How chartered accountants prepare for that coveted interview

When colleges prepare students for the job market there are certain traits that students are instructed to follow.

Placement doesn’t mean only domain knowledge or communication skills. Students must also know how to present themselves. The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India has released a 50-page handbook on the subject. The Crafting your success story – a guide to interview mastery is targeted a newly qualified CAs. The book is a detailed document. If a person goes through the book meticulously, he/she cannot go wrong in an interview.

Rarely does a student hear the term that an interview is a fascinating journey. The book begins with that statement, and coming from practicing CAs, aspiring chartered accountants don’t need another endorsement.

A recently qualified 24-year-old chartered accountant said he was participating in the orientation programme offered by the institute, which also offers campus placement. Most of the interviews happen virtually though but candidates are instructed to behave as they would in a personal interview.

“We are taught how to comb our hair. At the orientation a person told us that we should not oil our hair. If we did then we should wash our hair on the interview day. We must be clean shaven, and we must trim our nails, keep our fingers clean we were told,” he said.

The CAs are expected to wear a blazer for the interview. “A coat is fine for cold climates but how can one living in hot regions carry off such an attire,” the candidate said in dismay.

Vidhya Srikanth, founder of Srinivasa Academy that coaches CA aspirants in Chennai, however, felt the requirement was a prerequisite. With top ranked companies looking for qualified professionals it goes without saying that the interviewee should anticipate his job’s demands.

“Generally, CAs don’t prefer campus placement as they get jobs immediately on qualifying. This is especially true of rank holders. The institute offers orientation programme, training in soft skills and use of information technology for students. There are only 3 lakh CA and CMA in the country whereas there are over 20 lakh companies which are looking for qualified chartered accountants. The competition is tough, and students must be prepared,” she insisted.

T. Kalaichelvan, Director of Manikam Ramaswami College of Arts and Science, Madurai, who had earlier been the placement director at Anna University, said students are advised to be present in acceptable dress code.

“We tell them about proper grooming with good attire and projecting a pleasing personality. They are taught grooming and advised to be pleasingly attired and presentable at interviews. Some private companies may require a student to wear a jacket. But we do not make it a norm,” he said.

“Companies look for how knowledgeable you are, how far you can deliver when you are put on a project, your skills and if recruited, your attitude,” he said.

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