A Google News search on the company, your interviewer's LinkedIn profile and the employer's Web site are all must-read items for interviewees. But job candidates can also impress potential employers by showing they've done more than just the requisite homework.
Knowing that "The World Is Flat" was a 2005 bestseller -- and not just a widely held belief pre-Columbus -- is a good start.
But if you find yourself across the desk from Lou Grabowsky, chief operating officer-elect of U.S. accounting giant Grant Thornton, drawing on the book's theories about globalization could make you a memorable candidate.
"For a candidate to be part of professional services, they certainly need to understand global trends that impact our business," said Grabowsky. He'll become COO, overseeing the day-to-day operations of the 6,000-employee firm, in January.
Any kind of reading that bolsters your knowledge of trends that affect strategy and tactics at Grant Thornton is recommended, he said.
Grabowsky has done his share of hiring. During his tenure as managing partner of Grant Thornton in Dallas from 2003 to 2007, Grabowsky oversaw an increase in staff to more than 300 employees from 95 and revenue growth of about 400% for the regional office.
FINS spoke with Grabowsky about the books he'd recommend to job seekers in accounting. Here is his book list and a magazine pick.
1. "The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression," by Amity Shlaes
Like Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, Grabowsky is looking to the Great Depression to understand the implications of the recent downturn. "It was referred to me from a client who indicated that I could learn a lot about the current recession by reading this book on what contributed to the last Depression," said Grabowsky.
2. "The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century," by Thomas Friedman
This book drives home the importance of thinking about issues from a global standpoint, said Grabowsky. "It reinforced the fact of rapid movement, the change that occurs in technology, and that decisions really can't be made without having global implications," he said.
3. "Jack: Straight from the Gut," by Jack Welch with John A. Byrne
The managerial tactics that Welch espoused in his 2001 autobiography have stuck with Grabowsky ever since he read it. His major takeaways: Welch's rigorous budgeting process, his resolute belief in holding each executive accountable and the way the former General Electric chief measured talent. The tenet that "producing results cannot trump good values and behavior," particularly resonated with him, said Grabowsky.
4. "Churchill's Hour: A Novel of Defiance," by Michael Dobbs
As he transitions into his new role as COO, Grabowsky is seeking inspiration from one of history's greatest leaders.
This fictional account of the late British prime minister's struggles to persuade his government and others of the threat from Nazi Germany is filled with leadership lessons.
"I've been in this business for 36 years, and I've never been faced with this kind of business environment before," said Grabowsky. "Being a good leader is about having the courage to act to face issues you may not have faced before."
5. "The Economist"
Grabowsky reads this business magazine cover to cover every week to stay on top of current news. "If you can't hold conversations on worldly matters, you're really short-changing yourself," said Grabowsky.
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