in extra curriculars to the skills you used or characteristics you exhibited, skills that they are looking for, for example: Communication, organizational, analytical, leadership, teamwork, commitment.
DanDeciding Factor The interview process can be intimidating because it primarily determines which students receive offers. Being informed and properly prepared is critical to making a good impression.What to Expect Firms schedule interviews through the BCC. When you arrive there will be a waiting area where a member of the firm will greet you and chat with you while waiting. Interviews typically last an hour and during that time you’ll meet with a partner and a manager either separately for 30 minutes each or together. Most partners and managers who conduct interviews are involved throughout the entire recruiting process, so there’s a chance of having met them at an info-session.Questions You will not be asked questions about accounting or audit. The firm assesses technical knowledge based on your transcripts. The questions will be behavioural – the firm wants to know whether you have the social skills and personality to be able to interact with co-workers and clients. Auditing is a people based profession, so you have to present yourself as someone who is comfortable talking with others. Preparation The best way of preparing for the interview is to research behavioural-type question and brainstorm potential responses. If you feel you need practice in an interview setting, the BCC offers mock interview sessions or you can get a friend or committee member to interview you. On the BCC website you can even find reports that students wrote on their interviews with specific firms. So for example you could look up what questions PwC asks every year and it might come up again. Last year I interviewed with 3 firms and to prepare, I literally looked up like 50 behavioural questions and wrote out answers to all of them in word and then I practiced them in front of the mirror. Just so I knew I would have a lot to talk about no matter what question was thrown my way. Some people are better at thinking on the spot but you’d be surprised how much of a difference it makes if you make yourself think up past experiences and situations ahead of time rather than having to do it when there’s pressure on you. The interviewers generally aren’t intimidating. They want to bring out the best in you and allow yourself to relax and be yourself. I interviewed with 3 firms last year and there was only 1 30 minute session where they were asking me specific questions and grading me on my answers. With all the other firms, it was more of a conversation, talking about my resume, chatting about Queen’s and so on. Selecting Candidates A common misconception about recruiting is that students feel they are competing with each other for offers. Lots of students believe that their chances of getting a job depend on how they compare to their classmates. In actuality, firms judge students on an individual basis. If the interviewers believe that you demonstrate the qualities they are looking for, they will make an offer regardless of how many offers have already been made at Queen’s. Firms do not make a fixed number of offers but rather seek to fall within a range they feel is sufficient. For example, last year PwC took 5 summer interns – this past summer they took over ten. Remember that some students receive multiple offers, so firms have to account for the fact that not all offers will be accepted.
DanIf you’re lucky enough to receive more than one offer, you’ll have to make a decision that’s right for you based on a couple of factors. Salary and Benefits The least relevant factor when deciding on a firm is starting salary & benefits offered. They are the same for new hires in the same city for every firm. Also don’t start speculating as to which firm will pay higher in the future – CA firms pay competitively across, otherwise there would be a mass migration form one firm to another, which hasn’t happened yet. UFE Program Some students pick a firm based on their UFE program. Some only apply to the Big 4 because they think that that smaller firms have inadequate programs. In reality, all firms invest heavily in their UFE programs. It is in their interest for all their writers to pass. Wherever you choose, you will have the resources necessary to write the UFE. In fact, last year Queen’s had a UFE pass rate of 100% so clearly no one put themselves at an advantage over others by picking one firm over another.Clients Two of the most relevant factors in making your decision are clients and culture of the firm. Each firm has 3 types of clients: public corporations, private owner-managed businesses and not-for-profit or public sector entities. The actual mix of clients’ differs between firm and city. Accounting firms in downtown Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Calgary service mostly public corporations and the smaller firms or offices outside the city will service smaller clients. The advantage of working downtown is dealing with complex businesses and meeting many people. The advantage of working on smaller clients is being exposed todifferent areas of the audit file and switching clients more often. The clients you work on will have a significant impact on your career progress, so it’s important that you get your preference. Culture of the firm is a function of the people working there. The average age of employees, attitude towards social functions, predominant religious or ethnic background, dress code, etc. all contribute to the ‘feel’ of the firm. Selecting a firm which matches your preference is key because you will constantly be interacting with your co-workers. A good way to gauge the culture of the firm is to see which firms your classmates have chosen to join. If people with similar personalities are joining the same firm this is likely to reflect the culture of the firm. As a result, it is beneficial to delay your decision. There is no need to respond immediately to your offer letters and by doing so, you could overlook some crucial information. So if you have many offers, take your time. See where your friends are going, and if you’re having a really hard time deciding, talk to people at the firm to learn more about the culture or inquire about clients.What line of service would be the right fit for you?Some firms require students to select which line of service they would like to apply for. In most cases you are asked to select between Tax and Audit. Audit is the more traditional route that you have most likely heard all about: working in teams, traveling to clients, ….. (dan can add more here). However, choosing to apply for a summer internship or full-time position in a non-traditional line of service, such as tax or financial advisory, is becoming more and more popular. Working in tax is different from audit for a large variety of reasons, a few of which include: Working in a more one-on-one environment with senior associates and managers, having your own desk in the office, developing your problem-solving and technical skills by being a part of a very value-added service and performing a large amount of research as a part of various assignments. Corporate Advisory, on the other hand, is more finance based. Neither Deyell nor I have experience in that line of service, however, if you are interested in an internship experience that is more finance focused, let us know after the session and we can put you in touch with a friend of ours who has had that experience.
