How To Plan Ahead For CA Firm Recruitment Events


Early September is the time when employers with CA training offices hold recruitment events both on- and off-campus for accounting students seeking CA training co-op, summer or entry level positions.

These events are important opportunities for students from first year to fourth to learn more about a variety of employers in one day and network with the firms you’re most interested in working for.

At the large, day-long recruitment events featuring many employers – often the national firms will be featured at one event and mid-sized firms at another, but sometimes they are present at the same events – there may be a number of presentations or information sessions throughout the day from each firm, as well as a career fair with employer booths and networking opportunities.

There may be as few as three or four employers in attendance, or as many as 30 or more, ranging from the more traditional accounting and professional services firms, to healthcare providers, oil and gas and other natural resource companies, government employers, telecommunications providers and more.

No matter how many employers will be there, it’s essential to plan ahead and be prepared so you can make the most of this egg-cellent opportunity to meet and mingle with potential employers! There are hundreds of training offices across the country and it’s easy to become overwhelmed.

Plan ahead: Before the CA recruitment event

Know what kind of opportunity you’re looking for

The first step is to know what kind of opportunity you’re looking for. Do you want to obtain a co-op position, a summer job or a permanent, entry level position for after you graduate?

Find out which employers are attending

Check the event website for a list of employers that will be in attendance. Do some research on each employer – especially the ones you’re not very familiar with – by checking out their employer profile on TalentEgg and visiting their company website.

Determine who is looking for what

Not all CA training offices hire for all types of positions. Some employers may only be looking for graduating students for full-time roles, while others may only hire for co-op and full-time roles, or only summer and full-time. Narrow the list of employers down to the offices that offer the opportunity you’re looking for.

Rank the employers

Based on what you already know, which training offices are you most interested in working at? Rank the employers to determine which sessions and booths you will try to visit first.

Check the event schedule and career fair floorplan

Most events will provide a schedule of information sessions, and some featuring career fairs may post a floorplan of the fair so you can be strategic about your time at the event.

Using your list of ranked employers, create your own schedule for event. It’s a good idea to start with the information sessions and attend the career fair in between sessions or later in the day to ensure that you don’t miss out on any key sessions.

Be strategic – but flexible

In case the sessions you’d most like to attend are full, make sure you have a plan B – perhaps you can attend the information session of your #2-ranked employer first and your #1 second. Be prepared to be flexible and acknowledge the fact that your itinerary may not always pan out.

Take care of the details the day before

Don’t wait until the day of to get your outfit ready, take care of personal grooming or plan how you will get to the event. Here is a list of essentials for the day before the event:

  • Get a haircut if you haven’t had one in a while.
  • Trim or file your nails – you’ll be shaking hands all day! (Read up on proper handshaking techniques.)
  • Make sure your clothes are clean and pressed, and lay out or hang up your outfit the night before.
  • Plan your route, allowing for extra time in case of traffic or public transit delays. Print a map or save the directions on your smartphone.
  • Print or write down your employer rankings and itinerary, and tuck them inside a notebook with a pen.
  • Practice your introduction. You should be able to say who you are, what school you’re from, what program and year you’re in, and what kind of CA training opportunity you’re looking for all in one sentence.
  • Eat a healthy dinner and drink plenty of water so you’re refreshed and hydrated.
  • Set an alarm. Set two alarms if you think you might sleep through one.
  • Go to bed early.

What do you do? Share your tips for preparing for CA firm recruitment events in the comments below!

Recommended reading: Part 2, How To Stand Out At CA Recruitment Events.

Visit the Accounting Career Guide to learn more about careers in the accounting industry, and find student and entry level jobs from top accounting employers, including PwC, KPMG, Grant Thornton, BDO and more

Photo credit: Spring 2010 BSC Career Fair by Mays Business School on Flickr

About the author

Cassandra Jowett is TalentEgg's Content Manager. She joined the team as a student intern in the summer of 2008, and since then her heart has never really left the Egg Carton. Cassandra is a recent graduate of the Ryerson University School of Journalism, where she earned a Bachelor of Journalism with a focus in writing and editing for newspapers. She has also written and edited for The Globe and Mail, The National Post, t.o.night newspaper and other publications.