You put in the years of studying, logged countless hours of extracurricular activities, perfected your resume and nailed the interviews. Congratulations, you have a job offer or maybe several offers. Unfortunately, you are not quite finished. Once you receive your employment offers, be it for an internship or a full-time position, there are a few considerations.
Create an Excel spreadsheet that contains each job offer along with their characteristics.Examine salaries, benefit packages (as well as when you become eligible for those benefits), 401(k) plans and employer contributions. Look at other fringe benefits, such as the use of a company gym or tuition reimbursement programs. Make sure you have a clear description of the job title and that the job description matches what you discussed in the interview. If you are not provided with a formalized job description, ask for one. Be mindful of the expected workload. Does the employer expect you to work 40 hours a week, or does the company expect you to work additional hours? Make sure that these aspects of the job are known, and consider them in your decision. Lastly, take into account other aspects that affect you, such as the commute, work environment, coworker friendliness and so on. Do not base your decision solely on starting salary. In the long run, a few thousand dollars is not substantial when a lower-paying position could eventually propel your career in directions you never thought possible.
Once you compare the relevant information and have made your decision to accept an offer, communicate your acceptance as well as your declination of your other offers. Thank the person who offered you the job and express your formal acceptance in writing. The recruiter will then likely have you fill out required paperwork and sign your acceptance of the offer. Once you sign this offer, you should not back out of the job. By signing this offer you are committing yourself, and the firm will cease recruiting for the position. Should you back out, the firm will have to find a replacement after their recruiting season is over. If the offer deadline is approaching and you are waiting to hear from other firms, request an offer period extension from the employer as far in advance as possible. The employer is not required to satisfy your request, but might should you provide a reasonable explanation. If you cannot get an extension on the offer period but still want to hear about other offers, you have an extremely difficult decision. You could accept the job and end up getting a better offer from another firm, or you could decline the offer and receive no other offers. Should you accept the job, it is an unprofessional decision to back out when another offer is received.
Next, reach out to the recruiters at the firms you declined offers with. Thank them for the opportunity. You don’t want to burn bridges and may want to work for that company someday, so be thankful and professional in your declination. There is no need to make up elaborate lies when declining an offer; recruiters at firms in the same industry know each other and talk frequently!
To better understand the job offer process in the accounting industry, I had a conversation with Scott McQuillan, National Campus Recruiting Leader for the Audit and Tax Practices at Deloitte. McQuillan is responsible for recruitment strategy and operations for thousands of full-time and intern new hires annually and has 15 years of experience in recruiting at Deloitte. McQuillan summarizes his role at Deloitte as “finding the best talent to serve the best clients.” McQuillan has a network of campus recruiters at colleges and universities around the country. He describes the role of the recruiter as building relationships with students that often last for several years during their academic tenure. The recruiters try to determine if the students are a good fit for Deloitte and help the students determine if Deloitte is a good fit for them. To ensure that the job offer process goes smoothly, McQuillan’s team coordinates with the accounting departments and career service offices at each university.
For all of the hard work and dedication that McQuillan and his team of recruiters put in, they have certain expectations for students. According to McQuillan, planning is crucial in the process, “It’s like a class. You study and prepare, so be prepared for the interviews and job offer process; be an active participant.” McQuillan suggests that students do their homework about the profession they are interested in. Do thorough research about the firms and career paths you are interested in. It is important to know your likes and dislikes when considering a future career path. When conducting career research, McQuillan says that some of the best resources are professors, alumni and accounting professionals. Deloitte offers extensive programs on college campuses that provide educational experiences for students to better understand career options in the accounting profession. Such programs are a great opportunity to interact with employees and get a better grasp of which career paths may be right for you.
McQuillan stresses to students interested in careers at Deloitte and other accounting firms to be open and honest with recruiters from the very beginning. He encourages students to explore all of their potential career options and gather all the information necessary to make an educated and informed decision. McQuillan’s team can provide answers to any potential questions. Through programming events and individual communication with students, the recruiters hope to provide students with all of the information they need to make a decision. Recruiters can sometimes satisfy student requests for time extensions on an offer, provided it is feasible for Deloitte. Given the extent of support provided by recruiters to students, it is only fair that students actively participate in the offer process with honesty and integrity. “Honesty and integrity are inherent in our line of business, so we expect it from our employees and prospective employees,” says McQuillan.
McQuillan and his team know that applicants will fall into one of three categories at the end of the process: (1) a prospect will be hired and become a colleague; (2) they could accept an offer at another firm and become a competitor; or (3) they could work at a client ‘s business or become a client one day. The medium you use to convey your acceptance or denial of the offer is just as important as providing early notification. Recruiters appreciate phone calls more than emails. It is a gesture that shows genuine appreciation for the time the recruiter has spent building a relationship with you during the process. A handwritten thank you note can also make a lasting impact. At the end of the day, the recruiters expect students to have multiple offers. They understand they are working with the top talent at the best universities and know that other firms are attempting to recruit them. By professionally turning down an offer, you leave the door open for future possibilities.
Joseph Hark is a 2011 graduate of Pope John XXIII High School in Sparta, NJ. He received a NJSCPA high school scholarship in 2011, sponsored by Deloitte. He is currently attending Bentley University in Waltham, MA, and pursuing a major in Corporate Finance and Accounting. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.