How many hours in a typical week – outside of the office (i.e., on your own time) – do you spend on firm related/career matters?
As an introduction to the accounting profession, you are required to interview an accounting professional. It can be anyone. The objectives of this assignment are two-fold: (1) to actually introduce you to someone in the profession so as to provide you a window (however small) into the profession; and (2) to get you used to interviewing people. The business world is all about personal relationships; you will be expected to interview various colleagues, clients, etc., starting day one of your career.
The good news is: this task is easier than it sounds; most people love to talk about themselves and/or their work. Therefore, if you properly construct “open-ended” questions, this assignment should be a slam-dunk. For those of you who do not know what they are, “open-ended” questions are questions that require more than a yes/no and/or a one word answer. The proto-typical open-ended question is: “Can you tell me a little something about yourself?”
Assignment: find a professional and interview him/her about their experiences at their job. Questions could include, among others:
1. Why did you decide to work for the company who are now working for?
2. Describe what you do in a typical day / week / month / year.
3. How many hours do you work in a typical day/week?
4. How many hours in a typical week – outside of the office (i.e., on your own time) – do you spend on firm related/career matters?
5. How does your job match with what your expectations were when you took the job?
6. Does your company value your contributions? What are their expectations of you today and (say) one year/five years from now.
7. In that regard, does your firm provide training/continuing education opportunities?
8. In a perfect world, do you see yourself working for this company in 5 years; why or why not?
9. Where did you go to college; what was your major? Do you believe your college experience prepared you for this job? If not, how could the school have done a better job preparing you?
10. What long-term “career” type benefits do you think this job provides for you; if you had it to do all over again, would you make the same choice(s)?
Interviewing is an art, not a science. When you conduct your interview, act professionally; that means, among other things: dress appropriately and leave your cell phone in the car. At the end of the interview, take care to thank the interviewee for his/her time; you may even ask him/her if it would be ok to ask follow up questions via the phone or email.