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Graduate Recruitment – Blunders to Avoid March 11, 2010

Posted by Audit Monkey in Working Life in Britain.
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This old chestnut has reared it’s ugly head this week. First at work, then in the press.  What follows is a salutary lesson in what not to say and what to do to get ahead. For all those unemployed graduates out there, this may be of interest.

Earlier this week I was quizzed by an Intern (flash name for work experience graduate with no experience) at the coffee machine. What follows is the rough conversation.

The graduate introduced himself; ‘nice guy’ I thought and he asked what I did. “Internal Auditor”, I said, “FCCA, which shows you how long I’ve been doing it”.

He asked “what does an Internal Auditor do?” I gave my stock reply, “audit the financial and operational systems in the firm”.

Graduate Intern then commented that he was interested in becoming an accountant but wished to obtain a training contract to study to be ‘ACA’ as it has “more snob value”, to which I replied, “I think you will find they are much of a muchness; if anything the ACCA is more business orientated”.

Out of curiousity I asked if he had applied for any training contracts. “No” as he lacked UCAS (UCCA) points, attributable to illness that affected his ‘A’ level performance and he had also missed the application deadline for one firm. I suggested that in the future he contact the firms direct to discuss his circumstances or highlight the mitigating circumstances on his application form. I ended the conversation and wished him luck.

Now, can you spot the ‘learning points’?

Lesson 1 – I admire ambition but don’t indirectly insult someone by saying that membership of the ICAEW is better than the ACCA, especially when you can get some insight and advice from that person.

Lesson 2
– If you are keen on pursuing a particular career, e.g. Accountant, make sure you read up. Surely anyone who wanted a career in accountancy would know what an Internal Auditor does. More importantly, it demonstrates commitment and interest, not a flash in the pan.

Let’s face, it as Simon Culhane of CISI said in the Evening Standard this week, degree subjects such as business, maths or law are the few courses which help students get ahead. If you haven’t graduated in these subjects, you are at an immediate disadvantage to your peers, so read up.

Lesson 3 – apply for the vacancies. Ring up HR departments. If you don’t, your career stays put.

Some moments later, I was going to seek out the Intern and suggest that he mugged up on his desired career but I had second thoughts. Sometimes you only learn the hard way.

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