Guest Blogger: What Recruiters Look For

For the past eight plus years, I have been fortunate to be responsible for our firm’s recruiting efforts at University of Richmond and am currently serving on the UR Career Services Advisory Council. Given that our firm is in the middle of our main recruiting season, the level of motivation that students have to get a job is a huge focus.

Motivation is something that we all have within us. However, how each individual chooses to harness their motivation, is the essential factor to landing a job after graduation. From my experience, candidates who use their motivation to be active, interested, prepared and engaged in the recruiting process are the most successful in leaving college with a diploma in one hand and a job offer in the other.

Active and Interested

Students must be active and interested. Job opportunities do not create themselves. Often I see students sitting back and letting their job search take control of them; don’t be that student. Rather, be the student whose motivation is unmatched. Stand out in a positive way. Know the deadlines for resume drops and interview sign-ups. Research what steps need to be taken to be a top-qualifying candidate and take those steps.

Use your resources. The Office of Alumni and Career Services is there to help you. Meet with a career advisor. Be creative in finding ways to further yourself and your career prospects. Attend as many industry events as possible – network and gain knowledge. Knowledge is truly power and the more you know, the more confidence you will project throughout the recruiting process. The Virginia Society of CPAs, which is located in Richmond, often has events, some geared specifically towards college students. This is a great way to connect with industry leaders, learn about current happenings, and provide you with additional ways to differentiate yourself from your peers.

Preparation and Engagement

I cannot stress enough that preparation is the key to success. Be prepared for your interviews and office visits. For those who follow old slogans, Head and Shoulders Shampoo has one that is excellent; “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” This adage is particularly true in recruiting as interviewers have to make a quick assessment on numerous candidates, often who are all top-performers in the classroom. Do your homework before any networking event, pre-interview reception or interview. Know about the company and their business. Be pre-emptive and develop insightful questions that demonstrate your level of interest in the company. This is your future career – know what questions you need answered.

Candidates who are prepared and are able to engage recruiters at events stick out and are remembered. Your resume tells us about your academic successes and extracurricular involvements, but in-person interactions provide students with the opportunity to show us their personality. Use it to your full advantage.

We all are capable of doing great things. Undoubtedly you will stumble along the way, but that is part of the path to success. No one is going to hand you success. However, if you use your motivation to be active and interested in seeking out opportunities, and properly prepare and remain engaged throughout the recruiting process, you will be rewarded. You have greatness ahead of you. Go Spiders!

Brad is a partner with Baker Tilly, a leading accounting and consulting firm with 1,600 employee and 11 offices in the US. Brad works primarily with large audit clients with complex financial reporting issues. He serves the real estate, private equity, government contracting and retail industries. He graduated from West Virginia University in 1991 and started his career with an international accounting firm in Pittsburgh.


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