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September 27, 2023

Young Accountant Narrowly Misses the Tragedy of Working For Grant Thornton

some guy in a suit yelling at the sky for no reason

Someone on r/accounting posted this over the weekend and I thought it worth sharing because it reminds everyone of two very important facts when it comes to recruiting: 1) never bank on a verbal offer and 2) don’t work for Grant Thornton. Oops wait, I meant 2) if firms recruiting on campus engage in any kind of screwy behavior you should report it to your school’s accounting chair/director/benevolent overlord. Yes snitches get stitches but in this case it’s perfectly acceptable to snitch out accounting firms.

Alright, let’s see what happened.

The first mistake OP made — if we don’t count interviewing with Grant Thornton as a mistake which we should — was cancelling five interviews after HR said a job offer was on the way. You should be shopping around, especially now when competition for talent is so high. Your future in public accounting hinges on your team and firm culture, not fitting in will make your already hellish life even worse. Granted, “firm culture” is a nebulous term firms enjoy trotting out for self-congratulatory press releases but it also has a huge impact on your day-to-day. By interviewing with several firms you’ll get a feeling for the firm and figure out if you’re a good fit. Trust your gut on this, if a firm you interview with gives you a bad feeling keep looking. When you’re shopping for a new pair of shoes and don’t know exactly what you want do you grab the first pair you come across when you Google “shoes”? No, you check a few out. Unless you are a sub 1 GPA student on parole who flunked Intermediate seven times, you are in demand. There is no reason to take the first offer that comes your way.

The second mistake was counting on a verbal offer. For all you know HR was rolling on molly that day (people get crazy when they’re working from home, ya know) and thought you were the greatest candidate ever to apply to the firm, doesn’t mean they actually want to hire you. We aren’t seeing offers getting pulled en masse yet but if the economy gets any worse that’s certainly a possibility so it’s more important than ever to remember that offers can and do get pulled, especially verbal ones. Keep your options open until you’re onboarded. Hell, always keep your options open.

As you can see from the edit OP clarifies that they applied online and not on campus but the advice to bring this to the school stands. Your school is a valuable source of talent for any firm, it would behoove them not to burn bridges like they are always warning you all not to do.

Anyone have field reports on campus recruiting to share? You know what to do. Best of luck to OP, I’m sure they’ll find something even better soon.

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  1. Yeah, this person messed up on the most important rule of the business world: Always take care of yourself first. It’s a variation of the cardinal rule that boxers have in the ring: Protect yourself at all times. Even if Grant Thornton is pressuring you for a verbal acceptance quickly, that still isn’t a good reason to cancel the other five interviews you have scheduled for the following week. Verbal offers, and by extension, verbal acceptances, don’t mean shit. You can verbally accept Grant Thornton’s offer, and then back out if you get an offer from a better firm, of which there are MANY.

    When thinking about the most important rule I named above, it is important to keep in mind that the other party is following that exact same rule. Therefore, act accordingly.

  2. In my case, the hiring manager and his team wanted me and made a verbal commit but the HR refused to send an offer letter because they thought I was not a good fit.

    I kept interviewing and did not bank on this one job. Thankfully the HR relented and sent the offer letter.

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