Blog Archive

Monday, April 18, 2011

How You Spend Your Time When You are Unemployed Matters

Written by Terra Carbert
Senior Recruiter
Minneapolis, MN

In this economy, we as recruiters encounter a lot of candidates who are currently unemployed.  The news is buzzing about employers who intentionally “screen out” unemployed applicants as a practice.  I’ll be the first to tell you that is not a practice we support at McGladrey.  In the interview process, I do spend time talking with candidates about how they spend their time.  If you are unemployed and looking for a new opportunity, choose how you spend your time wisely, because it matters.

Candidates need to be prepared to answer the question, “What have you been doing since you left company X?”  The longer you are unemployed, the more important your answer to this question is to your job search success.  It’s okay for someone to take the first couple of months of unemployment reevaluating their goals, spending time with family, traveling, or working on projects that may have been put off by an intense work schedule.  However, beyond a couple of months, if re-employment is your goal, then what you do must reflect that you want to get back to work.  I know it’s a cliché but actions do speak louder than words and that is what I look for - action. 

When I ask how people spend their time, I look for responses that demonstrate they are working hard to stay sharp at their skills and also to find a position.  Here at McGladrey, we value passion, drive, and ambition.  When a candidate tells me they’ve been “waiting for the right opportunity,” (as many do) that comes across to me as passive and is likely not a good fit for our culture. 

So, what should you do?  Here are some things people have impressed me with:

1.       Join networking groups both online and offline where you can get to know people in your line of work or those who handle hiring in your field.  (I am personally a member of 50 groups on LinkedIn; when a candidate in the field I recruit for pursues contact with me, I take notice).
2.       Volunteer your expertise to a non-profit organization doing work that is relevant to your existing experience.
3.       Tutor college students at a nearby campus that offers courses in your profession – bonus, this service is usually something you can get paid to do!
4.       Take classes relevant to your job search and keep any existing licenses active.
5.       Better than taking a relevant class, teach one, even if it’s just at the local community center. 
6.       Be willing to look at temporary assignments, they often lead to long-term opportunities and can connect you to others in your field.

When a candidate tells me that they’ve joined relevant networking groups, they are volunteering their skills at a non-profit, taking classes, and “aggressively pursuing the right opportunity,” they leave me with the impression that they have the qualities we look for in an employee.  If a prospective employee can demonstrate to me that they didn’t just sit around and wait for opportunity to fall in their lap, I don’t even consider unemployment a factor in their consideration. Your competition is out there pursuing these activities – what are you going to do?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

McGladrey Makes Flexible Work Options Work!

Written by, Marni Rozen
Lead Recruiter
Fort Lauderdale, FL

I sat down with Adrienne Anderson, Audit Manager in Fort Lauderdale, FL to hear her story of how McGladrey’s culture of WorkLife Flexibility is working for her. Listening to her story, you can see why McGladrey has been named as “Best in Class” for the 4th time by Working Mother Magazine. 

What is your history with the Firm?
I have been with the firm since 2000. I started with the Chicago office and transferred to the Fort Lauderdale office in 2003 and I am an Audit Manager. I am CPA in Illinois currently working on obtaining my Florida CPA license to assist in making to the next level, Director.

What is your Flexible Work Arrangement?
I take three full months of the year off, June 15 – September 15.  I work a fairly regular schedule the remaining nine months but try to limit my weekend work.

Why did you choose to go on this schedule?
It was a direct result of having my son. I wanted to spend more quality time with him and be 100% focused on being a mom part of the year but not give up my career aspirations.  My parents watch my son while I am working and the three months off not only allows me to bond with my son but allows my parents to spend the summer in Illinois with some of our family.

What has been the best thing about working a Flex Schedule?
The quality time I get to spend with my son is truly amazing and something I feel extremely fortunate to be able to do. The beauty of my flex schedule is that I still get to focus on the career aspirations I had before my son. It enables me to enhance my relationship with my son while continuing to interact with professional individuals.  My flex schedule gives me a very nice work/life balance so that I don’t get burnt out. It is nice to have a starting and stopping point and something to motivate me. My flex schedule has lead to me being more productive the nine months I am working and happier with my career choice.

