Wall Street is getting leaner. The job security isn’t there, nor is the same level of financial upside. The Big Four, meanwhile, keep getting bigger. PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte, KPMG and Ernst & Young continue to hire aggressively in most areas, including consulting.
Deloitte is particularly bullish on its advisory future; the firm is planning plenty of new hires for its current fiscal year. We talked to Diane Borhani, Deloitte’s director of campus recruiting, to get more details on what you need to do to get the job.
What are your hiring plans for the coming year? What areas are hottest?
Our hiring goals are very consistent with the prior year, if not slightly rising with business growth and expansion into new industries. We plan to make roughly 17,000 experienced, campus and intern hires across all U.S. businesses during fiscal year 2014, which began on June 1. Roughly 7,000 of the hires will be experienced candidates.
We’re seeing high demand across the board in advisory, but technology may be the hottest area. There is an amazing demand for candidates with strong IT skills and well-rounded business acumen. We’re also hiring rapidly in healthcare, financial services, education and government.
With hiring on Wall Street slowing following the financial crisis, are you starting to see a new crop of candidates interested in consulting?
We’re seeing the quality of students improving year-over-year, but I’m not sure if you can correlate that with the crisis – maybe to some degree. We’ve realized that to get to students – the ones that we want in our organization – you need to get to them earlier. Connecting with freshman and sophomores, that is where we’re seeing the difference. They’re being taught better by universities – they’re more prepared. Students we go after are getting multiple offers. The ones we want still have their choices.
What do you look for on a resume?
Outside of the technical and industry expertise, we look for people who will do well in a collaborative team environment and those who have expertise leading other individuals. We’re looking for people who will develop into the next generation of leaders. People with certain ethical standards.
An MBA is certainly not a must, although certain parts of business require a business degree. We hire many MBAs in our strategy, human capital and technology groups, but no, it’s not a prerequisite by any means. Others have graduate degrees in the discipline in which they specialize, like a masters in healthcare for example.
Can you mention a few pet-peeves you have with candidates?
We expect people to come here prepared. In today’s job environment, being prepared can be a big differentiator. Sending a resume or cover letter with no research and just a general statement, it’s clear you sent it out to 100 companies. It’s not going to rule you out but it also won’t put you in leading candidate status. Then there are misspellings and grammar mistakes. In advisory, accuracy is such a large part of the job. I’ve seen someone misspell Deloitte before.
Take me through the interview process. What kind of questions do you ask?
At Deloitte, you need to have compliment of skills to be successful. We use various formats to dive into a candidate’s ability to do the job. How they work with clients, how to you solve complex business problems. We’ll ask them to provide specific examples of how they’ve demonstrated those skills in their past work experience. We’ll also have them take part in numerous case interviews to simulate a business environment. “If you were in XYZ client environment, how would you approach this problem?”
Take me through the first six months for new hires.
It depends on their background. University recruitment will involve extensive training. They’ll be required to take certain courses at Deloitte University, for example. MBAs go through an acclimation process and are asked to study and understand various Deloitte principles and methodologies. There’s also extensive technology training.
For experienced hires, we get them in front of clients as soon as is appropriate. Research suggests that 70% of professional development happens on the job. They may shadow experienced consultants and take part in basic client engagement while more learning and development takes place. We also offer several multi-dimensional programs for leaders, including fellowship programs.
How important is a candidate’s GPA?
GPA is one factor that we look at. Studies have shown that a person’s GPA does correlate with success, but we all know it’s not a standalone. You need to look at the context of the entire individual. We look at their work experience, if they’ve put themselves through college and if they’ve participated in any clubs.
As part of an agreement, Deloitte’s financial-advisory services unit has been banned from working for select New York state financial institutions for a full year. Has this affected recruiting and/or hiring?
I have not seen any direct impact. In general people are educated and have inquiries and questions. I have not seen any impact on our ability to attract or recruit who we want. People understand in business things occur. Our business voluntarily paid to improve best practices and standards. Our standards weren’t questioned, but we decided to improve them going forward. I have not seen any candidates remove themselves from the process due to the decision. And remember, the only business that was affected was the FSA business.