So, now you are newly qualified CA. Now what to do? You might want to think of a few career options.
To help you in your career, ICAI has set up a committee known as the Committee for Members in Industry & Business where the aim is to connect newly qualified CAs with organizations looking to hire by means of their CA Campus Placement Programmes. These are organised twice a year.
A large part of this campus placement are the interviews wherein, you, as a newly minted CA are interviewed by companies looking to hire. These are the CA Campus Placement Interviews.
Here’s how to ace them.
How to Crack the CA Campus Interviews
The word ‘interview’ can be a bit nerve-wracking for a lot of people. There’s a lot of pressure from everyone around you and there are a hundred questions going on in your head. We’re here to put your mind at ease. We’re not saying it’s easy, but there are ways to tackle everything and CA Campus Interviews are no exception.
WHAT NOT TO DO
Everyone is going to talk about the ‘what-to- dos’ of interviews, but what about the ‘what not-to-dos’, because they’re just as important. Some of these are as follows:
- Under-preparedness: You have come this far in your CA journey, so it obviously means that you have what It takes to become a successful CA. However, that’s not all you need. A lot depends on how you present yourself, your body language, the way you communicate and being ready for anything that the interviewer asks of you. Keep your documents handy and be quick and smooth with your responses.
- Not taking the Interview seriously: Just because this is a campus interview, does not mean it’s not a serious matter. Keep in mind that this is also part of your training process and will help a long way in getting jobs in the future. Treat this interview just as importantly as you would any other. That being said, a witty remark here and there shows a good side of your personality.
- Career confusion: This is tough one. College life goes by so fast that you don’t get enough time to think about what you want to do. And this is the reason why many students can’t deliver well during an interview. However, it is a choice you have to make. There are a number of great career options you can choose from in the field of CA such as Accounting, Auditing, Taxation, Risk Management, and Financial analysis, to name a few. Give yourself a little time to gather your thoughts.
WHAT TO DO
Now, the most imperative part of the interview process – the interview etiquette. While the following might seem clichéd, they couldn’t be truer.
- Appearance: Yes, appearance matters. Dress smartly and formally. For a man, ideally the following should be the dress code:
- Full-sleeved formal shirt of a pastel colour
- Formal trousers – black, brown or navy blue
- A matching tie
- Smart, polished shoes
- Neat haircut
- For women, the dress code would include:
- Formal clothing – either a pant-suit or a salwar-kameez, either one in pastel shades
- Formal shoes
- No bright jewellery or accessories
- Communication Skills: This is one of those questions that is sure to come up during the interview. Go prepared with the response to common questions such as – why they should hire you, what your personal and professional profile is, what your strengths and weaknesses are. Be confident and secure about your responses and try not to break eye-contact while speaking.
- Homework: Make sure you’ve done your leg work before you step into the interview. Learn about the company and its history, its current place in the market, and any other such handy questions.
- Attitude: Interviewers have an eye for any nervous sign and they try to use tactics that might make you more nervous or annoy you. Of course, this is just a test. On the other hand, they appreciate a cool-headed attitude and confidence. So, focus all your energies on being the latter.
You would have learned much of the interview etiquette during your CA course. Brush up on your communication skills etc. before the interview.
TYPES OF INTERVIEWS
These interview-types are not simply limited to the CA campus interviews, but to interviews as a whole. So let’s look at some types of interviews that you may encounter during the CA Campus Placement Programme:
Panel Interviews: This can be especially nerve-wracking because instead of having to answer to one person, you are answering to a whole panel of interviewers. On the plus side, only one person can ask you a question at a time. So, make eye-contact with that interviewer alone and answer confidently.
Behavioural Interviews: This is a technique to understand the candidate’s personal background. In this case, the interviewer may ask you to describe a situation from your past or pose a hypothetical question that you may have to answer. Be creative with your replies.
Group Discussions: As you move on to different rounds of interviews, you are sure to find yourself in the middle of a group discussion. The point of a group discussion is to see how well you interact with people around you and how driven you are to get your point across. Be logical while answering questions. Keep a structured thought process and speak coherently. Assertiveness and control go a long way during group discussions.
Technical Round: This is a round that you have been training for since the beginning of your CA journey. Here you will be asked technical questions on practical knowledge that you’ve gained during your training and articleship. In order to make an impression in this round, brush up on some important topics like AS, introductory knowledge of US GAAP & IFRS, stock market, TDS, online return filling, Companies Act & IT act, audits, etc.
CAMPUS PLACEMENT STATISTICS
If you’re still feeling under-confident about the interview, here are some statistics that might cheer you up.
· In 2017, campus interviews were conducted in over 22 centres across the country.
· The highest international offered were approximately INR 75 Lakhs (2016).
· The highest domestic package was INR 24 Lakh (2016).
· The average domestic salary was INR 8 Lakh (2017).
· Over 37% of the candidates who had attended the interview in 2017 were placed successfully
· Over 118 firms and companies took part in the campus recruitment held by the ICAI in 2017
If you wish to join this league of Chartered Accountants, then don’t let anything stop you. Work hard and success will undoubtedly follow.
In closing, just remember that at the end of the day, it is only an interview. While it is an important stepping-stone for your career, being nervous and stressed out about it is not going to help. What you can do to help your nervousness is take up activities such as yoga, meditation or any form of exercise or working out. Even if it is a long walk every now and then, do it to calm your nerves and prepare for the interview.
CA campus interviews are only one of the many options that you are going to come across on your professional journey. There are many other job avenues to explore and many more interviews to take and learn from. So, don’t limit your options and take every failure with a pinch of salt, and every success with pride.