No matter what point in your career you find yourself at, competition in the world of accounting is as stiff as it’s ever been. It follows then that being at the top of your interview game, whether you’ve been jobhunting for a long time or a little while, couldn’t be more important.
While the way you conduct yourself in the interview itself is crucial, it can be greatly influenced by how well you prepare ahead of time.
Particularly when interviewing for positions within accounting, there’s a lot to think about. You need to know your own resume back to front, along with being able to demonstrate the value you as a professional are able to add. But there are a few ways to go above and beyond; little extras which could stand you out against the rest of the talent.
Preparing for an accounting interview
To reiterate, preparation is key. Knowing your own history and key successes plus any supporting figures is crucial but, on top of that, you want to learn as much as you’re able to about the business you’re interviewing with too. Do your due diligence to garner any and all information available in the public forum; from revenues and profits to the nature of their transactions and how they work, knowledge is power. And the more you know, the more impressed your interviewer will be with how well you’re able to match your skills and experience to the way they work.
Now, we know you know your stuff when it comes to your own resume – let’s keep things simple and brush up on those basics, too. At any level in your accounting career, you may find an interviewer checking your upkeep on some of the fundamentals. Don’t get ahead of yourself, and be ready with some “elevator pitch”-esque answers for some key principles.
That goes for the surrounding legislation too. It’s always possible that something has changed recently, and even more so that you’ll be tested on something relating to the laws which affect this business directly. Give yourself a refresh ahead of time.
I’m feeling prepared – what about the accounting interview itself?
All that preparation should in the very least see you into your interview with an extra notch of confidence, which alone can take you a long way. The field you find yourself working in/interviewing for is one which celebrates meticulous precision and exceptional attention to detail – so, arrive early (remember, ten minutes early is five minutes late) and answer questions without wandering off into tangents or fence-sitting. Many accounting jobs rely on the ability to investigate, problem solve and make a decision, so ensure your own style of answering reflects this.
Don’t be vague or ambiguous; back up everything you say with specific, timely examples and relevant figures. Don’t just tell them you’re skilled in XYZ – explain how so, better yet show your interviewer examples of where you’ve used or been successful with it in the past. Essentially, as with numbers, the answer should be tangible and real.
And the most important bit?
Having these incredible skills and invaluable experience mean nothing without a strong “why”. This could be the challenges you’re going to solve for your new employer; it might be more to do with your own passion for the way numbers speak to you. Whatever it is, it’s this piece that’s going to really capture your interviewer: why you do what you do, and why you do it so well.
Knowing your “why” can make all the difference. After all, it’s this which really focuses on the actual benefit to the employer – and that’s what brought you here in the first place.
Reiterate the actual outcome that hiring you would provide this company – the addition of a passionate, skilled, moreover engaged and motivated accounting professional.
For more interview tips like these, get in touch with our team of accounting recruitment specialists today. Wishing you the best of luck in your next accounting interview!