Blog Archive

Friday, January 27, 2012

McGladrey Welcomes the Busy Season Intern Bloggers!

by Kim McLaughlin
Talent Acquisition Manager
New Jersey

Each winter we are fortunate to on-board a class of new interns at McGladrey and this January we welcomed more than 225 of them!  So often when we meet prospective candidates, they ask what it’s like to work at McGladrey, especially what a real internship is all about.  To provide an insider’s perspective, we are pleased to bring you 5 unique perspectives from interns around the country who are working with us this winter:
  • John Reshke is an Assurance intern in Orlando, FL and hails from University of Central Florida
  • Valerie Koufidakis is a Tax intern in Boston, MA and is part of Northeastern University’s co-op program
  • Regina Roetzheim is working as an Assurance intern in San Diego and attended San Diego State University
  • Dan Brown, a tax intern from Cedar Rapids, IA currently attends the University of Iowa
  • Ashley Schmitt is a Tax intern from Indiana University, South Bend
Each of these individuals look forward to sharing their experiences with you throughout their internship. They will post each month from now until the end of March so we encourage to read all of them and check back regularly for more to come!  If you are interested in future internship opportunities at McGladrey, be sure to work with your school’s career services group and visit for specific opportunities and to apply.

Check out their January posts below!

Planting My Roots

Written by Valerie Koufidakis
Tax Intern
Boston, MA
It’s hard to believe I’m only two weeks into my internship at McGladrey. You see, I first started networking and making my connections to the firm back in September, a full four months before I would ever step foot in the office- and I’ve felt a strong connection to the firm ever since. As an accounting and finance dual major at Northeastern University in Boston, I’m required to complete cooperative education (“co-op”) experiences in my field of study. Prior to starting with McGladrey, I had two co-ops already under my belt, both in private and public accounting. While both of these experiences were extremely positive, and they helped me realize what I was interested in (and wasn’t!), I knew I hadn’t yet found the right company for me.
Through on-campus career fairs and info sessions, I was able to learn about McGladrey and meet some of the staff members at the Boston office. I liked everything I was hearing, could easily relate to the people I was talking to, and the firm seemed like a great match. Many employers visit our campus every fall to recruit co-op students for the spring, so in the last three years, I’ve been to numerous information sessions, and heard the same sorts of things over and over from each company.  Yet somehow, the message McGladrey was sending out was different, and really resonated with me. Going home afterwards, I felt just plain excited, knowing I would definitely be sending my resume out to them. Although, in full disclosure; my excitement may have also been influenced by this delicious cupcake (how did they know I looooove cupcakes?!?) I got at the info session. The firm had a bakery in Boston’s famous North End prepare these in none other than McGladrey colors! It was surely a sign.
After hearing the different staff members discuss the wonder that is the Boston office, I immediately scheduled a site visit to see it myself- and I was sold. The office, despite having 500+ employees has a great community feel, and a very definitive culture. Within the office we even have an art gallery, showcasing paintings and sculptures of all sorts from local artists. Located just across the river from downtown Boston, I am able to enjoy a beautiful walk home each night. I have the U.S.S. Constitution to my left, the Zakim Bridge and TD Garden (Go Bruins!) to my right, and the stunning city skyline straight ahead.
So yes, even though I am only two weeks in, it seems like it’s been a long ride getting here. I’m still adjusting to working eight hours a day, and am doing my best to not dive into bed as soon as I walk in the door each night. As a college student, making the transition to working full-time is certainly not an easy one. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that balance is key! Hopefully in a few weeks I’ll have a good daily routine down and be ready to tackle the tax busy season in February. I know I’m going to be working long hours and will probably definitely be under stress, but I am mentally preparing myself for the journey now!
Okay now all of you crazy accountants: what do you do to help relieve stress and find balance during busy season? Please share in the comments, any advice is welcome!

Experiencing the power of being understood

Written by Regina Roetzheim
Assurance Intern
San Diego, CA

Six months ago I did not foresee myself experiencing the power of being understood. In fact, six months ago I was probably the most misunderstood accounting applicant on the job market. When I graduated in May 2011 with my accounting degree from SDSU, I was one of the very few individuals without a job already lined up.

