3 Questions to Ask When Interviewing Accountants


While not quite as painful as a root canal, the hiring process is not necessarily an enjoyable endeavour.

With its typical time constraints, finding and landing a great candidate comes with certain pressures. Whether you’re in internal recruitment, HR or management, crafting open-ended, well-structured interview questions can help you determine which candidate will be a fit. Like a well-balanced recipe, interview questions should target key “ingredients” that often define successful talent.

No time to create these questions? No problem. Here are 3 to help get you started.

Please Describe an Accounting Process You Developed or Revised.

We all know that successful accountants at the intermediate or senior level need to have strong technical knowledge. This question certainly tests that. But it also allows you to evaluate your candidate’s time management and creative thinking, two qualities that are necessary for someone to be a true asset.

Describe a Situation Where You Had to Build a Collaborative Relationship in Order to Achieve an Outcome. How Did You Ensure the Relationship Was a Success?

This is a particularly important question to ask when you are interviewing accountants at all levels. In a world where an ability to build business partnerships can drive successful outcomes, a candidate who can communicate from a posture of service is particularly valuable. Look for an awareness of how individual drivers can lead to a shift in what the candidate emphasizes in the conversation.

Explain the Specific Role You Took in Creating a Successful Outcome for Your Organization.

Great accountants don’t just start a project, they finish it. They’re also really good at clearly articulating the specific role they played in driving a successful outcome. When the chips are down and the pressure is high you need somebody who can deliver for you. This question looks at the candidate’s technical ability, service orientation, time management, confidence, creativity and possibly management potential. It’s suitable for all levels.

When you are interviewing accountants ensure you ask open-ended questions that highlight the key traits that lead to success. Traits such as technical ability, creativity, time management and confidence are all critical for a candidate to become a valuable addition to your team.