Accounting Interview 101


Your interview is your make or break moment.  It’s your chance to position yourself as the candidate of choice and demonstrate the potential value you can offer to your future organization.  Here are some accounting interview basics designed to help you land the role you want.

The foundation of any successful interview begins before you even walk through the door.  Make sure to research the company, its challenges and its culture.  Reach out to past employees through social media platforms like LinkedIn and take some time to understand how your working style would mesh with the organization’s.

Pro Tip:  Try to find out who is interviewing you and research them on LinkedIn.  See if there are any areas of commonality that you can use to build rapport during the accounting interview.

Building rapport well is a delicate art. Hopefully your research has revealed common ground that you can speak to during the accounting interview.  Focus on asking questions that show interest in the organization and its trajectory. Most of all, listen rather than speak. Your body language should convey engagement and respect.

Some basic active listening tips:

  • Be present – this means listening to understand, not just to reply
  • Don’t interrupt – we know that you are excited to share your experiences and knowledge, but be sure to let the interviewer finish speaking before responding
  • Eliminate distractions – turn off your cell phone
  • Use body language – eye contact and nodding
  • Repeat after the interviewer – show that you have understood what’s being said by echoing the interviewer’s words, “It sounds as though this company really values a collaborative approach to problem-solving.”


:  For more detail on how to use active listening during an interview, read this article.

Success Stories
The person interviewing you is asking themselves if you can add value and help them achieve their outcomes.  Make sure, therefore, to offer specific success stories that speak to the duties and responsibilities outlined in the job posting.  Did you take the lead on a specific system implementation?  Excellent.  What was achieved and how did the company benefit?  The more exact you can be, including offering key metrics, the more powerful your success story will be in gaining you buy-in.  Great success stories follow the following model:

  • What was the challenge or task?
  • What actions did you take?
  • What benefits resulted?

Show that you are interested in the organization and the person interviewing you by asking about what success looks like in the role.  Establish certain timelines.  For example, what needs to be accomplished by the 3 month, 6 month or 1 year mark?  Other questions to ask:  What has worked well in the past?  What does my career roadmap look like internally?  Why is the role open?  Asking well-thought-out questions shows that you are an engaged participant in the process.

Dressing for Success
Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Keep the overall look classic
  • Research the company culture to help determine how to dress
  • Shoes matter – for men, shoes need to be polished and neutral in color, and for women, shoes need to be polished, closed toe (even in summer) and with a reasonable heel (less than 3 inches)


For more specific details about how to dress for your accounting or finance interview read this blog “Dressed to Kill: The Finance Interview.

Key Takeaways
To increase your chances of having a successful accounting or finance interview make sure to research the company in advance.  If you can, try to learn about the person who will be interviewing you.  This will help you build rapport.  During the interview, use active listening techniques to show engagement.  Ask questions that demonstrate you are already invested in the role and dress to impress.  Follow these tips to help you deliver a gold star accounting interview and land the job you want.

Your Next Step
No one should walk the job search or hiring road alone. At Clarity Recruitment we help others realize their success through a process that marries proprietary technology with unwavering commitment. Contact us today to take control of your career, or to partner with us to hire well.

Clarity Recruitment, connecting exceptional people with remarkable companies.

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