Tips from Finance Recruiters – Acing the Phone Interview


Finance recruiters and employers often use a phone interview as a way of determining potential fit for a role. This makes acing the phone interview an imperative part of landing the accounting job that you want. Here are some common phone interview questions and how to answer them.

First Steps
Firstly, understand that while most phone interviews are scheduled, it is possible that your phone could ring at any time. This means that it’s important to do your research on each company that you apply to. 

  • Why do you want to work for the organization? 
  • What is it about the company’s culture that resonates for you?
  • Understand the company’s strategic direction and how you can add value
  • Know your resume inside and out
  • Have 2 or 3 questions of your own that you’ve prepared
  • Make sure your phone has a professional voice message in case you miss the call

Pro Tip: Let the interviewer set the stage. It’s likely he or she will give you valuable background information at the start, including why the role is open, or what success looks like. Take notes as they will help you frame your answers.

Question #1: Tell me about a time you handled a challenge at work.
This is your chance to demonstrate strong problem solving and communication skills. Your answer should show that you’re always motivated to get the job done, while still maintaining strong, professional relationships with your colleagues. Focus on outlining the challenge, how you took action to resolve it and the benefits that resulted. In other words, how did you turn this challenge into an opportunity, and what did you learn from it?

Question #2: Why are you looking to transition?
Finance recruiters and employers want to see purposeful career choices. As a result, it’s best to talk about why the role makes sense for you at this time in your career. The finance recruiter or employer may also be trying to ascertain how serious you are about the role and how vulnerable you are to a counter offer.

Read: This article offers additional information on how to explain why you want to leave your current job (or why you left).

Question #3: What interests you about our organization?
Focus on the company’s direction and how it fits with your career goals. Speak to any successes that the organization has had. Make sure to address the company’s mission/vision and how you feel you can add value. Talk about which of the company’s core values are of particular interest to you. This will create a sense of alignment.

Question #4: What are your salary expectations?
Make understanding market value for your role part of your research. One website that can provide valuable insight into salary expectations is  While it’s unlikely that there will be any salary negotiation at this stage of the process, it’s critical to know what constitutes reasonable compensation.

Question #5: What are your responsibilities in your current role?
Before the phone interview make sure to review the job posting thoroughly. Take note of any connection between the responsibilities outlined in the posting and your current duties. Have a success story or two prepared to demonstrate how you delivered for your organization.

Question #6: What motivates you?
Increasingly, finance recruiters and employers are asking candidates about what motivates them. This is because one of the hallmarks of high potential accounting talent is their motivation to succeed and the passion they bring to their role. Think about the role you’re applying to and which traits are most likely to lead to success. For example, great managers help others succeed, so if you’re applying to a finance manager role speak to that.

Read:The Accounting Interview – Questions That Test Emotional IQ” to learn how to answer questions that evaluate more than technical fit.

Key Takeaways
Whether you get to the next stage of the process depends on how well you do in the phone interview. Advance preparation is critical. Research the organization and understand its strategic direction and how you can add value. Identify core values that resonate for you and make sure to review the job posting thoroughly. Write down success stories that illustrate how you delivered for your current or past organization. Increase your odds of acing the phone interview and getting a chance to impress in a face-to-face meeting.

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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