Interviews can be tough. But following these guidelines will ensure success.
We all want to leave a job interview feeling like we’ve hit a home run. And yet, even when we walk into the room confident that we’ll be able to knock it out of the park, we can still be overwhelmed by stress and anxiety.
Take heart, though. There are several things you, as a candidate, can do to increase your chances of being successful at your interview. These five tips will help you prepare for your next accounting interview, so that you can go into it feeling focused and confident – guaranteeing that you’ll only put your best foot forward.
Research, research…and then research some more
It’s hard to overemphasize the importance of undertaking strategic research before your accounting interview. In today’s market, having a firm grasp of the company’s core values and how they relate to your own can help you stand out and make you the candidate of choice.
It makes a big difference if you know in advance who will be interviewing you – in which case you should research your interviewer. Look up their LinkedIn profile and read about their professional exploits, to find shared interests and experiences that you can bring up during the interview.
You probably don’t need anyone to impress upon you the importance of building rapport with your interviewer during your accounting interview. If you’re lucky, your research will turn up areas of commonality that you can raise to establish a bond between you and the person interviewing you. For example, maybe your interviewer has worked in an industry similar to your own; you may be able to connect with them on the basis of that shared experience.
But remember – building rapport is a delicate art, and requires more listening than speaking. (There’s a reason we have two ears as opposed to one mouth.) While your skills and experience should ultimately carry the day, a strong informal bond with your interviewer may prove the difference between being hired or being sent back to the drawing board.
…building rapport is a delicate art, and requires more listening than speaking.
Your accounting interview is the perfect time for you to share your career success stories with your potential employer. Come to the interview fully equipped with specific, relevant examples of your workplace accomplishments.
In particular, focus on stories that speak to the challenges that the company may be facing. Use your successes to demonstrate that you’re a solutions-focused, innovative problem-solver who can generate value for your employer.
Ask good questions
No list of accounting interview guidelines would be complete without advice about asking good questions. Who among us hasn’t shrunk whenever the interviewer asks: “Do you have any questions for me?” This is when you should indicate that you’re interested in hearing about the manager’s vision for the prospective role and its responsibilities.
For example, you might ask: “How would you define success for this role?” Listen carefully and respectfully to the answer. If you need to ask a follow-up question for clarification, don’t be afraid to raise it. Asking questions to clarify vision show that you’re an interested and engaged participant in the process; it will encourage buy-in from the hiring manager’s end.
Come to the interview fully equipped with specific, relevant examples of your workplace accomplishments.
You shouldn’t leave your accounting interview without delving into the team dynamics that might be at play. Ask about the team directly. For example, you could ask: “Is this a tenured staff? Or is it made up of mostly new hires?”
Alternatively, you might ask: “Has there been a certain amount of turnover in the team?” Either of these questions will help you determine what type of situation you’re walking into; it will prepare you to move forward with the role.
All of us want to succeed in a job interview. Success, however, means building rapport with your interviewers, relating success stories that speak to the challenges the company is currently facing, and learning about your prospective team. Following these guidelines will pave the way to success in your next accounting interview.
Let us know what you think! At Clarity Recruitment, we’re always interested in hearing from accounting and finance professionals like yourselves, who are ready for new, exciting opportunities that can take their careers to the next level. And be sure to follow us on Twitter (@clarityrecruits) and connect with us on Facebook for more great tips and advice!