Career Search 101

Wow! What a long strange trip it’s been! Ever since the recruiting process for MAcc students started a few weeks ago, I’ve been uber-busy! Finally, fall recruitment is beginning to come to a close, and I’ve just now had time to think how lucky I am! I knew the on-campus recruitment process is a big deal at Fisher, but I had no idea of just how intense it is!

It’s times like these when I sit back and wonder, how did I come to be an accountant! One thing I do know is that my career goals have changed since the 1st grade, when I wanted, “to be a lawyer, or work at McDonald’s.”

Even though formal recruitment didn’t begin until mid-October, there were several recommended tasks to perform prior to the process. In August, students were encouraged to think about their future career goals and complete several “self-branding” worksheets.

Once school began, there were numerous opportunities for students to attend events, or socials, sponsored by accounting firms. Attending these events is a must, as it is important to meet as many people from each firm as you can. It makes the formal interview process much easier, as you’ll be acquainted with people who may be interviewing you.

The day before school started in September, Fisher sponsored a “MAcc Boot Camp” to get students prepared for the upcoming recruitment process. This was not mandatory for MAcc students, but I would strongly encourage everyone looking for a job to attend!

At Boot Camp, I learned how to use “Fisher Connect”, the main source of job postings on the Fisher website. Prospective employers post jobs on Fisher Connect and students can submit their resumes to request an on-campus interview for a specific position.

Students are invited to attend a pre-night event the evening before the scheduled interviews.  Pre-nights usually consist of a brief informational session about the firm followed by time to mingle with employees.

Formal interviews are held on-campus in Gerlach Hall. Interviews usually last 30-45 minutes and are conducted with one (or sometimes two) interviewers. Some firms ask behavioral type questions and others ask general questions about the interviewee.

After on-campus interviews are conducted, selected students attend second round interviews at their desired office location. During office visits, students typically have two interviews with different representatives of the firm. This gives students an opportunity to meet with firm employees and learn more specifics about what makes each firm unique.

From the beginning of the interview process it is extremely important to identify the city where you want to work. This question is asked early on, and firms want you to be able to answer this question with conviction. Also, just be yourself! Prospective employers know that Fisher students are well qualified. What they what to see is that you have a positive outlook and a desire to learn—and that you are anxious to contribute to the organization.

Seize this opportunity! You may never have another chance quite like this.

P.S. It’s Dine Originals Week in Columbus; go try a new restaurant!


Interviews, Interviews…. And More Interviews

Never in my life have I completed more interviews in such a short amount of time. Since last week, I have interviewed with five different companies in the quest for an internship. I was beginning to feel like I was wearing a suit more often than not! It was strenuous, but the practice effect seemed to be doing its job. Through most of the interviews, the recruiters usually (somewhat) apologized for using behavioral-based questions during the interview, and in keeping with a concern for people, assured me not to be nervous and encouraged me to take my time in responding to such questions. I appreciated the goodwill, but although recruiters may feel that behavioral-based interviewing techniques are a new trend, in my years in the job market, these have certainly been the norm, including my experiences interviewing to be a CSR. And rarely did the questions throw me off. I did slightly stumble over one that went something like “tell me about a time that you were working in a group and had to convince others to see things your way or make a change and what was the result?” Well, that can certainly be hard to articulate. But I can see from the perspective of a manager that it’s important to search out people who have leadership skills and an ability to influence others and make real outcomes. And after a few interviews, I was well prepared to field similar questions.

Overall, I think a great strategy to prepare for any interview is to know what you might say in relation to your previous experience based upon common behavioral questions. And don’t fret if you don’t have much work experience — group projects and club involvement are great ways to sell yourself as a conflict-resolution guru and natural born leader. And remember, it never hurts to remind yourself that you’re awesome and any company would be lucky to have you. And truly believe it!

Tips for International Students on Fisher Career Fair

I attended the 2010 Fisher Fall Career Fair held in the Ohio Union on Wednesday, October 6th. Here are some recommendations and tips for international students according to my experience.

Have a strategy for the Career Fair before going

By saying strategy, I mostly refer to a clear understanding of which companies to be your target ones. Rank them in several groups by your interests and their job availabilities (mostly by availabilities) and plan differently for firms in each group. Don’t automatically skip the ones which don’t consider international students for sometimes they do change their policies if you are really good, or at the very least you can practice your “pitch” and ease your tension by talking with those good-tempered and smiling representatives. I spoke with a few companies which don’t normally consider international candidates and surprisingly had a few pleasant conversations.

Dress professionally

I strongly recommend that international students bring at least one professional suit and one set of business casual clothes to the US. I never thought we would be attending so many occasions that require dressing professionally. Suits in US are often big and expensive, especially for Asians.

Be confident

You probably won’t get an internship or a job just because you are confident, but you could lose an opportunity merely by not acting confidently. You are an HR person who should be a master of communication.

Do (good) follow-up

You should plan on speaking with at least 15 companies’ representatives during the Career fair. As a result, you will have to remember and digest a lot of information. I advise to review all materials given by representatives and information associated with the job or internship positions right after you walk out of the ball room.