DeyellDo not miss a recruiting event because of school – this is particularly the case for info-sessions because firms collect the names of students during registration, some of the people in attendance will also be involved in the interview process and it is beneficial to meet them beforehand, and talking with members of the firm will help you gauge its culture and whether you would be a good fit. Seeing as recruiting happens right at the beginning of the school year, there is plenty of time to catch-up if you miss a class. Besides, recruiting events will more directly benefit you ability to secure a job then going to class. You go to class to get good grades so that you can get a job upon employment. But missing one class is nothing compared to missing a recruiting event that could singularly determine whether you make a connection that will get you an interview. If you are unable to attend an info-session because of an exam or assignment, talk to the prof about changing the due date. Do not speak negatively about another student or firm – When talking to a firm rep, do not market yourself as being better than other students. Similarly do not suggest that one firm is better than the others. Do not limit your options – it is in a student’s best interest to apply to as many firms as possible. Some students choose not to apply to a firm if it is not their first preference or they believe that the likelihood of being hired is very low. This is not advisable. First, if you receive an offer form a firm that is not your first preference, then you still have the option of rejecting the offer. Second, students tend to underestimate their chances of being hired because of false assumptions. For example, a student might falsely assume that a firm will not offer them a full-time position if they were not offered a summer internship. However, firms hire many more students for full-time work. The only acceptable reason for not applying to a firm is lack of time. Don’t stop trying – Recruiting at Queen’s is very competitive – there are lots of amazing candidates. Don’t focus on not receiving an interview or offer but on the opportunities that are still available and what you have learned through the process so you can improve for next time.
DeyellIf you apply for an summer internship and don’t receive an offer it’s not a big issue as firms hire many more students for full-time work than they do summer positions. So students who do not receive summer work are still eligible and are encouraged to apply for a full-time position the following year.If you don’t receive a full time offer from a big 4, there are many other accounting opportunities, medium firms such as BDO, Grant Thornton and smaller local firms. All firms will want to invest in a good UFE program, many small firms will send CA students to prep sessions put on by the big 4. And outside of public accounting, there are now CA training office’s. like Bell or Telus. Anyone can sign up to be a CA Training Office as long as they have a CA at the company.
Presented by the Queen’s
• Recruiting Season Timeline
• Improving Your Chance of Getting Hired
• How to Dress
• Firm Information Sessions
• Resume & Cover Letter
• Pre-interview Dinner
• What Not to Do
Recruiting Season Timeline
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
QAA Recruiting Info
Big 4 Info Session
QAA Panel of Interns
application due: PwC, E&Y,
application due: KPMG
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
QAA Coach and Coffee
( 6:00 pm)
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
Panel of Interns
KPMG: James Bok & Eve Hurowitz
PwC: Roslyn McLarty & Mike Debiasio
E&Y: Devesh Melwani & Laura Phillips
Deloitte: Andrew Ferizovic & Kelsey Keane
Improving Your Chances of Getting
Hired – What do recruiters look for?
• Making Yourself Known
• Networking and following up
• Apply Early
Dressing Throughout Recruiting
• Women and Men Walk through
• Business Formal
• Business Casual
• What to Expect
▫ Combined Information Session
▫ Mix & Mingle
• Pre-Networking Event
▫ Do your research
▫ Have a plan
▫ Prepare insightful questions
• During and Post Networking Event
▫ Relax and be genuine
▫ Don’t wait to talk to the recruiting manager
▫ Team Up
▫ Know when to say goodbye
▫ Follow up
• For Staff/Seniors
▫ What is the biggest difference between being a student and
working in audit? Do you have suggestions for making the
▫ What factors should I consider when it comes time to choose
the types of clients I want to work with?
▫ Did you consider a designation other than CA? Has the
profession met your expectations so far?
• For Managers/Partners
▫ What changes do you foresee in the profession and how will this
impact someone who is starting their career in audit?
▫ Students have the option of obtaining their CA outside of the
traditional route. Besides a background in audit, what would a
student learn by working at a firm that they might not be learn
by pursuing an alternative course.
Resume & Cover Letter
• Simple and Conservative
• Standard font size and colour
• Previous Accounting Experience not Required
• Keep it Recent
• Do not lie or embellish, but don’t be afraid to be
• Keep it at one page each
• No more than one page in length
▫ Date the cover letter & resume are due
▫ Company name and address
▫ Opening salutation
▫ Introductory paragraph
▫ Personal paragraph
▫ Closing salutation and signature
• This is your chance to get to know the recruiters
• The firms are looking for people they want to
work with and that can develop relationships
with clients – make your personality shine
• Avoid technical or generic questions – get to
know who you’re sitting with
• Don’t be the one person ordering a rum and coke
when everyone else is drinking wine
• Deciding Factor
• What to Expect
• Behavioural (not Technical) Questions
▫ Check the BCC for questions previously asked by
• Selecting Candidates
Offer Party / Dinner
• Have a good time and be excited
• Be yourself
• Stay professional
• Pretend it’s a first date – no religion, politics, or
sexual jokes even if you are comfortable with
the people you are with
• Don’t mention other firms, even if you have an
• A smile goes a long way
Choosing a Firm and Line of Service
▫ Salary & Benefits
▫ UFE Program
• Line of Service
▫ Tax vs Audit vs Corporate Advisory
What Not to Do
• Do Not Miss a Recruiting Event
• Do Not Speak Negatively
• Do Not Limit Your Options
• Do Not Stop Trying
If You Don’t Receive an Offer
• Keep Trying
• Learn from the Experience
• Thank the Firm and ask for Feedback