What are the challenges?
Some of the first challenges were the guilt, and thinking Am I pulling my weight? and What are other people going to think?  It can also be challenging when I am working to balance it all and meet the demands of work and the expectations and demands of my family. It is important that when I am working that I prioritize right and keep my family first. I can’t go in thinking that I have to make up for not working for the last 3 months.

How supportive has leadership been in regards to your Flex Schedule?
Leadership has been truly amazing! Everyone is very respectful that I have those 3 months off. No one rings my phone off the hook or bombards me with emails. I do periodically check emails and take phone calls from clients if things are not completely wrapped-up when my leave starts. I want the flex schedule to continue to work.  Leadership recognizes that I put forth this effort during my time off and would be fine with me remaining completely unplugged.  Leadership respects the arrangement. They haven’t faulted me for it and it hasn’t been detrimental to my career in any way.  

What advice would you give to people trying to achieve Work/Life balance?
It is important to remain realistic about how much you can get done in one day and be on top of managing your client load.  It is also important to be comfortable saying No. Be realistic about what you can manage and do not feel guilty for not being able to do it all. If you need to go pick up your child or tend to your home responsibilities then you need to be able to put your work down and not think about it until you are able to pick it back up. I have definitely struggled with taking on too much at times.

Any final thoughts?
I think women who enjoy this profession but also want to be a mother should realize that it is attainable. The great thing about public accounting is that you can work anywhere. You don’t have to be in an office to get your workload completed which adds a lot of flexibility. I was on the verge of taking a position in the private industry when I find out I was pregnant. Once I realized how much flexibility public accounting offered I decided to remain at McGladrey. I haven’t regretted my decision for a split second. You can be successful at this firm and work a very flexible, manageable schedule.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Increase Your Chances of Achieving Academic Success

Written by, Trina Moody
Campus Recruiting Leader
Dallas, TX

Being in college is one of the most exciting times of your life! It’s a time to grow, it’s a time to “live,” – it’s a time to figure out who you are. It’s also one of the most academically oriented times of your life-where mastering the art of how to study is of the up-most importance. Here are a few suggestions on how to make the most of your study time:

Suggestion 1. Read the material to be covered in class before-hand.

At the beginning of the semester, most professors (i.e. instructors) share with their students a syllabus. A syllabus is an outline of what topics will be studied through your time in a particular course. Make the most of this information! Figure out what your professor is going to be covering in your next class session and read the material for it in advance of your next class time. Doing so will dramatically change the type of “in-class” experience you will have. Instead of trying to understand and comprehend the new material all at the same time, you’ll be able to reiterate your understanding of some of the concepts covered and be able to ask questions on the items that you are unsure about. 30 to 45 minutes of “pre-reading” can make a world of difference.

Suggestion 2. Make Use of Your Professor’s Office Hours

Each professor (instructor), on a weekly basis, sets aside what they call “student office hours.” These is the timeframe in which students, who are in his/her class, may come by and ask questions about the material being covered in class. Make the most of this time. Most students do not take advantage of this opportunity to have one-on-one instruction. Schedule a weekly 30 minute timeframe with your instructor, during his/her student office hours, so that you may ask questions about the material currently being covered. Not only will this ensure that you are on the right page in understanding concepts-this will also make you stand out in regards to your professor knowing who you are. Down the road, when you need a professional reference, him/her knowing you may come in handy.

Suggestion 3. Create a Weekly Study Schedule - And Stick To It

Creating a weekly study schedule will allow you to plan, in advance, when you are going study (and when you are going to accomplish things outside of studying—i.e. work, spending time with friends, and etc.). Creating a routine for yourself will help ensure that you give yourself time to focus on the material being covered in your classes (that you will later be tested on/expected to know).

Suggestion 4. Don’t Just Read the Material - Test Yourself!

