Landing the Job: How to Navigate Fall Recruitment

Student Career
| 6/29/2022

As a new or junior accounting student, navigating fall recruitment can be challenging. Crowe MacKay’s accounting student recruitment team shares important information about recruitment and how you can best navigate this busy time to create the results and career opportunities you want.


Stay informed on important dates and deadlines

There are many important dates and deadlines you need to be aware during fall recruitment, such as when:

  • The recruitment process starts
  • Firms begin accepting applications
  • Candidate interviews start
  • Job offers are sent
  • The deadline is to accept offers

This varies across Canada and should be one of the first items you look into so you don’t miss any opportunities. Your local CPA Chapter, accounting student clubs, or post-secondary institute’s Co-Op Office can be a great resource in finding the majority of this information.

For accounting students in Alberta or British Columbia looking for details provided by their local CPA Chapter, visit CPA AB or CPA B.C.’s post-secondary recruitment guidelines webpages. CPA Chapters in the Northwest Territories and Yukon do not have recruitment guidelines. This means that firms can post opportunities as they become available and is recommended that you watch their website for new opportunities or subscribe to their student newsletter to be notified directly.

Generally speaking, accounting firms hire in the spring and/or fall for positions that will start the following calendar year. At Crowe MacKay, and most other large to medium-sized firms, start dates are typically September or January for full-time students and January or May for many co-op positions.

Know that dates can vary from one organization to the next so be sure to get the right information about the firm(s) you’re interested in.


Prepare for and attend on-campus and in-office networking events

There are many chances to network with potential employers. Universities typically host career fairs on campuses, while accounting firms and your local CPA Chapter often host off-campus information sessions and other networking events.

It is useful to come to a networking event prepared. CPA B.C.’s “Student Recruitment Tips for Success” offers advice on how students can best prepare and make a great first impression. Some of the advice they give includes:

  • Crafting a 30-second elevator speech that will communicate who you are, what you’re looking for, and how your skills can benefit the company/organization.
  • Preparing tailored questions for the employer you intend to visit.
  • Arriving early to avoid long waiting lines to speak with your preferred employer.

Networking events largely take place in the fall and spring/summer. If you want to give yourself the best chance for success, our team recommends accounting students start attending recruitment events as early as their 2nd or 3rd year.


Meet people from as many different firms as possible

It’s important to build your network before you graduate and before you begin looking for an accounting student job opportunity. The connections you make before you’re ready for your next step can have a huge impact on your potential opportunities and your future. Also, meet as many different positions within a firm as you can. Meeting people from every level of a firm will give you a better understanding of what working at an organization will be like. It’s just as important for a firm to want to work with you as it is for you to want to work with them.

If you’re getting ready for accounting student recruitment, learn what firms are looking for when hiring so that you can make a lasting impression, putting your resume at the top of the pile when you apply.

Removing yourself from recruitment after accepting an offer

It is strongly advised that once you accept a job offer, you honour it and stop all recruitment activities. That means, if you are given an offer letter from your first-choice employer and have already accepted an opportunity from your second or third choice, you should honour the first contractual agreement you’ve accepted. If you choose to go another direction after already accepting an offer, keep professionalism top of mind, letting the firm you’ve accepted an offer from first know as soon as possible.

Remember, during the recruitment process you are establishing yourself and your personal brand. This is how firms will remember you and will form the foundation of many of the relationships you build during the networking process. Honouring your job offer speaks to your commitment and loyalty and will continue to benefit your relationships — even those with competing firms!

More details on job offers can be read in CPA Alberta’s “CPA Alberta Post-secondary Recruitment Framework,” which discusses how to best manage receiving, accepting, and rejecting opportunities.

About Crowe MacKay

At Crowe MacKay, we are dedicated to the on-going training and development of accounting professionals. We provide the essential elements, in the form of high-quality practical experience, peer support, and the day-to-day training necessary to achieve your professional accounting designation. Our CFE students exceed national pass rates and continue to be recognized on the National Honor Roll. We provide top-tier training and mentorship and have been recognized as an employer of choice. With over 50 years of expertise, we continue to create lasting value. Come grow with us!
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