PricewaterhouseCoopers plans to make roughly 2,500 full-time professional and intern hires within its advisory business during its 2014 fiscal year, set to begin on July 1, the firm told eFinancialCareers. We spoke to Miranda Kalinowski, PwC’s newly-appointed U.S. sourcing leader, to get a better idea of what they’re looking for and what you’ll need to get the job. Kalinowski previously served as the U.S. recruiting lead for PwC’s advisory practice.
Tell us a little about your hiring plans within the advisory group?
In our next fiscal year, the advisory group is expected to make roughly 1,500 experienced hires and 1,000 campus hires, which includes interns and MBA students. Our hottest business units are technology consulting and cyber security. Our business applications group, particularly units working with SAP and Oracle, and risk consulting are also very busy. So is our “People and Change” group.
What do they do?
“People and Change” helps improve business processes by providing support to employees when infrastructural changes are made within an organization so that people can adopt those changes without hitting any speed bumps. Consultants provide learning and organizational development mostly.
What must you see on a resume for a candidate to be considered for the advisory business? Is an MBA a must?
No, they don’t need an MBA, although we do hire folks with MBAs who have at least four plus years of relevant experience. For experienced hires, you’ll need prior consulting experience in professional services and a specialization in a specific sector or competency. Someone with financial services and management consulting experience and a background in business strategy, for example. Having knowledge of industry-specific applications, like say Guidewire for insurance, is a big plus. Essentially, they need a functional skill-set with the consulting background.
For less experience hires, we cast a much wider net. Clients are so diverse across industries, we end up focusing on a lot of different college and MBA majors. It’s not just accounting any more. We look for people with backgrounds in computer science, engineering, economics, quants and statistics.
How important is a candidate’s GPA?
GPA is one barometer for likely success at the firm; it shows they applied themselves to an area of interest. But it’s equally as important to be well-rounded. We like to see profiles that say they worked while studying, because that’s real to life. Proven leadership skills are also important.
What don’t you want to see on resumes?
What continues to surprise me is that you still get resumes with typos and spelling mistakes. If we see that, we absolutely put the resumes into a virtual “no” pile. It’s a poor representation of their personal brand. It’s table stakes.
Then there is not targeting the resume to the job you are applying for. It shouldn’t be one size fits all. You need to draw a parallel from your experience to what they are looking for. And don’t just go into length listing responsibilities. Put yourself in the shoes of readers and imagine what they would want to see. Finally, don’t oversell yourself – you will be found out. If you are exaggerating people will call you out on that.
And for cover letters?
We won’t rule you out if you don’t have one but may if you include one that is not targeted, so if you do include one, it needs to be targeted.
What do you want to see in interviews?
What we are looking to see a person come in and demonstrate is their technical skill level. You should be prepared to come in and offer good, specific examples of the work you’ve done. We’ll have you step through a formula to approach a problem and deconstruct it. All the while getting sense of culture fit, the way they team with others, their ability to be agile and their appetite to learn. Are they inclusive and open minded?
We definitely look for a global acumen. Do you have the ability to travel? People are the product here, so we need to match the right profiles with the right clients. Sometimes it can be 80% to 100% travel, so you need to be prepared. We offer a lot of immersion training in a very inclusive environment, so people will be armed with the right tools and assets to succeed.
Is it helpful to speak another language?
It’s definitely a bonus to speak another language or have worked abroad. Headline that in interview. However, if they haven’t worked overseas and that’s something they want to do, mention that as well.
Do you do social media checks on prospective candidates?
We have a firm policy that we don’t conduct social media checks. Some companies are doing them though. My advice, whether they are active or not, online profile needs to represent the personal brand that you want prospective employers to see.