My situation was a direct result of a choice I made one year earlier, at the beginning of my senior semester: my choice to forego campus recruiting. The recruiters were demanding I choose my specialty immediately in order to start office tours, applications, and interviews. How could I commit to 20 years of tax or audit when I hadn’t even taken an upper division class on these subjects yet?  I thought, these people are crazy! I’ll enjoy my senior year, comfortably settle on a specialty I feel passionate about, and then jump right in the job market after graduation. 

In June 2011 I was assaulted with the bad news that apparently every accounting firm in San Diego only hires through SDSU campus recruiting. Perfect. I finally understood why everyone does this during their senior year. After a couple weeks of denial and non-directed frustration, reality set in and I resigned myself to the fact that I was going to have to contact campus recruiting.

At the campus recruiting kick off brief, I was the only graduate in the group. Additionally, the recruiter emphasized to me repeatedly the fact that firms only recruit people still in school. I suppose I was her charity case, and she liked to make it clear my chances of success were microscopic. I decided to start my uphill battle immediately. I submitted resumes, cover letters and transcripts and got several interviews in spite of my graduated status (who knew my degree would be held against me?).

I figured my competition would be stiff since the accounting department at SDSU is world renown, but nothing could have prepared me for the militant levels of motivation and sacrifice I witnessed during these application processes. At my first company tour, I spotted a colleague and fellow applicant studiously flipping through flashcards. Oh NO! I thought, there’s a test!? Without admitting my potentially fatal oversight, I snuck a peek at his cards as he paced through them. Wait, what was this? He had pictures of all the company partners and their bios, as well as facts about the company he’d researched. Really? I wasn’t sure if I should be impressed or disgusted. In the end, I was just worried. Before the tour began we were given questionnaires to fill out during the tour. My new note card friend immediately hunched over his paper and started scribbling his answers, shading the questionnaire from anyone else’s view. Lucky for me, they gave us all the answers during the tour.

The next stage of the application processes were the interviews. Now, I can honestly say I rocked these. Thinking back, I can’t really put my finger on what made me stand out as a potentially limitless employee, but I have some guesses. I think the time that I filled out a 15 page application with my legs crossed, in skirt, only to stand up and immediately fall over because my foot was asleep was pretty unforgettable. I wonder if the sweet receptionist who helped me to my feet as I hopped back to my chair noticed that my 3” heel was broken (along with my spirit) on the way out? That was an elegant walk back to my car.

For an interview a couple days later I estimated my time of arrival to be 45 minutes early. I was on track until an accident closed 4 of the 5 lanes on I-8. Armed with my infinite wisdom and knowledge of the streets of San Diego (born and raised here), I elected to take side streets, which were also completely shut down due to construction. I almost canceled the interview and turned around knowing I would be late, but career services talked me off the ledge and after an Olympian worthy high heeled dash down 2 city blocks, I was only a few minutes late. In the end I landed a paid internship and a full time position at the company, McGladrey (thanks Jim!). 

McGladrey is where I’ve experienced the power of being understood. It began with that fateful tardy interview and continues today. Every person I’ve met through this company has been genuine and friendly. Out of all the company tours and interviews I was lucky enough to experience, McGladrey stood out as the most professional and welcoming.  Of note is the fact that I sent all my potential employers thank you emails after interviewing with them and only the McGladrey team bothered to respond.

Above all these small details of workplace moral and professional courtesies, McGladrey’s skeleton key to my heart has been through the bags and bags of McGladrey schwag I have routinely received at each stage of my involvement with the company. At my second interview I was showered with gifts including a McGladrey cup, highlighter, sunglasses and lunch bag. I immediately felt appreciated and important. They obviously don’t just give this stuff to everyone. A week later a package arrived in the mail. McGladrey had outdone themselves again by sending me a gym bag (I won’t take the implied hint associated with this gift). Soon after I received a portfolio folder in the mail, then a backpack and computer at orientation. Recently someone left surprise presents on my desk, a business card holder and an office supply kit. I truly felt understood. This company really knows the way to a woman’s heart. I’m already working on routing an official request for a sweatshirt, tire rims, and a hat – I really want to represent McGladrey during all aspects of my day.

