Mock interviews offer real opportunities for accounting co-op students


KPMG Enterprise manager and Brock grad Dawn Lagesten (right) make a point while accounting co-op students Danielle Wong (left) and Lillian Yeung listen during a mock interview event.

The interviews at Brock’s Accounting Co-op event aren’t real, but the opportunities are.

With future co-op positions – and possibly more – awaiting the program’s 148 students, meeting with chartered professional accountant firms represents the launching point in their careers.

“It’s extremely important, and as you can tell by some of the nerves … the students know it’s an important event,” said Nathan Braun, Co-op Programs Office relationship manager. “We’ve tried to prepare them as much as possible, but it’s very important for them to prepare for not only a co-op job, but a career.”

Twelve CPA employers, including BDO Canada LLP, Durward Jones Barkwell, Grant Thornton, KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Taylor Leibow, were at this years’ event.

They tested students with real questions and provided feedback intended to improve students’ communication and interview skills.

“By judging their communication skills and being able to figure out who is leading the class, it’s good exposure to a quick amount of students that allows them to maybe shortlist or figure out what candidate fits their culture,” Braun said.

Many of the students will end up at one of the 12 firms when they start their four-month co-op term beginning in January, 2015.

Braun said their employers hire 97 per cent of accounting co-op grads full-time, which makes networking important during the mock interview sessions.

“The idea is to give early exposure to the firms, so when they go to recruit and hire in September they will remember them,” Braun said. “It’s a tough spot to be in. (Students) really have to know who they are, where they fit, what firm they want to work in. Not only are they trying to sell themselves to employers, but employers are trying to sell themselves to them.”

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