Today in “I need advice from strange accountants and Going Concern trolls,” a Big 4 recruit needs some insight into the office visit and how to behave when breaking bread with Big 4 professionals.

Need to know what to expect for your first busy season? Looking for pointers on how to subtly attract your rival’s employees? Want ideas that aren’t über-lame for your team’s next happy hour? Email us at [email protected] and we’ll put our heads together like the Stooges.

Back to our aspiring Big 4 rube (KIDDING, we know some of you are sensitive):

What should I expect at an office visit for the Big 4? Also, how do I behave at a dinner or lunch?

Simple enough. The Big 4 office visit is standard operating procedure in the recruiting process and we asked our resident Kool-Aid™ mixer, DWB to give his take on these show and tell excursions:

I apologize in advance if my answer comes off as salty; someone must have spit in my Cheerios this morning. But really – what kind of question is this? I’ll remind everyone about my rant the other day about providing Caleb with greater details when submitting questions. So with that, I have some questions for you – are you a college recruit? What practice? What office? Is this a one-off tour or is it part of an official recruiting program?

Because your submitted question was useless, I will make the assumption that you’re going on an official visit. Expect a tour, an interview (I hope – why else would you be going?), and the normal HR run-around of work-life balance, salary growth, etc. I advise you to talk to as many individuals as possible – on the record, off the record, etc. Get business cards, and follow up with questions you might have later. NETWORK your ass off. The people you meet in the “casual” settings have just as much of an influence on whether you receive an offer as your interviewer does.

Well, the bad accountant angle is obviously out, so regarding your behavior at chowtime, some good rules of thumb:

1) No booze. We realize this sucks but you don’t get bonus points for being able to hold your liquor.


3) Don’t be too chatty or too quiet. Nobody likes someone who talks without breathing throughout the entire meal but you will be noticed if you say nothing.

4) Topics of conversation to avoid: recent campus ragers; office visits that you’ve gone to at other firms; negative news about the firm you’re currently visiting; the hot server’s physical attributes.

These are just a few but in general, if you have to ask yourself, “could this make things awkward?” then avoid the behavior. If that doesn’t clear things up then ask Emily Post.

If we’re way off base here or anything crucial is missing, let us know in the comments.