(Another girl snagged the last pair of neon pink sunglasses and I was left with orange to my dismay. If anyone out there knows where the secret stash of pink sunglasses is, you know where to find me.)

I am now officially sponsored by McGladrey and should soon be able to compete with the best of NASCAR drivers for endorsement rights.

In the end, despite my year long delayed job search, everything worked out perfectly. I have had an amazing first three weeks at my internship and I’m really enjoying learning the ropes and meeting new people every day. I start each work day with a high probability of receiving more company loot, and most importantly, I know I’ve chosen the right company to start my career with. 

Stay tuned for an award winning amateur’s guide to cubicle life and the progress of my transition from ballerina to auditor.

Build-A-Bear Rap Songs, Makeshift Windshield Wipers, and Misconceptions of Pencil Pushers

Written by Ashley Schmitt
Tax Intern
Elkhart, IN
I have always been a forward thinking person. I tend to look into the future and imagine where I’d like to be; I make goals for myself, and strive to reach each milestone. At the beginning of my freshman year of high school I decided it was time to start thinking about a career choice. I thought about all of the subjects and classes that I was taking but nothing seemed to click with me. It wasn’t until my junior year when I took my first accounting class that I made my decision. A great career with good opportunities and tasks I enjoyed, I was excited to place a new goal on my list. When I started at Indiana University South Bend, I enrolled as a business major and began my journey towards becoming an accountant.
I was, however, apprehensive for one reason. Accountants are not known to be the most exciting people. While accounting is generally looked upon as a great career choice, people’s perception of accountants is often that they are boring pencil pushers who live in a cubicle. Because of this, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect of the other interns and accountants I’d be working with when I accepted a winter internship at McGladrey’s Elkhart, Indiana. Of course I was excited about the opportunity to learn and gain experience from an amazing firm with a great reputation- but was I going to enjoy this job?

Interns at the Elkhart office: Brady,
Roger, Ashley, Kathy, Garrett, Mike

With just one day of orientation under my belt, I ventured to the Q Center in St. Charles, IL with 5 fellow interns for new hire training. I had no other expectations other than to leave with a little more knowledge than what I came with, while being surrounded by instructors less than thrilled to be training the new hires.
After being divided into rooms and then again into individual pods, I met three other interns that I would be working with over the course of the next 4 days. I expected my peers to be competitive, as most people are inherently. Instead, I was placed in a funny and helpful group and made the training enjoyable. Our group worked together and helped each other learn the processes and software. I learned a lot from them over the course of the week, and the instructors were always enthusiastic about answering any questions we had. I left the training feeling more prepared and excited than when I started.
During the charity event that took place during our week at the Q Center, I competed with my team of other McGladrey interns to clothe Build-A-Bears for a children’s hospital. I never guessed I would have been watching a team of fellow interns sing a rap song about their bears. At this, and many moments during my week at the Q Center, I realized that choosing a McGladrey internship was the perfect decision. My expectations were far exceeded. I expected professional and knowledgeable coworkers, and the team of people that I will work with during the next few months have already shown themselves to be much more than that.
Throughout the course of the week the Elkhart group of interns bonded over inside jokes, lunchtime debates, and evening conversations. We found “that guy,” were ‘assigned’ Forbes reading material, and gave the nickname “Mr. Wall Street.”  Being snowed in on our drive home and rigging a sock and hair-tie to replace a broken windshield wiper was just another adventure that we encountered. A dynamic group of many personalities, we had a great time and have continued to do so during our in-office training. I could not be more happy and excited to spend the tax season with such an amazing group of people.