Setting aside time to read the material being taught in class is great; however, take it to the next level. Create and/or look for sample test questions. This will allow you to test your understanding of the material before your professor does. Doing so will help you identify which concepts you need to revisit/review. 

Again, college is one of the most exciting times of your life. Make it more enjoyable by implementing a few of these study tips - so that you can get the results that you’re looking for.

Friday, April 8, 2011

McGladrey Interns Pause for a Break – with a Game!

Written by, Amanda McGuire
Tax Intern
Des Moines, IA

For that 2:30 feeling….

A few times a week in the Des Moines office, the busy season interns invite people from the office (everyone is welcome!) to a 2:30 pm game of chance where the last person standing ‘gets’ to buy a $.50 item out of the vending machines for all of the participants. The games are simple ones that help build a lot of camaraderie within the team of participants and help the interns get to know people that they may not normally work with.

My personal favorite is a game called Pop Flip. In this game, the participants each flip a quarter and then hold their hands up if they got heads and down if they got tails. The minority group is out of the game. This flip continues until there are only two participants remaining and for the final flip, they must guess whether the other person will have heads or tails. The one who guesses wrong is deemed the last person standing and therefore gets to make a few trips to the vending machine to purchase and deliver each participant’s $.50 order. 

On average, about 15 people play and of course, you win some and you lose some. The games provide a fun break when that 2:30 feeling starts to hit, though, and is a great ice breaker for meeting new people at McGladrey.

The Des Moines interns demonstrating Pop Flip - From L to R:
David Miller, Chad Bruntz, Amanda McGuire, Jeremy Burkle, Paul Wampler, Ben Currie, Lindsey Kimmerle, Scott Heemstra and Caitlin Howard

Monday, April 4, 2011

The McGladrey Classic Donates $150,000 to the Boys and Girls Clubs and Special Olympics

The inaugural McGladrey Classic, an official PGA TOUR event held at Sea Island Golf Club on St. Simons Island, Georgia, recently announced that $150,000 in proceeds from the Classic will be divided equally between the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Georgia and Special Olympics.

Click here to read more about the event and the donations.

Friday, April 1, 2011

McGladrey Interns Reflect on Experiences

Written by:
Karin Gilmartin, Campus Recruiting Leader
John Micalizzi, HR Director
Boston, MA

