I’m writing this post in the midst of completing a bunch of assignments that are due next week; Entities on Tuesday and Audit on Friday (although my section is due by midday Monday).
The past week was probably one of the busiest but happiest weeks of my life. I survived my very first corporate interview, and sat through 3 quizzes for 3 of my subjects. I remember I started writing notes for my entities quiz 2 weeks ago, then on Friday, received a call from a big 4 firm inviting me to their offices for a partner interview the following Tuesday. I was absolutely ecstatic to be shortlisted for an interview especially as I never imagined I would get so far in a vacation/graduate application process. (The furthest I’d ever gotten was a video interview which I unfortunately stammered my way through – needless to say, I was cut after that round.)
I didn’t tell anyone – I have this abnormal superstition that if I tell people about an upcoming interview or receive any sort of help/advice regarding said interview, I would fail . Luckily I’d spoken to many people in the past regarding their partner interviews/ACs and had researched everything there is to know about interviews for the past year, so I felt quite confident that I had all the information I needed for the interview. That didn’t stop me from repeatedly googling the same questions over the weekend though; I’m pretty sure I googled and downloaded every single behavioural question there is on the internet over the 3 days before my interview. (Jks, maybe not all but I definitely had answers to like 200 different questions.)
I divided my research into several parts:
- The firm
- News Affecting the firm
- News in general
- Audit & Assurance
- Behavioural Questions
The day of my interview, I was so nervous I couldn’t eat. (Even after the interview, my nerves still hadn’t settled so the only food I had before dinner was half a banana bread.) Anyway, the interview wasn’t anything like I’d imagined. I was expecting to be bombarded with behavioural questions and questions about what was happening in the business world and why I wanted to join the firm (hence all the research and practice) BUT the interview was more of a conversation to get to know me as a person and not so much about drawing upon my past experiences. My friends had told me that their interviews were conducted in a very chill/relaxed environment but the interviewers did ask them a lot of questions, and that was what I expected; best case scenario -a chill interview with numerous behavioural questions and worst case scenario – grilling.
I was definitely surprised but extremely grateful that my interview took the form of a conversation. My interviewers (who were seriously the nicest people ever) made me feel welcome and comfortable as soon as I stepped inside the interview room. There was a bit of small talk, which really helped to settle my nerves because I felt I was chatting with two people I’d just met on the street and not two people who were assessing my suitability for a role at their firm!
They introduced themselves and talked about their experience. The next hour consisted of me telling them a bit about myself, my reasons for choosing Commerce & my majors, travelling, my past individual tax return internship, tutoring and blogging, and then they would take turns telling me about the firm, its culture, values and auditing. I could feel they truly enjoy working there, and as I listened to them, a light switched on in my head and I became dead set on joining them. I remember thinking, “if I don’t get an internship this year, I’ll be back next year to apply for grad.”
I walked out of their offices feeling relieved as I felt the interview went rather well!
And guess what??
I received my verbal offer the following day!!! (Immediately after my entities quiz hahahah)
I can’t express how excited, grateful and BLESSED I felt in that moment; I was legit speechless. The only words I could form were “THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS OPPORTUNITY”. Gawd, I was so over the moon I probably wasn’t even coherent over the phone ahahah!
I signed my contract on Friday and now, I’m looking forward to my first day of work! (Actually I’m praying that I’ll pass background checks! HAHA I just have this habit of worrying unnecessarily about anything and everything.)
Just one bit of advice for my future self; DON’T EVER GIVE UP AND KEEPING PURSING YOUR DREAMS. A year ago, I was getting cut left, right and centre after the online assessments. I felt pretty hopeless and stupid – I mean, people my age had already received offers and here I was, struggling to pass an online test. I remember mentioning to a friend early this year that I would “apply to the big 4 firms then try the mid tier firms and then if I don’t get anything I’d try the small accounting firms” and he said that I wasn’t ambitious enough, but at the time, I had literally no faith in myself so I was willing to take whatever I could get. Fast forward 8 months, and I spent the better part of an hour (or more) researching, drafting and creating the perfect response to demonstrate why I wanted to join the vacation program, felt confident as I completed their online assessments, had faith in myself as I proceeded to record my video interview and remained calm throughout the entire process, and then successfully received an offer after my partner interview.
I’ve realised after this process that we should always chase after what we want and to never give up. It may take 10 or 20 tries before we master the online assessment or before we can comfortably talk in front of a video camera, but we will master it eventually. Practice makes perfect, and if we fail the first 2,3 or 10 times, it’s okay. We can learn from our mistakes and try again. After all, without failure, there is no success. 🙂