Basic Steps to Build a Meaningful Connection with Accounting Recruiters and Staff

Business talk

From the mailbag:

Hi Andrew,

Hope you are having a good day out in Florida.

I’m currently a fourth year student in Finance, and considering to stay a fifth year in order to complete CPA required courses. I will be attending an KPMG info session tomorrow where there will be staff accountants and the head accounting recruiter present.

In the past, I usually just go up to them and ask them what they like about accounting, how their day is going and have not really connected with a head recruiter before.

My questions are:

1. What is a strategic way of engaging into a conversation with them, recruiter and staff accountants. (Your own personal experience?)

2. What are certain benefits of connecting with staff accountants and how do I use these connections to my advantage

3. What are other ways of deepening a connection with the accountant/recruiter other than going out for coffee

Thank you for your time!


This is what it all comes down to. The questions we all must ask ourselves is:

What is unique about me? Why should the firm hire me? What am I doing to stand out?

The key to these recruiting scenarios is knowing yourself and harnessing your true curiosity. It isn’t just about what you say, it’s also about how you say it. Do you sound scripted or bored?

Or are FREAKING EXCITED that you are talking to these people and have GENUINE CURIOSITY about what they are doing in their career and what that could mean for you?

This is excited stuff. I mean KPMG. Huge firm with mega clients all around the globe. Worldwide brand name recognition and you may be working there!

If you haven’t already, you need to read my post about the public accounting hiring process. Once you understand this is a marathon and not a sprint, you’ll see why it’s so important to build these relationships!

But to more specifically answer your questions, here are my thoughts:

1. Pepper them with questions

Ask them a ton of questions and pay attention to every word. When they answer, ask follow up questions to show you’ve heard them and are actually very interested. Here are some starters:

  • How long have you been working at the firm?
  • What type of clients do you typically work on? (don’t ask this to the recruiters obviously!)
  • Where did you go to University?
  • Are you from this city originally?
  • What is your favorite part about working for the firm?

2. Talk to people at EVERY level

When you go to these types of events, it’s important to talk to everyone there. From partner, to HR, to staff accountant, everyone has a say in the process. If a lower-level staff accountant feels like you ignored them to talk to the parter….. that is not good. Ask the questions I mentioned above and more! It goes a long way for someone to say: “I really liked Tyler, I think he should move forward to the interviews“.

3. Help them first, they will LOVE you for it!

The trick I used back in the day was to help them. I knew they wanted to hire top students so I invited them to my university on every occasion I could. I was the VP/President of Beta Alpha Psi so I helped coordinate those events. I helped them meet students, I helped them promote their firm, I helped them pick candidates. Find something you can do for them (in an appropriate setting), and they will love you for it!

A few weeks ago I did a Webinar about “How to Get Hired by Big 4 Accounting Firms” where I went over in detail what you need to be a serious contender for these competitive positions.

Because of the great feedback on the Webinar, I’m doing another one at the end of this month called, “How to ‘Lock In’ a Summer Accounting Internship in 2 Weeks or Less“. Whether you’re looking to get a Big 4 internship, or pad your resume for next year, you NEED to attend this event.

I’ll go over in detail how to talk to recruiters, the value of building relationships with staff. I will also cover EVERY step in the process from preparing the resume, to signing your acceptance letter!

I look forward to seeing you there!

Sign Up Here.