What’s a Firm Tour Like?

If you’re going through accounting recruitment, or you expect to in the near future, there’s no doubt that you’ll be attending a firm tour. Whether it’s one of the Big 4, a medium or small sized firm, this is your chance to find out where you fit in. Like any networking event, firm tours can be intimidating. Here’s what to expect.

How to prepare

  • Be aware of the dress code. Usually, it’ll be business formal.
  • Research the firm ahead of time. You don’t want to be asking questions that you can easily find answers to online. Instead, researching can help you find out what you’re curious about; you’ll find topics that you want to hear more about. What’s community involvement like at the firm? What kind of programs does the firm offer for travel? You’ll get more specific answer to whatever you need to know and show that you’re interested in the firm.
  • Come prepared with a few questions. Dull moments happen, so if there’s a pause in conversation, you’ll have something to say to avoid awkwardness.
  • Come with a buddy if you can. It’s always easier to keep a conversation going when you know someone there. What’s more, recruiters and employees at the firm are more likely to remember your names if you keep repeating them in reference to each other. Remember, there are hundreds of students applying for the same job as you. Try to stand out.
  • Eat before you go. Most of the firms have great catering at the events, but if you’re like me, you’ll be too nervous or too busy talking to stop for a snack.
  • Bring business cards with your picture on it. You don’t have to have them, but it helps people remember you.
  • Be early to the event. Given that you want to be able to talk to as many people as possible, show up early so you can get your name tag and start mingling.
  • Go to as many firm tours as possible. This is one of the only times you’ll be able to make an impression, so make it count.

What to expect

Most firm tours last between 2-3 hours long, and are comprised of 3-4 parts.

  • Introduction to the firm, accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation and a few speakers.
  • Next is usually the firm tour, where you’ll get split off into groups and take a tour of the offices. If you’re given a specific time for the start of your tour, keep an eye on the clock.
  • Finally, all of the groups usually end up back where they started for a networking session with employees and recruiters.
  • Some firms will have a small panel discussion about the different services they offer or life at the company before the networking session.

Tips for the event

  • Don’t just talk business. If you have specific questions you’d like answered, go for it! The event’s there for you to learn as much as possible. But if you’re just trying to get to know people, ask employees about sports, how their summer went, what they like to do for fun… These will lead to more interesting and memorable conversations. Moreover, it lets you know what people are like at the firm, and whether you fit in.
  • Try to have fun—within reason. Smile, get to know people (peers included), but definitely go easy on the wine. While you’re checking out the firm, the firm is checking you out.
  • Ask for people’s business cards and remember their names.
  • Be as genuine as possible.

Talk to as many people as you can and enjoy the process!

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