At the Q Center

A Tax Intern’s Journey with McGladrey

Written by Daniel Brown
Tax Intern
Cedar Rapids, IA

Hello!  My name is Daniel Brown and I’m a tax intern at McGladrey & Pullen, LLP.  It is only week two of my internship, but I already feel incredibly fortunate to be among McGladrey’s rank of professionals.  I’m assuming that the majority of people perusing McGladrey’s “Success Starts Here” page are interested in pursuing a career in public accounting, whether it is with McGladrey or another firm.  If the above statement applies to you, I hope that I can initially shed some light on what it is like to go through the recruiting process and ultimately begin an internship in public accounting, and why McGladrey could be the right firm for you.  To the non-accountants reading this blog:  Thank you for bearing with me thus far!  I hope I can challenge some of the stereotypes that plague accountants by showing you that we, or at least the accountants I’ve met at McGladrey, actually have personalities and are more than just bean counters.
My first experience with McGladrey was at the University of Iowa’s “Meet the Firms” night, which is a career fair intended for accounting students to meet the various national, regional, and local accounting firms.  I went to the career fair with an open mind, eager to talk to representatives from the various firms.  After talking to several of the recruiters, I wandered over to the McGladrey camp and ended up talking to one of the associates for some time.  I was very impressed with the associates professionalism and enthusiasm.  I left the career fair with a good feeling about several of the firms, but I was especially excited for the interview I had scheduled with McGladrey for the following week.  A few days prior to the interview, I received an email informing me of a social that McGladrey was hosting at one of the local restaurants in Iowa City the night before the firm’s scheduled interview day.  I was excited to see that several of my friends and fellow classmates were in attendance at the social.  This made me more confident to mingle and meet new people.  It turned out that all of the associates in attendance were easygoing and extremely approachable, so I had nothing to worry about.
The next day I had my on-campus interview, which ended up being more or less a casual conversation with a tax director in the Cedar Rapids office that I had met the previous night.  I left the interview with my fingers crossed and eager for a callback.  A few days later I received the call I was hoping.  I had been invited to attend a final day of interviewing in the Cedar Rapids office.  Like the first round of interviews, a dinner and social was scheduled to take place at a nice restaurant in Cedar Rapids the night before.   Similar to previous pre-interview social, the second social helped immensely to lighten up the mood prior to interviewing, but it also allowed me to get to know some of the employees in the Cedar Rapids office in a social setting.  Having three in-office interviews is much more intimidating that a single on-campus interview, so I was pretty nervous about the upcoming day.  The big day, however, proved to be enjoyable and much less stressful than I had envisioned.  In hindsight, the partners, directors, and managers that I interviewed with most likely just wanted to see if I was easy to get along with and could engage them in conversation.  At this stage of the recruiting process, technical knowledge is usually assumed, leaving an individual’s soft skills to be the biggest unknown that most firms want to uncover.  Like each previous stage in the recruitment process with McGladrey, I left the office feeling more enthusiastic than ever about the firm.  The multiple recruitment events and interviews can be stressful, but it is comforting to know that McGladrey wants to take the time to get to know each candidate to make sure they are the right fit.  Their diligence can be appreciated by anyone who has had to work in a lousy office culture before, and provides an example of the firm living up to its “power of being understood” motto.
Fast forward several months later to the present and I’m in my second week of work as an intern in McGladrey’s Cedar Rapids office.  I could not be happier right now.  My first week was spent training at the Q Center, which is located outside of Chicago.  Over a hundred other McGladrey tax interns from across the country were present.  Most people would consider spending a week amidst so many tax accountants to be a nightmare, but it was quite the contrary.  I had an amazing time and met several people that I hope to stay connected with during my time at McGladrey.  Overall, each individual I interacted with made a good impression, making me proud to be associated with them under the McGladrey brand. 
Training at the Q Center was intense.  Classes started at 8 a.m. and ended at 5:30 p.m. each day except for Friday, which was only a half day.  I initially thought that everyone was going to be crammed into a conference room and lectured to for a week, so I was relieved when we were all assigned to small classes upon arrival at the Q Center.  Each class consisted of approximately twenty-five interns and two teachers.  All of the teachers were associates, managers, and directors, each dedicated to training us for a week so that we would not appear too ignorant when we showed up for work in our respective offices the following Monday.  The first half of the week was spent learning McGladrey’s individual tax compliance process, while the second half of the week was dedicated to understanding the business process.  Our days were busy, and we were all exhausted when class ended each day, but it seemed like our nights were equally busy.  As if spending a full day of class with each other was not enough, a majority of the interns could be found afterhours at the Q pub or hanging out downtown doing some additional networking.  McGladrey also sponsored two networking events, including a charitable “build-a-bears” night that proved to be rewarding and fun.  I never knew that public accountants could live up to the “work hard, play hard” motto so well, but that is one aspect that I’ve come to really enjoy about the McGladrey culture!
Overall, the training week at the Q Center was a very enjoyable, albeit exhausting experience.  Back in the office now, the other interns and I are already beginning to churn out returns, completing our first real clients earlier this week.  We were all very excited to break that barrier.  Two of the interns are fellow students at the University of Iowa.  Their names are Samantha Carver and Alicia Nicoletto.  The other two interns, Jessica Snook and Matt Walters, are students at the University of Northern Iowa.  They are all a pleasure to work with.  I’ve enjoyed getting to know them over the past two weeks and look forward to several more weeks of fun and challenges ahead of us.  
Anyways, I better get back to work here.  I look forward to updating this blog in another few weeks, hopefully with some good office stories and experiences.  It’s going to be an exciting tax season!

