Accounting Recruiters in the Time of Tinder

I am on Tinder. 

I am not ashamed to admit it. 

Why should I? If you’re a single accountant anywhere between the ages of 20 and 40, the odds are pretty good you’ve resorted to Tinder. Until someone jumps on the URL for BeanCountersOnly.com, how else are a bunch of overworked nerds supposed to meet that special someone hitting all the criteria in their VLOOKUP of love? Plus, the whole “swipe left/swipe right” thing appeals to my debit/credit instincts.

I used to be a Big Four auditor, so Tinder is far from the strangest thing I’ve done during early AM hours. The most shameful acts usually involved concocting a potion of coffee, Diet Coke and Red Bull which would guarantee 1) the completion of a memo on accelerated depreciation treatment, and 2) the eventual termination of my coronary system at an accelerated rate. I’m hoping it turns out to be a recoverable asset.

You know why else I’m not ashamed? Because once I was ready to leave my public accounting life behind, Tinder taught me how to job search.

Sure, I had “job searched” during college, but come on. Big Four recruiting is cut and dry. There are four firms. They all do audit and tax. You should probably have good grades, an accounting major, and the ability to bullshit some behavioral interview questions. If you can, congrats! You’ll get your CPA exams paid for whilst working under budget constraints tight enough to make your grandfather blush. College kids are fighting for the opportunity tooth and nail at this very moment. By the end of my pubic tenure, I had chewed through my nails and it was doing terrible things to my teeth.

Finally pushed so far over the edge that I looked like Wile E. Coyote with a visor, I turned to the barrage of people filling my voicemail with attempts to make a buck off my broken will. Diving into the world of industry recruiting reminded me of my Tindering exploits. It was a new world. A world filled with potential. A world filled with sleaze.

Luckily, as a seasoned Tinder veteran, I already knew some the ropes. 

Tinder Lesson 1: High standards only help.

One of the first recruiters I talked to seemed like a pretty nice guy. We discussed my experience in audit and where I wanted to take my career. Then he asked me if my job would slow down after April 15th.

Seriously?

It’s a given everyone should have high standards both in looking for new jobs and new dates. Settling in either case leads to disappointment and the search for another change soon enough. What I found was that the actual recruiter also needs to be held up to a high standard. I originally figured any one of the drones flooding my LinkedIn inbox would do. Hey, there’s so many of them and they all seem to have the same shit to say. How much different could one be from the next?

It turned out some of those drones were smarter than others. I'd always recommend background checks and anything short of hostile interrogation to make the recruiter prove he or she is the one to put you in a good spot. 

If they can’t, cut ‘em loose. There’s plenty of fish in the sea.

Tinder Lesson 2: Desperation only hurts.

I fantasized about quitting during busy season. In my dreams I threw a sixth straight Pad Thai dinner right in my senior manager’s face and announced I was going home to flood my veins with whiskey for two weeks. All the while, noodles and bits of carrot dripped from his slack jaw.

Nothing would have been more satisfying. I actually just wiped away a bit of drool.

But I waited until a slower time. Not because I wanted to save bridges. I didn’t give a shit about that. I waited because I wanted a clear head and plans powered by rationality instead of excess caffeine.

No good decisions are made under exhausting circumstances. It’s true in business, it’s true in bars, and it’s true when it’s 3 AM and you’re staring at an Excel sheet thinking about the interview your recruiter scheduled for five hours from now. Just wait. Your resignation letter will still be there.

Tinder Lesson 3: Be skeptical. Looks can be deceiving.

You have a new match! They like you! Their profile is witty! Their picture looks like it came out of a magazine!

For all you know, it did come out of a magazine.

Going into the Big Four, most people know (or think they know) what to expect. The job descriptions are same. The benefits are largely the same. Countless witnesses exist to testify towards and/or bitch about the public experience. 

Industry waters are murkier, especially since many in public perceive all industry roles to be identical 9-to-5 jobs. Reality snorts at this notion. Seemingly similar roles can dramatically differ in hours, pay, environment, promotion possibility, and vacation time. Some have unique perks and many have unique flaws. And recruiters will let absolutely nobody in on those flaws. According to them, every job is an amazing opportunity with great advancement potential that farts out rainbows and the occasional talking unicorn.

Most people know it, but it bears repeating: Recruiters don’t see a dime unless the job gets filled. It’s the downside to their “free” “service” (neither of those things are true). They will try and give you “advice” and be your friend during the search. Don't listen. After all, these people are just like you: trying to get paid. You’re better off consulting those you trust. Your family. Friends. Mentors. Better yet, just trust your gut.

I did find my match. I’m very happy. We’re still going strong even if we have the occasional rough patch. I believe Tinder served me well.

So you better believe I’m still on it.

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