Interview Process: Preparing for an Interview in an Unfamiliar City
Formal recruiting for public accounting begins about a year in advance of an actual start date. Among the positions I applied for this year was an Accounting Associate position with Frank Rimerman and Company. The first time I met a recruiter from Frank Rimerman was in fall 2007 at Meet the Firms, a networking event hosted by Beta Alpha Psi, the accounting club. At first I wasn’t interested in the firm because of its location. Frank Rimerman has four offices located only in the San Francisco Bay area. However, I really enjoyed the firm because of their company goals.
Because of the recession this year, jobs in the Portland market were limited. I took this as an opportunity to expand my search. After talking with associates from Frank Rimerman at 3 recruiting events, I decided that they were a good fit and I shouldn’t limit my choices based on location alone. I was so excited to learn that I had a second interview with Frank Rimerman and that they would be flying me down to the Palo Alto office for a day. This would be my opportunity not only to find out about my fit at the firm, but also my fit for the location.
To prepare for the second interview, I consulted a few resources: the company website, industry statistics, and LinkedIn. The company website gave me some insight about company practices, culture and what I would be doing in my first year. Although most of a public accounting firm’s clients are confidential, consulting industry statistics gave me some insight about typical clients for the area.
LinkedIn provided a resource for information about the firm’s employees, such as average age and most common alma maters. I could also search the employees connected with the company page to look for familiar contacts. I only knew about one University of Oregon alumni, but I was able to connect with her on LinkedIn. There was also an associate picking me up from the airport, and for logistical reasons I wanted to be able to recognize him and also get some background information for conversation topics.
Being prepared for the interview was extremely helpful, especially in an unfamiliar setting. I knew that they valued people with a genuine interest in the firm, so I tried to express my enthusiasm through the types of questions I asked. I think the key to landing the job was being myself and not being nervous.