Big 4 hiring, USA – International candidate + Late 20s
February 15, 2017 at 4:22 am #1478440
Since 2011, I have been working in the private industry as an accountant in the Finance Department of an MNC in KSA. I passed all 4 parts of my CPA exams in February – 2016. This year I've decided to make a move to public industry as I feel the experience offered by Big 4 firms is second to none and most high level finance positions at MNCs are filled by Big 4 alumni.
I tried applying to the local Big 4 firms in KSA but got rejected on the basis that I am too old (28 y/o) for the entry/associate level whereas, for the senior positions I do not possess the relevant experience.
Since then, I have been applying to the Big 4s outside of KSA hoping that my age would not be an issue in those regions and I won't be discriminated against. My main focus are the Big 4 firms in USA as I have a US, CPA and feel that it would be best suited for this industry. In addition, due to the huge market of USA I feel the employment opportunities are far better than any other country.
I am aiming for an entry level job in order to increase my chances. I have been applying online for some time now and also been reaching out to recruiters via LinkedIn but I am yet to receive a positive response.
I would like to know from the experienced Big 4 as well other Ninjas, If I have a chance of breaking into this market given my circumstances. Also, if there's a route other than this that might be better suited for me, kindly let me know about it.
RegardsFebruary 15, 2017 at 7:55 am #1478469
I am surprised you were discriminated against based on age. I worked at the Big 4 and I was 32 when I was hired on. Your problem is that you need to have visa sponsorship. Its going to be near impossible to find employment outside of the US in the US. There are so many people that have posted on the forum that are in the US but cannot find employment because a lot of companies don't sponsor foreign employees anymore.February 15, 2017 at 8:00 am #1478470
@ruggercpa2b what would you suggest would be the best option for me? A couple of recruiters have gotten back to me but I am not sure how to follow up with them or how does the whole recruiter thing actually work. When I connect with them on LinkedIn, they ask me to apply online. So what purpose does the recruiter serve? I don't mean to offend anyone, just trying to figure out as I'm not aware of this process.February 15, 2017 at 8:28 am #1478485
If you are the one reaching out to them then its normal for them to direct you to their hiring process which is to apply online. If a recruiter reaches out to you initially then that is a different story. Most companies have a process where you apply online and the resumes are filtered by software. A lot will ask if you will need sponsorship and once you click yes then sometimes that automatically takes you out of the running.
The only other option you have to is to do a google search of companies that sponsor H1B visas and apply to those companies. In order to sponsor you they have to justify that they cannot find someone in the US with the same skillset and same qualifications as you.February 15, 2017 at 8:46 am #1478496
@rugger from your experience, have you ever seen an international candidate getting hired from overseas just by applying online and reaching out to recruiters via LinkedIn?February 15, 2017 at 9:11 am #1478511
Personally I have not but that does not mean it does not happen. A lot of people I know that I worked with at the Big 4 either transferred from their home country to an office in the US. Or they were already here in the US and got hired.
The recuiters are already get flooded with emails from people in the US. If you do a search on the forum you will find a lot of people who are US citizens are trying to get into public accounting without much success either. With you being foreign not living in the US the odds are stacked against you. However, you can just keep trying and see what happens.February 15, 2017 at 9:17 am #1478515
It's costly for U.S companies to sponsor foreign employees. The quota for issuing H1B visas seems to be shrinking considerably too. I lived in the U.S for six years but I was on a student visa, which allowed me to get my Bachleors + Masters done, along with gaining one year of private accounting experience at a small firm.
I stuck to my original plan which was to return back home right after; but from what I gathered, its incredibly difficult to find a company to sponsor you as a foreign student residing in the U.S. I imagine that task becomes almost impossible when you're applying online all the way from other side of the planet.February 15, 2017 at 9:18 am #1478520
@rugger thank you very much for your responses. I was wondering If I share my CV with you, could you please take a look at it and let me know If the current format of my CV is the same as the one being followed in the US. I have tried researching on Google but was not able to find anything concrete that would suggest a certain format. Kindly share your email if you feel comfortable, so I may forward my CV and cover letter to you.February 15, 2017 at 9:23 am #1478523
@CPADUBAI I can understand the points that you are suggesting but then what plan should I be opting for. As the Big 4 recruiters in the Middle Eastern region have told me flat out that my age is the biggest disadvantage and I won't be any younger next year in case some Ninjas might be wondering.February 15, 2017 at 10:16 am #1478568
If the Big 4 firms are not willing to hire you then I would suggest looking at regional firms. If you cannot find anything then industry may be your best bet. You will have to deviate from whatever plan you have for you career without the Big 4 experience. You can still be successful in your career without Big 4 experience.
Reworking your CV is really not the issue. The issue at hand is getting a firm to agree to sponsor you. I am honestly terrible with resumes. My friend has always done my resumes for me. You can google PWC audit associate resume to see what comes up.
Outside of online applications and reaching out to recruiters through linkedin I do not see what else you can do. People here go to networking events which you cannot do because you do not live here.February 15, 2017 at 10:48 am #1478587
zubairs, I recall we've talked about this a bit before. Main issue is definitely not your age – my group hired two people over 30 just this last year for entry-level positions. There are two components here.
First, you need to be sponsored for a visa. Chances of getting one are about 1 in 4 – last year there were ~240,000 applicants for 60,000 visas. Further, with rapid changes in the immigration policies lately it's impossible to predict what's going to happen next, and employers don't like the ambiguity. Unless you have something very unique to offer (e.g., they are looking for someone fluent in Arabic and experience in oil industry), why would they offer you a job and spend money on a visa, knowing that there's a 75% chance you won't get it?
Second, timing is an issue. If a firm has an open position, they likely need to fill it now. As I told you before, if you apply before April 1 of 2017, you'll at best be able to start October 1. Again, for an entry-level position it's easier to hire a US student who got a degree from a local university and can start as early as June, or even earlier if they graduated in December.
Your best bet is frankly getting into a prestigious accounting master's program in the U.S. Check which ones are heavily recruited from by Big4s. After completing a year of studies here your chances of getting H1B visa are significantly improved, plus, you almost automatically get a right to work in the States for a year after graduation. Not to mention you will physically be in the country and able to attend career fairs etc. This will make job search for you much easier.
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