S T O P Freaking Out About The Accounting Interview Process


For today, we’re going to help out this loyal Bean Counter fan’s question about the accounting interview process:

Hi Andrew,

How are you, hope things are going great with the bean counter and people are taking things nicely today, unlike that girl

NOTE: If you haven’t seen the twitter fight at the link above, you’re in for a treat:-)

Reason for my email is because I wanted to get your feed back on this process on an internship I applied for. 

Well, I applied for an audit internship at BDO a a month or two ago. About a week ago I received an email that I was being considered for an internship position and scheduled a phone interview and indeed, it happened last week Tuesday. I was told I would receive a status update by the end of last week but did not receive a response. 
Seeing that I did not receive I decided to contact the recruiter today and she told me that my application is still under review with the partners.
My question is the following, once my application is under review with the partners, can you elaborate on how is this process by the partners and what is it that they will look for in me to make me a prospective candidate for the in-person interview?, should I take the recruiter’s response as something positive?
Hope you could share the information, I am sure there are people that go through this process as well and having some information, specially in your website, could gain you some more audience and eventually get them to be subscribers. 
Keep up the great work.


Bean Countador

Great question!

I often get emails from students I work with on the resume reviews or Get Hired By Big 4 Accounting Firms owners who get so worried if something is delayed, or they get rejected from an accounting firm.

And understandably so! It is NERVE-RACKING isn’t it?

So I’m going to talk a little bit about the internal firm process for reviewing your resume, and what you should do about it.

Note: This only relates to applications you submit on campus and at career fairs. If you are directly reaching out to firms as I recommend here, another set of rules / circumstances apply.

When You Submit Your Resume

Assuming you’re in the normal bucket of students, they stamp a rating on your resume typically 1-3, although sometimes 1-4 depending on the firm.

  • 1 – We need to interview this person
  • 2 – Good, not outstanding
  • 3 – Most likely we won’t interview this person

And if they physically review the resume they may write the following information on the back:

  • Top 2-3 cities you want to work in
  • Internship, Full-time, or Summer Leadership Preference
  • Accounting GPA
  • Graduation date
  • Preferred start date
  • Whether you plan to take the CPA / sections passed

Once all the resumes are in for a giving recruiting stint:

  • HR compiles the resumes by number
  • HR often holds a meeting with people who attended the career fair or on-campus events to ensure nobody has final comments or major concerns with any candidates
  • HR meets with the partners to determine who will for sure be interviewed, and who is a secondary candidate to be interviewed

When will you hear back?

This isn’t the same for every firm. But just because some people have heard they’ll be interviewed, doesn’t mean you wont.

Often times the firm will have a first wave of students they interview, let’s say 15. But if they only decide to give 8 offers, and they want to give 10 offers, a few weeks later they may call upon another 5 students to interview for the remaining offer.

That doesn’t always happen, but often it does.

When should you follow up

If the recruiter gives you a date that you should hear back, and you haven’t. The next day (mid-morning), I would send a kind, light-heard, and inquisitive email noting that you thought you would hear back from the firm by X date, but haven’t received any communication.

You know these things take time and every is very busy, but you wanted to send a friendly follow-up inquiry.

That is totally appropriate and I’ve never heard of that counting against someone, unless you’re questioning and rude!

After that, follow up every week or so, you can even write something like this if it’s been tough to get a response:


Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to connect with you. I have to be honest, I personally hate following up because I always feel that I’m bugging people. Have you received any feedback about my potential interview?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,


What if your rejected?

No joke, I’ve seen someone get rejected from a Big 4 public accounting firm at least 6 times for internships, summer leaderships, and full-time positions, and then he ACTUALLY g0t the position.

I got rejected from Deloitte for a summer leadership conference, but a year later they would’ve loved to hire me, but I knew I wanted PwC.

If you get rejected, do your best to find out why by reflecting on your own experience. Don’t ask others at your school (except your closest friends) and don’t ask any professionals.

As a mature adult, you should be self-aware and honest. Was it something you said? The clothes you wore? We’re you overly nervous for the interview? Is your GPA too low?

Look yourself in the mirror and confront yourself about the truth.

Then fix it, and apply next semester!

Did that help you understand the process? Is there anything else your curious about now that you’ve read this overview?

  • Kat Castillo

    Yesterday, I received a rejection email from Deloitte. I am so discouraged, especially since I thought I did really well. I would like to ask for some feedback. Can you please advice if it is a good idea to respond to the rejection email inquiring about my interview performance?