I think it depends on the industry you go into. I've worked in US insurance (actuarial/reporting) for a long time. We have a specific basis our regulators use for measuring solvency, a basis no accounting program would normally teach. It takes a while to pick up. And there are particular FASB ASCs and ASUs that apply to the insurance industry.
I think schools are looking to teach sort of jack-of-all-trades kind of accounting, and letting your employer teach you on the job the industry-specific stuff.
However, for me from what I see when going to interviews and passing exams for employers. They seem to expect you out of college to be an expert in their specific field. They always list 5 years experience required and they do give you like 2 exams one is online. Then the next is in person. Then you get an interview but there's 3 rounds of it. You first interview with the HR. they ask you basic math questions and also basic interview questions about where you see yourself in 5 years etc. Then you go to the director that ask you basic interview questions and more specific questions of accountancy. Then you get interviewed by the manager that is going to be your boss. He will ask very specific questions about accounting that relates to the work you will be doing. He will also ask some behavior questions. That's what I have been thru.
I have had interviews from IRS, local cities, GM, Comerica and other banks...etc. They would ask me specific questions in their line and even ask for ways or ideas to cut cost and make their business operations more efficient. I never got the job but the questions they ask are hard because in college they give you theories. In theory this works or that works. They would ask me questions that are about importuning foods and fish from other countries. What would be the cheapest way to do this. I am like applying for an entry accounting position. I am still looking for work but this is at least been 3 years of my experience doing interviews taking exams.
The governmental like the city would ask us to compute the property taxes to bill clients. We would just use the millage rates and times it by the assessed value and add them up. In college we briefly went over it. However, never was on the exams. So, I had to review to make sure I recall it correctly.
Then I interviewed for a urgent care facility but the interview asked me a bunch of form questions. The guy being the CFO and was the brother of the owner. He has a masters degree in accounting but the questions he asked me were dumb. It was asking what forms do you fill out for certain situations. I know the 1040, and schedule-d, k etc. However, some I know in college we went over but it was a while before I did any cooperate tax. I could explain concepts to them but seems like the guy didn't want me hired. So, he asked for the form names and the numbers which for a few of them I told them I couldn't recall.
So, just saying from my experience for interviews they seem to want you to have a mastery command in that specific field and or industry. I mean even hospitals they want you to know about none-profit accounting and they do teach you it but it's hard to answer questions when there's no way you can really prepare for it. Like I had a non-profit class but it was in a single class it was teaching non-profit account and also governmental accounting. I gotten an A in the class. It just said accounting is the same except instead of revenue they use excess of funds (net asset). It's a different wording they use but the concepts are the same.
Got any advice on how to prepare for the interviews? I mean I am applying to anything I can find. I just need to get experience.
I tried banks, governmental, corporations. Most require exams to be taken and then you get 3 rounds of interviews.
I got decent grades. I have a GPA higher than 3.0. Which seems most require minimum a 3.0 overall gpa.