Interviewing Accountants? Be Sure to Ask These 3 Questions


It’s a rare breed that truly enjoys the hiring process. For many, it’s akin to chewing on tinfoil, while listening to an elevator music version of a Yoko Ono song.

At the same time, conducting effective, well-planned interviews can mean identifying quality candidates from those who may not deliver. If you are interviewing accountants, consider asking these three questions.

1) How does working as a (insert job title) make sense at this point in your career?

This question allows you to determine the candidate’s analysis of their current skill set and level of experience. Does your prospective employee want to grow with an organization? What is their 3 to 5 year plan? Fundamentally, you want a candidate who can contribute immediately, but also values developing their professional toolbox.

2) Can you explain the role you played in creating a successful outcome for your organization?

At the end of the day, a candidate who credits their team for success is great, but what you really need is one who can specifically identify what decisions he/she made that helped to drive results. Look for indications of grit, motivation and resilience in the face of adversity. Have the candidate explain their thought processes when faced with an obstacle. What approach was taken to solve the problem? Ultimately, you want someone with the personality to execute, deal with adversity and finish the project.

3) Can you explain an approach you took to create consensus within your team?

Accountants today need to be able to build business partnerships to be successful. If your prospective employees cannot recount a time where they utilized a collaborative approach, listened carefully and took their individual team member’s drivers into account, you may not have the right candidates.

When it comes to interviewing accountants consider using the three questions above to separate the exceptional from the average.