Professional Student Organizations

Written by John Reschke
Assurance Intern
Orlando, FL

John Reschke
Well folks, it’s that time of the year again, spring recruiting is about to kick off at college campuses around the country and I can hear nervous excitement when I talk to my fellow students as they prepare. I was in their shoes just last year asking those who came before me, “How did you get your internship?” Since so many of you are pondering that same question, I thought I would kick off my inaugural blog by revealing the “secret” of getting an internship.  

The most integral thing I did to land an internship at my first choice firm was join a student professional organization. I can’t emphasize how great of a resource these organizations are; they’re dedicated to helping you build the skills you need to land that internship or job you want.

By joining a student professional organization, you get tons of opportunities to network and meet lots of firms in a short amount of time. At every meeting, a different firm, or even multiple firms, present to the student members and explain what it’s like to work at their company and in accounting in general. Then students get a chance to ask the professionals any questions they have about the industry.

Most student professional organizations also hold regular interview and resume workshops, and these are often taught by the professionals from firms you want interview with. So in addition to polishing your interview skills, you get yet another opportunity to network.

Some of you may be thinking, “I don’t have time for this extracurricular stuff!” and I can understand that. Being a full time member of these professional organizations can take up a lot of your time. Fortunately, there are many student events that happen both on and off campus that are open to everyone regardless of whether you’re a member of the organization. For example, at UCF, the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants hosts a field day in which all students are invited to meet area CPA firms. Some firms even host meet and greets and open houses in their own offices.

For those of you who are already involved in a student professional organization, know that you’re on the right track to landing a great internship. Those of you who aren’t yet, look into your college’s student professional organizations today and make some room on your calendar for their next meeting or event.  You’ll be glad you did!

As a final thought, I would like impart some advice one of my McGladrey coworkers shared while presenting at a UCF Beta Alpha Psi meeting that resonated with me very strongly: “If you’re not polishing up your resume and interviewing skills, if you’re not out there networking and meeting people in the profession you aspire to be in, then someone else is.”

Thursday, January 26, 2012

McGladrey receives Patriot Award for support of deployed employee

Written by Peter Pentland
Tax Associate
Davenport, IA

Staff Sergeant Peter Pentland
 Associate Peter Pentland is grateful every time he thinks about the support he got from McGladrey when he went from tax intern to new hire to soldier deployed to Afghanistan and back to his desk in Davenport, Iowa. Here is the essay he submitted to successfully nominate McGladrey for an Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Patriot Award.

