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POSTED: Monday, March 09, 2009

Make job prospects earn the job

If the applicant pool for this year's summer internship at your business is overwhelming, that may be because it's become more difficult to land an entry-level job.

Deborah Levy, vice president of talent recruitment at communications firm MS&L Worldwide, offers these tips to see which potential intern has the dexterity to work with you:

» Give candidates a pop culture quiz to test their knowledge of current events. It will help give you a sense of their ability to translate current trends into business ideas and opportunities for the company.

» Make them earn that acceptance letter. After the applications are screened, hold a “;Challenge Day”; for candidates to compete against one another in a simulated assignment for a coveted intern slot.

» Look for digital prowess and visual presentations that show creativity, poise and strong communication skills.

» Recruit staff members from varied departments and levels of experience to conduct short interviews of the candidates. It'll give the applicants several opportunities to leave an impression and demonstrate their eloquence.

 

Accounting is where the jobs are

Calling all Leo Blooms. The mousy accountant portrayed in “;The Producers”; may be the poster boy for a booming career in an uncertain economy. Employment of accountants is expected to grow by about 18 percent between 2006 and 2016, faster than the 10 percent growth projection for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Jeff Thomson, president of the Institute for Management Accountants, says changing financial regulations and increased accountability will drive growth for management accountants especially, as more than a quarter million new jobs are expected to be added over the next decade.

And for those wary of a career with a drab reputation, Thomson assures accounting often involves a lot more than punching numbers into a calculator.

“;Not everyone realizes that accounting involves strategic planning for the company, being able to figure out what are the best products, the most profitable products, how to deliver to customers,”; he said. “;It's a lot of budgeting, forecasting and risk management. You're managing the company's accounts, and that involves a lot of major decisions.”;

Allegations and cases of fraud, misled investors, internal control breakdowns and financial restatements at some companies have heightened the need for accountants.

“;Even with more students seeking an opportunity in the field, and young professionals looking for a different career, there still isn't a risk of the job market becoming oversaturated,”; Thomson said.