In July 2010 the McGladrey Boston office began a new and exciting period of growth and opportunity. As a result of a strategic acquisition, the Boston office became the 3rd largest office within McGladrey and a dominate firm in New England.  Over 500+ employees came together at our waterfront location on the edge of the Charlestown Navy Yard with spectacular views of the harbor, city skyline Zakim Bridge and the Boston Garden.
Just as the dust is settling from the integration that formed the new McGladrey office in Boston our “inaugural” class of winter interns is winding down and headed back to campus.  The interns began in January at a regional orientation held in Charlotte, NC which was followed by a 3 day Intern Conference in St. Charles, IL.  Now, after 12 weeks in the throes of busy season, and holding full time job offers to come back this fall, we asked three of our assurance interns a few questions about their experiences. 
Meet Dalina Chawalit, Linda Ho, and Julia Graham three students attending Northeastern University’s  Graduate School of Professional Accounting; a unique program offering an MSA/MBA to students primarily with liberal arts undergraduate degrees. 
Why did you choose McGladrey for your internship?
(Linda) McGladrey stood out because of the people that I met.  Everyone was friendly and enjoyed their work and the people they were working with.
(Dalina)I knew from the start I didn't want to go Big 4.  After visiting a couple of the other mid-market firms I knew that McGladrey was the place for me.  The people were great and the office had this personality and culture that I just didn't see at the other firms.
(Julia) I wanted to work for a company that recognized me; a place where I would have a voice and not just be another number. McGladrey seemed to offer that in addition to having the access to the resources of a large firm, so it was an easy choice for me.
What was the best part of your internship at McGladrey?
(L) I really had no idea what to expect. I had formulated an idea based on what others had told me, but the internship helped fill in the blank. I learned a lot during the internship.
(D) Meeting new people, getting to know the clients, and just learning as much as I could!
(J) I think the best part of my internship was that I was treated as a first year. I got to really experience what life in this field would be like. Classes do not really give you an idea of what the work is like, so I was really happy to find that I truly do like what I am working toward.
What surprised you this winter/spring?
(L) It's amazing how quickly the time flew by.  It seems like one second it was January and we were just starting and then we fast forwarded to the end of March.
(D) How willing everyone was to teach the interns and first years and the time that was spent making sure that we really understood everything that was going on!
(J) I was surprised by the responsibilities I was given as an intern. I was expecting to just be given the easy tasks, but I got to work on some complex areas and learn a lot.
What was your most challenging moment?
(L) I think the first engagement was the most challenging.  I was a complete blank slate. The Senior Associate I was working with understood that it was my first engagement and was very willing to answer any questions that I had.
(D) Being given a section that I had never worked on before - it took me a little bit to work through it and understand what was going on, but by the end of it I had learned so much.
(J) The travel was the most challenging for me. I was away from Boston for the majority of my internship and although it was fun and exciting, it was also hard to be away so much.
How did your audit teams blow off steam out in the field?
(L) Our breaks usually revolved around food.   Sometimes we would bring food back, but even that gave us a little bit of time away.  While in Vermont, the team went out for dinner and caught a little bit of the Friday night Burlington night life.
(D) Music, coffee, fruit snack challenges
(J) Everyone definitely tried to balance work with fun. During my travel jobs we went out to good dinners most nights and usually went out for drinks once or twice during the week. While in New Mexico, we went to the shooting range and fired guns for the first time. That sounds kind of scary, auditors with guns, but it was actually really fun.
What industries did you support?
(L) I worked on engagements with companies in the Real Estate, Construction, Healthcare/Software, and Sales industries.
(D) Technology, Software, Entertainment, Non-Profits, Construction
(J) I got to experience a lot of different industries: auto glass repair, software, medical imaging, investments and manufacturing. 
How about travel?  Did you spend much time out of town?
(L) We traveled to North Carolina for a few days for regional orientation and to the Chicago area for a few days for the national intern conference.  I also spent two weeks in Burlington, VT for one of my engagements.
(D) All of my engagements were in MA and RI.  The longest commute was a little over an hour, but it was against traffic so it wasn't so bad.  I really got some good use out of my GPS!
(J) My internship was 12 weeks long and I traveled out of the state for about 9 of them. In addition to our orientation in Charlotte NC, and the intern conference near Chicago, I worked in Ossipee NH, Lebanon NH, Burlington VT, and Albuquerque NM.
Knowing that Food generally accompanies busy season - What was your best meal?
(L) For lunch one day, while in Burlington, we decided to go to the downtown area to try a restaurant that the controller had recommended to us.  It was one of the best meals out of the two weeks that I was there.
(D) The only thing I can think about is that cake that came with lunch on Saturdays.  I don't know where the cakes come from, but it was so delicious and I always had to get a piece!
(J) My favorite meal was in New Mexico at a place called Vernon's Hidden Valley Steakhouse. The restaurant imitated a speakeasy during the prohibition era. You had to call ahead to get a password with your reservation. The place really is hidden and we had to call again for more directions.  It was really entertaining, the workers were all in character. On top of that, the food was delicious. That was not only the best meal that I had during busy season, but it was the most entertaining.
Now that you’re back to school what will you miss the most?
(L) I'll miss the people.  They were definitely an important part of the learning that I did during the internship. Everyone was great at answering any questions that I had and making sure that I understood what I was doing.
(D) Aside from the cake and my ten key, I'm going to miss all of the great people that I've met over the last 3 months.  I can't wait to see them again in the Fall!
(J) I will miss not having homework! :)
If Dalina, Linda, and Julia’s experiences are an indicator of the type of people, opportunities, and culture the firm has to offer then our summer interns who will be here in a few months (hopefully along with the warm weather!) will follow in their footsteps as part of a great firm in a special office!