Looking For Talent? Steal From Your Competitors

This was originally posted September 6, 2007.  Not much has changed since then.  Not much varies for the Big Four member firms all over the world.  Regulators, please note: This is the level of responsibility- the level of expectations – for non-management staff.

Quite significant.

I ran across this recruiting ad for PwC Belgium while looking for something else. (Updated on September 5, 2011 with current recruiting video.) It’s an ad for experienced hires with only 2-5 years of experience.

Watch the video. Notice the ubiquitous hotelling. Nice cars, nice suits, nice offices, but sheer monotone boredom just doesn’t look very good on video.

(Notice how the cute dark haired girl is always shown behind the straitlaced Senior Manager.)

*The job of your life

In this position, you will be the ambassadors of the PricewaterhouseCoopers brand and be best placed to identify our clients’ needs. You will have a key management role on audit assignments where you will utilise and further develop your knowledge and skills.

You will:
* Have direct contact with clients and work in their offices (Better to save on office space at PwC and office space hotelling is so tedious…)
* Work closely together with experienced engagement teams (Yeah right…)
* Execute and complete a variety of engagements (More likely stuck on the same client all year or more.)
* Work independently (Yeah, no Managers or Partners ever show up.)
* Continue technical development through report writing, management presentation and other client deliverables (What do the Partners do?)
* Develop and maintain ongoing work relationships with clients’ middle and senior management  (I’m sure they really love talking about Fin 46 with a 25 year old…)

* Continually look for opportunities to help clients to solve their complex business problems in an ever-changing environment (For sure!)
* Utilise the PricewaterhouseCoopers methodology (What a prize!)
* Develop listening and questioning techniques (Listen more, question less)
* Organize and collaborate in the planning of projects (Is there more?)
* Coach teams of auditors: distribute their work according to experience and expertise, train them and follow up performance (I’m 25, I’m new to the firm, I’m not even a CA yet and I am coaching others?)
* Lead our teams in the performance of audits at a wide range of our multinational and major clients (Many are called, few are chosen.)
* Contribute to the development and the on-the-job training of our professional staff. (Isn’t there anyone who works here besides me? When do I get to go home? What time is lunch?)

*Your profile (The only people who fit this profile are others who have already had two years of training at another Big 4 firm!)
– You have 2 to 5 years of experience in external audit .
– Demonstrated strong analytical skills and organisational abilities with a proactive approach to solving problems and delivering client solutions,
– A proven track record of establishing and maintaining strong relationships,
– Action-oriented self-starter, able to work autonomously,
– Experienced in supervising and developing junior staff,
– Ability to communicate clearly with colleagues and clients at all levels,
– Basic knowledge of IFRS and US GAAP would be an advantage,
– Flexible and adaptable to new situations

5 replies
  1. Global Big 4 Employee
    Global Big 4 Employee says:

    Hi Francine,

    I love the way you say “The job of your life”…Ha Ha Ha (Hail to you)!”* Work independently (Yeah, no Managers or Partners ever show up.)”Partners & their % & staff on salaries including Director.They want people who have got through the brunt of other Big 4 firm & Audit Softwares.Young beautiful girls lives are ruined in Big 4 after Uni or in some countries after Year 12 (A-Level)…Learn while you earn on contract.To me that is a better option as after Year 12 or GCE in UK you can start CA instead of CPA which is a common designation in US.

    Nice article from 6 Sep 2007,the points you have mentioned are absolutely right.Video can’t be played on my iMac plug in was missing.

    Throughly enjoyed your article.Hail to you Francine.



  2. Francine
    Francine says:

    @Global Big 4 Employee UR

    Hey, “job of your life” was their title. I can’t make up better stuff.

    BTW, I played video on my MAC. It’s like a euro porn movie including mind-numbing instrumental music without the porn.


  3. UR(Audit)
    UR(Audit) says:

    Hi Francine,

    I am the same person but with different name.Great Title you don’t need to it’s good title.Did you know an employee in “PWC China” member firm died working in Audit/IFRS(LOS) for 18 hrs.She was a young girl out of Uni 25 yrs of age.Her family was crying & PWC refused to take any responsibility.The disease was developed due to lack of sleep,weak digestive system & constant cold & flu.The girl made some very POOR choices that cost her life & Partners the percentage(%).

    Did you hear the Ad in UK Hospital where the recruiter have wrote “Usual Rubbish about equal opportunity & career progression”.That is applicable to Big 4 Globally too.

    Few Phrases:Work/Life Balance….Best firm to work for GLOBALLY.

    Take Care & Regards,


  4. xgreendot
    xgreendot says:

    wow – didn’t realize the Netherlands was a free floating island that reels and rocks all day long. How do they keep the pencils from rolling off the desks?

  5. People who change
    People who change says:

    I hear PwC in India is having a lot of trouble in talent management in its tax practice. I hear that after a huge exodus in 2010 from the tax practice in Mumbai (Bombay) their has been substantial Director level exodus in New Delhi to competition usually a senior level exodus is followed by high performing associates and senior leaving the firm after their earlier bosses have settled down in their new roles.. so pwc apparently does have quite an headache at its hand. I am also informed that their is massive infighting between the tax partners but pwc global has not been able to get them to accept any international partners to take charge of the practice like they have managed in assurance after all the recent trouble.

    The most interesting thing about these Big 4 jobs is that the only people who are eligible to apply for them are who are already their as they suck so much that no other sane professional who has actually worked in a real company.. would every really really want to get on board unless circumstances are really compelling. I am however surprised why media (CNBC) does not pick up on the awful work situations in these firms and why is High Performance considered to be equivalent to foresaking your entire life for the firm.

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