Job fairs are so last century

Accounting firms that want to recruit college students for internships and post-graduate positions are finding that, in a buyer's market, the firms that want to sell their positions to students, need to go beyond the traditional campus Accounting Days and job fairs and reach out to students in innovative ways.

Both Deloitte and Ernst & Young launched video contests last year. In Accounting film festival - Deloitte recruiting takes to the screen, we described the Big Four firm's intra-company contest to create recruiting videos. Three hundred seventy films were submitted by teams of Deloitte personnel and were then integrated into the firm's campus recruiting program.

Ernst & Young LLP launched a video competition for college students in the U.S. and Canada as part of the firm's enhanced efforts to engage and connect with recruits. The competition, titled "Reel Influence," allowed teams of students to make an impact on their peers, faculty, the business community, and future recruits by sharing a vision of their career through video.

PricewaterhouseCoopers made its mark on college campuses earlier this year by offering training materials for coursework in International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). A full suite of educational tools and programs are designed to help American accounting students learn the fundamentals of IFRS.

Deloitte also introduced IFRS materials to campuses through its IFRS University Consortium. By contributing resources to academic institutions, such as Ohio State University and Virginia Tech, the Consortium is assisting in the enhancement of IFRS education for students.

Several firms sponsor campus competitions, geared toward seeking out bright and ambitious students who want to go the extra mile to participate in these extra-curricular activities. Most recently, the Moss Adams Foundation sponsored Beta Alpha Psi's Project Run With It, a case competition combining real life and academic elements. Students from around the globe participated in coming up with workable solutions real problems in not-for-profit organizations.

Many accounting firms now regularly recruit potential hires by using online social media outlets, such as FaceBook. Others interact on the Internet with Web sites geared toward students such as Ernst & Young's "Picture It" where students can enter their fields of study and design a career path.

There are plenty of ways accounting firms can get involved with their future employees on campus in addition to showing up at job fairs and other interviewing venues. Hadassah Baum, executive director of Beta Alpha Psi, the professional fraternity for accounting majors, said that some firms "give presentations to accounting classes and clubs, they invite students to come into their offices to shadow staff, and they offer mock interview sessions to get students comfortable with the interviewing process."

What are your experiences? Let us know and we'd be happy to write about them, either from the student or the accounting firm's perspective.

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