I work for a public accounting firm called McGladrey at their Davenport, Iowa location. In the spring of 2009, prior to becoming a full time staff, I participated in McGladrey's internship program. Following the completion of the internship, McGladrey offered me a full time position. I accepted and we agreed to a start date in November 2010. During the hiatus that followed, I was ordered to active duty as a member of the Iowa National Guard. The order stated that I would begin Title 10 status in November 2010.

Hesitantly, I informed McGladrey's Human Resources department that I was unable to begin in November due to deployment. The department asked to call me back after it had sorted through some information.

The next day, I received a phone call from Human Resources with a different proposition. McGladrey assured me that the deployment would not affect the status of my employment agreement. In fact, after learning of my deployment, the managing partner at the Davenport location suggested that I begin working immediately so that I did not have to seek employment elsewhere before deploying. Human Resources also informed me that I would be paid the difference in my salaries between the military and McGladrey while I was on deployment, further establishing the company's commitment to the military. Let's just say that I smiled a little bit that day.

McGladrey has exemplified the merits which are deserving of the Patriot Award. The company has gone above and beyond the expectations of this civilian solider. Its employees, my coworkers, equally deserve recognition. They continually sent me emails and care packages letting me know that they were thinking about me.

When I retell this account, I am greeted each time with surprise and praise that such an employer exists. I could not agree more. Thank you for your consideration.

Respectfully submitted,
Staff Sergeant Peter Pentland
Army Reserve officers (far left and far right) and Peter Pentland
presented the Patriot Award to Davenport OMP Steve McCann
and Tax Partner John Romano.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Why Intern at McGladrey?

Written by Jonathan Campobasso
Financial Services Assurance Associate
Chicago, IL

McGladrey seeks passionate, enthusiastic, and committed interns who want to sharpen their skills and test their abilities. McGladrey provides interns with the best possible experience by introducing them to the industry and areas related to public accounting. McGladrey has provided me with a memorable internship experience and exceptional career opportunities that have helped me advance my career within the company. Whether choosing McGladrey to intern with or launch your career, McGladrey understands the power of being understood.

Gaining hands-on experience is one of many key ingredients to a successful internship. Internships are advantageous for any student seeking a career in a challenging and competitive profession. Additionally, internships are effective for students who may want to test their career interest by finding out what happens day-to-day in a particular job.

At the same time, the internships allow participants to network, gain on-the-job experience, participate in group projects and get their foot in the door. Having an internship experience allows students to understand the job by seeing rather than hearing about it. Internships allow individuals to complete these tasks while working shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the finest accountants.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Thoughts from a McGladrey New Hire

Written by Jack Kinnally
Assurance Associate
Baltimore, MD

Coming from four years of college, a summer full of finishing credits mixed with Becker review classes as well as a couple last days of sleeping in late during the middle of the week (just for old times), one can imagine the possible feeling of apprehension associated with starting ones first full time job. Apprehension mixed with excitement and uncertainty would be the way I would describe my personal feelings in the days leading up to beginning work for McGladrey. To be honest, after four years of sleeping in, classes that might not start until 3:00 or 5:00 in the afternoon, and constantly being surrounded by roommates or friends, the idea of switching gears into an entirely new working environment can appear a little daunting .

Sitting here now two months into my career at McGladrey, with my first busy season right around the corner I can say with certainty that there was no need for any apprehension. I have found my transition into my career in public accounting has been an easy process due to the steps that McGladrey has developed in order to aid new hires as they begin their careers in public accounting. The first stage of this process consisted of national new hire orientation held in Chicago. Upon arrival I found I was surrounded by roughly four hundred and fifty other new hires that were all in the first week of starting their public accounting careers. If your mind is flashing back to college freshman orientation and first week of dorm life, you may not be terribly far off actually.

During new hire training I learned many firm policies, on the job skills, audit and tax software and a variety of other information that is useful for a successful start to a future career with the firm. The most important lesson I learned though, dealt with the people that make up McGladrey. The reason why I wanted to work for McGladrey was because of the people I encountered during the hiring process, and during a summer internship program I had taken part in one year before my full time start date. At national new hire training I learned that the individuals, who make up McGladrey at a national level not just an individual office level, make you feel welcome from day one. From day one you are a fellow employee and a peer and while you have much to learn, there isn’t an individual I have meet yet within the firm who will not stop and lend you a hand in learning whatever task or assignment you may be working on.

