Everything you need to know about getting your foot in the door at an accounting or law firm.
What are the most important traits or skills that tax firms want when hiring graduates or established tax professionals?
Tax firms are looking for graduates who have an excellent academic track record coupled with a passion for tax. Established tax professionals should either have a BCom Honours in tax or be a Chartered Accountant with a completed Higher Diploma or an MCom in tax. Professionals should also have three to five years’ corporate or international tax experience to be considered by tax firms.
What are some of the biggest red flags that usually exclude an applicant from being considered?
Job-hopping is one of the biggest red flags. Professionals should consider remaining at one company for at least three years to build up a stable track record.
How long does it usually take from the time a successful applicant applies for a position to the time she/he is given that position?
It could take about a month or so depending on the interview process, which usually includes two interviews and a psychometric assessment.
TIPS FROM A RECRUITER
Are there any characteristics/attributes that people who are successful at interviews all possess?
Yes, they are usually confident and effective communicators. They often volunteer sufficient information and build a rapport with the interview panel.
How should you prepare for a job interview?
You should conduct thorough research of the organisation before the interview. This research will assist you to generate questions to ask the interviewers. You should also be prepared to answer questions such as “what are your strengths and weaknesses, where do you see yourself in five years, tell us about yourself and what remuneration do you expect”.
What are common mistakes made during an interview?
The common mistakes interviewees make are:
- Being over-confident in your skills (bordering on arrogance)
- Not providing enough information
- Failing to elaborate on your skills
What are some major red flags in an interview?
When candidates lie about their “reasons for leaving” and when they are more focused on the monetary value of the job than career growth or development.
What should you wear to an interview?
It depends on the industry. One should wear a full suit when going for a job interview at a financial services organisation like a bank. Manufacturing organisations are lenient on dress code: black pants and a button up shirt, perhaps with a tie or a pullover, for men will suffice. Female professionals can consider wearing a corporate dress or black pants and a corporate blouse. I would suggest staying away from the black-and-white only combination; people like colour these days.
How to put together a CV
How long should a cover letter be?
I personally do not believe in cover letters as they never get read. Hiring managers are not really worried about cover letters anymore. They tend to focus mostly on a candidate’s qualifications and experience. Employers and specialist recruiters these days do not have time to read cover letters. However, if a job seeker feels strongly about a cover letter: keep it limited to two paragraphs.
How long should a CV be?
It depends on the years of experience the candidate has. They should provide a detailed description of their duties and responsibilities. Ideally, a CV should be about 5-10 pages long.
What is the right order for a CV? How does this differ depending on the career stage of the applicant?
Qualification should always be first – it outlines the candidate’s knowledge and skills. Experience should be second with the most current position listed first. Candidates can include a career summary list before they get to the details of their career experience. This is always a good way to keep the hiring manager interested in your profile. This includes a table stating company, designation and dates of employment.
What are the most common mistakes that you see on a CV?
- Incorrect or no dates of employment (from start to finish)
- Little duties and responsibilities: some candidates are under the impression that they do not need to include all their job duties. If it is not in your CV, it is assumed that you do not have the experience
- No structure separating qualification, experience, special achievements, etc.
- Misrepresentation: professionals should not lie on their CVs. Recruiters have a way of verifying employment and qualifications through conducting MIE checks.
Nel, M. (2018). How To Get A Job, Tips From A Tax Recruitment Agency. TaxTalk, (69), pp. 18-19. South African Institute of Tax Professionals.