If you’re getting ready to embark on your future as an accounting professional, you’re going to need to prepare for your accounting interview. Whether you’re hoping to land a position in an independently-owned small business, an accounting firm, or perhaps in a larger corporation, you will undoubtedly need to meet with a hiring manager or supervisor that will pose a variety of interview questions that can make or break your chances of scoring the accounting job of your dreams.
So, what kind of topics might the hiring manager cover in their accounting interview questions? Unfortunately, there’s no defined set of questions and answers that will come up during your job interview. Your interview questions are entirely at your prospective employer’s discretion.
Many common accounting interview questions focus on questions regarding your soft skills – which typically focus on your ability to interact effectively with others, your hard skills – which typically covers your skills learned in the workplace under previous employers, any experience with accounting applications like Microsoft Dynamics GP, Excel, or other accounting software, and may even touch on your knowledge of generally accepted accounting principles.
Finally – once the hiring manager has asked you everything they need to know – you’ll most likely have the opportunity to ask your own questions. This questions and answers portion of the interview — lead by you — is a super important way to gain a deeper understanding of the organization you’re interviewing with AND your last chance to prove you’re more than a body to fill a job description – this is your last chance to prove you’re a great candidate.
What most people don’t realize about a job interview is that – most of the time – your interview begins long before you’re greeted by the interviewer. Beyond presenting your soft skills and hard skills, and the ability to prove your industry knowledge, your chance of scoring that accounting position is on the line from the minute you walk through the door – and we’re not just talking about your job interview outfit.
Check out these tried-and-true interview tips, strategies, and suggested questions from one of our own ExamMatrix Experts to help you crush your accounting interview.
Do you have any tips or questions that helped you crush your job interview?
Let us know in the comments!
Shirley Koss: Hello! My name’s Shirley and today I’m going to help you get prepared for your big accounting interview. And specifically, I’m going to provide you some really great questions to ask your interviewer and “WOW” them to set yourself apart from the competition.
So, first things first – Congratulations! This is such an exciting time in your life and it’s a big step in the right direction for your career. But, it’s also super nerve-wracking and very awkward. So, what can I do to help assuage your fears and set you up for success?
Well, I’ve been working in the accounting profession for nearly 10 years. I’ve made some great relationships and friendships with accounting firm decision-makers as well as recruiters, so I know exactly the characteristics that they’re looking for in an outstanding candidate and I’ll share those with you in just a few moments.
First things first, your impression is everything. How you look speaks volumes about your professionalism and you want to ensure trust and respect with your potential employer. The best way to do that is dress professionally. Wear a nicely pressed suit. Make sure that you’re ready to go, polished and professional, as soon as you walk in the door of that building.
Speaking of walking through the door — that’s exactly when you’re interview begins. It may sound silly, but everybody from security to the receptionist may weigh on the decision to hire you and may interact with the interviewer to let them know how professional and kind you were. Be kind to everybody you meet. Be enthusiastic, be professional and confident. Introduce yourself – shake hands – with a nice, firm handshake, make eye contact, and smile!
Now at this point, you’re going to transition into the actual interview. Moving forward, you’re going to showcase your ability to handle people and the situations you’ll encounter at work and with clients. Now, I didn’t say anything about your accounting background — right? The reason why is because the recruiters aren’t looking for your accounting background — they’ll teach you everything you need to know in training.
What we want to see here is your ability to handle multiple projects, deal with stressful situations and stressful clients, and work with your peers. They may ask you those awkward behavioral questions that we all hate. Those questions like, “Give us an example of a time where you had to work in a group and things didn’t go as planned.” One of the best ways to streamline your response is to use the S.T.A.R. method: that’s outlining the situation, describing the tasks you took to solve the situation, the actions required, and the results you attained. This is a great way to formulate your thoughts and not meander.
Once you complete this section of your interview, you’ll transition to the phase where YOU can ask the questions. Now, here’s where you can really “WOW” your interviewer. You want to ask thoughtful questions. Questions like:
What’s the onboarding process like?
What’s the company culture?
Why do you like working here?
What are the opportunities for growth and advancement?
Who will I be reporting to directly?
What kind of corporate events do you all get involved in and cultural activities do you get involved in the community?
What don’t you like about working here?
What are the next steps to the interview process?
From here, you’re going to want to make sure that you follow up efficiently and enthusiastically. Again, enthusiasm is key. So, you can send an email or a send a hand-written thank-you note. Why not do both to set yourself apart from the competition? Send an email as soon as you can at the conclusion of the interview because sometimes people overlook interviews – er, emails. You want to make sure you that you then send a really nice hand-written thank you.
So, in conclusion, make sure you wow your interviewer by asking really thoughtful questions and maintaining enthusiasm, energy, and professionalism throughout the interview.
If you have some great interview tips, comment below and share with us!
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