After completing new hire training I returned to my local office and was welcome by the partners of my audit team on my first day, actually my first morning at the Baltimore office. I met my career advisor and my navigator; both individuals who work on my audit team, and have valuable experience and advice they openly share with me. Further, among the many people I can turn to for help or input I know they are always available if I need someone to point me in the right direction or explain the process of completing a work paper.

My first few weeks at my local office have been an exciting time. Earlier I spoke of the feeling in college of always being surrounded by roommates and friends. At McGladrey, I feel as though I am always sounded by team members and friends, because from day one I have felt part of the team. The work has been challenging at times and the learning curve is step, but every day I am acquiring new skills. Each day I am given the opportunity to contribute towards the overall success of an engagement, and I have yet to find myself in a possession where another team member isn’t just a phone call away for guidance and help. Going forward I maintain my feelings of excitement and uncertainty. I am uncertain about the lessons I will learn during my first upcoming busy season, and I am excited about the experiences and opportunities that McGladrey will provide me in weeks and months to come.

Friday, January 6, 2012

The McGladrey Interview Diaries - Campus Edition - Part 2

Written by Robyn Brooks
Talent Acquisition - Campus & Entry Level
New York, NY

Yesterday during Part 1 of the Interview Diaries, I shared some stories, tips, and common interview experiences. Today I’ll dig in deeper and share one of my more embarrassing interview experiences and discuss the importance of a first impression!

There is a saying, “you never get a second chance to make a first impression,” and how true it is!  A first impression can go either way, but the idea is to make it positive and memorable.  Joel Shamon, our Northeast Assurance Line of Business Leader, once interviewed a candidate, and he recounted how badly he felt for the candidate, who arrived poorly dressed with his tie tied incorrectly. “It was clear he’d never interviewed before from the way he dressed and spoke,” Joel said, “and I spent the next thirty minutes coaching him on how to properly interview.”  Pretty lucky guy, to be coached by a partner! 

This reminds me of my first interview at a well known television program.  I had not done any research on the show, and when the interviewer asked me “who are the hosts of the show?” I was mortified.  I had no idea (and they are only some of the most notable TV journalists around!).  She coached me as well that day, and I learned a lot from that experience, as embarrassing as it was.  I understood that researching the firm inside and out, as if you were already employed there, was fundamental.  Knowing enough information to ask good questions is key.  Employers always want you to ask questions.  Even asking the same question to different interviewers is important, as you may receive different answers.  Alas, this was my first, first impression, and it was a poor one! 

“It’s hard to overcome a negative first impression,” Joel remarks. But sometimes all you need is a good conversation.  “It was my very first on-campus interview and I was very nervous,” Joel relates.  “Thirty minutes into the conversation, I realized all we’ve been talking about was the World Series.”  Sometimes employers just want to see if they could have a conversation with a potential employee.  Easy going conversations are certainly a plus.  This reflects the way you will work alongside your colleagues, and speak to clients.  EJ, Tax Line of Business Leader, agrees and urges candidates to follow through and be concise when giving examples. “Stay focused,” EJ advises, “I am generally more concerned about seeing communication skills, orientation to teamwork and thinking on your feet than I am concerned about the example itself.”  

In the course of a conversation, you may feel relaxed – but don’t forget, this is still an interview, getting too comfortable may not be such a good thing either.  Your interviewer may ask direct questions about yourself that you should know.  A question such as, “What type of position are you looking for?” is important to answer correctly.  If you answer, “I’ll do tax, audit, consulting or whatever you have available,” shows me that you actually have no idea what you want, and it actually narrows my options of placing you.  EJ Nedder asks a question that you should always have an answer for, “Why does our firm better allow you to achieve your goals than another firm?”  This question is asking more than it seems on the surface- it encourages you to know enough about the firm and other firms and the accounting industry, that you can compare each to fit your needs.  No one knows you better than you do, but the best advice our Line of Business Leaders and I can give you, is make sure you can communicate that to us.

