How to Conquer Meet the Firms in 2019

By Roger CPA Review

Meet the Firms (MTF) is an important event to attend in order to get a jump start in your accounting career both before, and especially after, graduation. The event is normally hosted on college and university campuses during the spring and fall semesters, with the larger events occurring mostly in the fall.

Attendees of the event include public accounting firms, private industries, and government agencies. The purpose of the event is for recruiters to scout their future new hires pursuing professional careers in accounting upon graduation -- looking at the next group of top talent to fulfill their firms’ needs.

While the event is extremely important to attend during your junior and senior years in school, it is highly encouraged that you attend as many as you can as early and often as possible. The more positive impressions and interactions you have with firm recruiters, the more likely they will remember you when you’re ready for internships or subsequent career positions.

However, keep in mind that MTF is a two-way street. While firms are looking for the best recruits, it is also your opportunity to look for a firm that best suits your work ethic and desired company culture. To ensure that your next MTF event is a success, incorporate some of these tips to make sure that you and a firm are a good fit.

1. Carry yourself with confidence. As you know, first impressions are important in the professional world. Recruiters will interact with hundreds of students at MTF events, so it’s important that you show poise and confidence when meeting a recruiter for the first time. The way you carry yourself and communicate will be a good indication of how you will represent a firm when working with their future clients. Some helpful things to remember are:

  • Smile and be friendly
  • Use body language
  • Have straight posture
  • Be graceful
  • Speak loudly & clearly
  • Have a firm handshake
  • Maintain good eye contact
  • Be honest, authentic, and professional

2. Learn to communicate well. You can have a great resume, but if you aren’t a good communicator in social situations, it could prevent you from landing a job at your desired firm. Everyone has the capacity to communicate well, but the way in which communication is given and received depends on the way you speak, listen, and generally interact with someone. Things that can help you be a better communicator are:

  • Be honest about yourself
  • Talk about your hobbies
  • Have a sense of humor
  • Be compassionate
  • Be outgoing

3. Outline your goals and ambitions. Your resume doesn’t really outline your goals and ambitions for your career. At MTF events, recruiters will want to know more about who you are in areas not covered on your resume. So, if there are opportunities in your conversation where you can talk about your personal and/or career goals and ambitions, make sure they’re anecdotes that show your professional eagerness and your willingness to do the following:

  • Take calculated risks
  • Be open to new ways of thinking/doing things
  • Focus on execution
  • Partake in friendly competition
  • Take initiative
  • Go above expectations
  • Be motivated and determined
  • Work hard

4. Demonstrate your leadership and teamwork abilities. Recruiters want to make sure the candidate they hire is someone who can work both autonomously as well as on a team. They also want to know that you have the leadership skills to take on new tasks and help the firm grow. You can gain this type of experience through both volunteer and community service hours. These types of experiences provide transferable skills that can be utilized in your accounting career. Some examples that will help you hone these skills while also showing that you’re a well-rounded person are:

  • Active membership within an organization
  • Officer of an organization
  • Involvement in volunteer services
  • Leadership of projects for other organizations
  • Active participation in campus events
  • Growth of involvement year-over-year
  • Ability to delegate and execute projects

5. Refine your technical skills. Accounting technology is ever-changing, and recruiters are looking for candidates who are technically savvy and able to embrace the larger technical landscape. You’ll want to show a recruiter that you can adapt, learn, and quickly meet the profession’s technical demands. Some ways you can sharpen your technical skills are by working on:

  • Computing abilities
  • Quantitative analysis
  • Production of charts and model trends
  • Gather/produce/analyze data
  • Coding or programming abilities
  • Technical writing
  • Microsoft Office applications

Remember: finding a firm that fits your personality and desired culture is just as important as recruiters looking for the best candidate to fill their positions. There are sometimes up to 35 accounting firms at MTF events, so be sure to target the firms with whom you most want to meet. There are many differences between small, medium, and large sized accounting firms. Therefore, your targeting depends on where you are in the recruitment process and how well you have positioned yourself for hiring. So do your research about your top choice firms before attending so that you’re best positioned for a successful MTF event.