Want to save this page for later?

NextGen Magazine

 
 

You're Hired!

By:
CHRIS GAETANO
Published Date:
Jan 2, 2014

WILLIAM J. SCANNELL Managing Partner, Johnson Lauder & Savidge LLP Binghamton, NY

We, of course, want people who excelled in college, but on top of that we’re really looking for people with analytical skills, a good work ethic and, frankly, common sense—[by that,] I mean that they’re able to relate to people and figure out what is being asked of them and how to accomplish it. When we’re considering how you did in school, both grades and activities are important. But I would rather have a person who is well rounded and has [participated in] a lot of activities, some of which don’t pertain to accounting, vs. someone who is book smart, but has not learned how to relate to people in other ways. Finally, confidence is vital. We want someone who can carry himself or herself well and not be intimidated— because while we do want employees to respect their partners and superiors, we don’t want to hire people who will cower before their higherups or a client, as oftentimes you will need to defend your beliefs and take criticism of your practice. So, you’ll need to have confidence in yourself and your abilities.

 

DAVID A. ARCARA Partner, Arcara & Borczynski LLP Buffalo, NY

To me, the résumé gets a job candidate the interview, but the interview tells me if he or she can fit into our organization. Standing out, in my opinion, means striking a balance between confidence and cockiness during the interview process. If you’re confident and seem comfortable answering questions, and you can add something a little bit personal about yourself—your likes, dislikes, interests, things that help me to get a read on how you will interact with clients and co-workers—that’s what makes me remember you. Beyond this, we want our candidates to be well-rounded people. I’d rather have someone who has been out in the world and worked their way through college, or maybe held a volunteer position where they interacted with people and demonstrated some sort of leadership capacity, than someone who has a 3.9 and focused 100 percent on school, with no other activities.

 

CHARLES WEINSTEIN Chief Executive Officer, EisnerAmper LLP New York City

New graduates can stand out by investing a lot of time into making themselves knowledgeable about the profession—not just about a particular firm, but the profession as a whole. Coupled with this would be having a wealth of work experience. We run some programs at my firm that we think are terrific, like internships, externships and leadership programs, and taking part in these definitely helps you stand out from the crowd. However, we also want people with certain personalities, namely people who are enthusiastic, prepared and, most importantly, passionate. We love passionate people who enjoy learning and are excited to be in this field and this firm; that’s a big thing for us. It’s also important that they have social skills. Back in the day, accountants wore green eyeshades and were far in the back of the office, not talking to anyone, but those days are over. We like people with top-notch communication skills, both in terms of speaking and writing, people who are not just knowledgeable—but people who can express this knowledge both to clients and to co-workers.  Finally, among the recent graduates who come to us, those who distinguish themselves tend to have a high level of confidence. Believe that you’re the right person for the job and believe that you will get that position. Combined with the right credentials, there can be a bit of self-fulfilling prophesy in that.

 

JAMES R. D’ARCANGELO Managing Partner, D’Arcangelo & Co. LLP Westchester

I would look at some of the courses they took. Accounting majors have a minimum number of accounting courses they have to take, but I want to see people who take an interest in science, computers and math. In my mind, this indicates a naturally curious temperament and also suggests that they have skills that other candidates may not have.

I also look for people who challenged themselves in school. Were you just sitting in the classroom taking notes, or did you engage in some sort of rigorous challenge, like a research project or independent study? To me, the latter shows research skills, the ability to communicate and a willingness to put in the extra effort. It’s one thing to do a consolidated financial statement or look up a recent opinion, but it’s another to go out and do research and formulate an opinion of your own.

Beyond this, I want to see someone who is curious and genuinely interested in the core fundamental services that go with being an accountant today. If job candidates talk about the subject matter and look for opportunities to understand and learn about it, I’m more inclined to notice that than notice someone who just wants to climb the ladder or leapfrog into a better position. I want people who are interested in pursuing knowledge and are interested in sharing this knowledge, perhaps as supervisors.