Our leaders, who harness incredible successes, also know that no situation and no one is perfect.  We are all only human, and may need a little guidance now and then. The following are what I believe to be the top five bullet points for a successful interview.

      Know what you want and communicate it
      Research the firm and have questions
      Have a conversation and be concise
      Have a sense of humor
      Make a positive first impression

There are so many points of advice to share, but when it comes down to it, your interviews will get you jobs (hopefully), but they will also help you grow – and allow you to tell a story of how you got to your success place.

Click Here for Our University Candidates Careers Website

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The McGladrey Interview Diaries – Campus Edition – Part 1

Written by Robyn Brooks
Talent Acquisition - Campus & Entry Level
New York, NY

As a Campus Recruiter, I am witness to the interview experience.  Although this is an exciting time in a student’s life, the job search and interview process can be overwhelming. It certainly sounds like an easy course; meet a firm, interview, accept your offer and move into your new cubicle!  But there is a lot more to it than that. Nerves can certainly overtake you, especially during that one-on-one time with those whom hold your future in their hands.  Interviews seem intimidating!  Will you know all the answers to the questions asked of you?  Will you be dressed appropriately?  And, when can I ask about salary?? (Answer: Don’t. Wait until you receive an offer!)

I am here to tell all our future interviewees that unforeseen, embarrassing and nerve-racking moments happen to all of us.  Peter, Joel and EJ are also here to give you some advice.  Our Line of Business leaders care deeply for our campus recruiting efforts in our offices and on campus. There are lessons to be had even from those at the top, with their interviews days far behind them. 

A graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (my alma mater as well), Joel Shamon, our Northeast Assurance Line of Business Leader remembers his first interview.  A well known firm invited him to interview, but a snow storm and an unreliable car forced him to reschedule.  It turned out this firm was not flexible when it came to rescheduling.  Joel missed his chance to interview.  No situation is perfect, but don’t let that shake you.  Another opportunity could be around the corner, and for Joel there was as he started his career soon after with Arthur Anderson.

Rolling with the punches is important.  In your career, things can change in an instant, but you have to be able to adapt, and calmly think of your next move.

Peter Brady, Consulting Line of Business Leader for the Northeast, knows things can literally turn upside down at any moment.  Long before Peter joined McGladrey, he was interviewing a candidate at another firm.  Standing well over six foot tall, he graces each conversation with his English accent, allowing him to be quite a commanding individual. Peter recalls his interview, “I started to make an important point, an impressive sounding point, about something.”  Imagine the student on the other side of Peter’s desk, nervous about the job, and what Peter may ask next.  “I leaned slowly back on my chair as I talked,” Peter explains, “and eventually leaned back so much that I tipped over.”  Now imagine the student as this interviewer dangled his feet in the air, as he lay flat on his back!  Peter explains, “The candidate was in fits of laughter – as was I. He got the job- on the basis that he told no one about the partner who fell off his chair!”

A sense of humor is vital to your interview and to your career. Allowing yourself to laugh in the face of difficult situations reduces stress on you and your team.

Check in tomorrow for the Interview Diaries – Part 2 as our recruiter shares her past interview experiences and our leaders wrap up with their top 5 tips for a successful interview.

Check out Part 2 here

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy New Year from McGladrey! And our Top 10 Posts of 2011

First things first, Happy New Year! Thanks for visiting the McGladrey Careers Blog during 2011. It was a great year for us at McGladrey with many exciting announcements, including McGladrey & Pullen’s acquisition of RSM McGladrey. We have many more blog posts and contributors planned for 2012, and hope you’ll continue to stop by. If there is anything specific that you would like to see on the blog, let us know! I’d also like to take the opportunity to invite you to ‘like’ us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, as we continue to integrate our social media platforms to share with you more about life at McGladrey.
Below are our top 10 most viewed blog posts of 2011. Enjoy!