Accounting Job Interview Tips
Best Interview Tips for an Accounting Job
For an accounting job interview, you should focus on your knowledge and core competencies. Following are some interview tips that'll help you prepare for and face an accounting job interview.
This is the first step of any interview preparation effort. The research should focus on three factors; the company, the job and the interview.
First the company; you should be aware of some basic things about the company such as it's mission statement, major products and / or services, clients and competitors, place in market, recent mention in news etc. This knowledge will not only help you target your interview preparation efforts but mentioning some of it in the interview creates the impression that you are genuinely interested in the company and not applying at random.
The next and perhaps even more important is the job. You should be aware of the job qualifications, responsibilities etc. Read the job description carefully. You should know before going to the interview what the job requires and how would you show that you have it.
The last but not the least is the interview itself. You should know the identity of the interviewer, pattern of the interview, the steps in the selection process etc. Knowing what to expect during the interview will boost your confidence and help you prepare yourself for it.
It may be easy to use same resume for every job application but it's certainly not the way to impress the interviewer. You should tailor your resume for the job you are applying. Make sure that you emphasize the points that are relevant to the job in question.
Make sure that you now remember the points in your resume. Also a lot of the questions in the interview will revolve around the topics mentioned in your resume therefore make sure that you are familiar with and able to answer questions about them. If there are some points about which you don't feel confident and which are not very important from the job point of view it would be good idea to leave them out of the resume.
- Prepare for Questions
You should prepare for expected interview questions in advance. You can find many such questions on the internet. Take your time and assemble as many questions as you can find. Prepare the answers to these questions. Whenever possible use your answers. For difficult interview questions you can take the help of ready-made answers but practice answering them in your own language. Your answers during the interview should not appear rehearsed. The interview questions can be technical, personal or behavioral.
The technical questions would focus on your knowledge and skills. In case of an accounting job interview these would include knowledge of various accounting terms and techniques, knowledge of relevant laws, regulations and practices and the ability to apply them in your work. Additionally questions about any accounting software or other tools you may have used can be asked as well.
Personal questions would focus on your interest in the job and the company as well as your fitness to work within the company environment. Take help of the personal interview questions available online but try to be original and give answers that make sense from your perspective. In any case avoid generic, answers as they don't say anything about you and can only serve to irritate the interviewer.
As for behavioral questions you should choose incidents from your actual experience and present them in a concise and well organize manner. The pattern should be the situation followed by your actions and the final outcome. Keep your answers limited to only those facts that are of relevance to the job and the company.
- Mock Interview
Performing mock interviews with a friend or colleague taking the part of the interviewer can help you identify critical weaknesses and dramatically improve your performance in the actual interview. Do this repeatedly and use the feed back to identify and strengthen your weak points.
The points so far has been concerned with the preparation phase of the job interview. Let's focus on the actual interview itself.
- First Impression
First impressions are important and with a little preparation within your control. Choose professional attire for the interview. If you have any doubts, find out how the people in the organization usually dress and take your lead from there. In general it is better to be too formal rather than too casual.
Never arrive late for an interview, accounting or otherwise. Plan ahead and arrive before the appointed time as this will give you time to prepare yourself and a buffer in case of some unexpected delays
Be on your best behavior during the interview. Knock before entering and close the door behind you. If you have done your research well you should know the name of the interviewer; greet them with the name. When introducing yourself use both your first and last names. Keep eye contact with the person you are talking to. When shaking hands be firm but restrained.
- Follow the Lead
The interview can be formal or relatively informal; observe the interviewer and let them set the tone of the interview. Although remember that the interview is a serious business and don't get too causal. Some interviewers may act casual in order to make you feel at ease. Don't take this as an invitation to become casual.
- Avoid Distraction
During the interview you should be alert and focused on the interviewer. Avoid distracting behavior such as playing with your pen, shirt buttons, tapping your foot or drumming you fingers, looking at the ceiling, checking time, excessive gesturing etc.
- Answering Questions
Before answering questions listen carefully to the questions and try to understand what exactly the interviewer wants to know. If you have any doubts about the questions make sure to clarify them. When answering if you have made any assumptions state them clearly.
Take a moment to organize your thoughts and formulate your answers. Make sure that your answer is precise and to the point. In general it's better to give a short precise of the answers and ask if the interviewer wants more details. Look at the question from the interviewer's perspective and avoid the details that are not strictly relevant.
When answering questions; avoid the use of jargon; as it may differ from company to company. Also never use slang or swear words during the interview.
- Positive Attitude
A positive attitude is very important. Stay positive no matter how the interview is going. Never blame others for any of your performance or say negative things about your current / previous boss or colleagues.
- Ask Questions
Asking intelligent questions show your interest in the job and the company. If or when the interviewer ask you if you have any questions; never say no. Have some questions prepared in advance and ask then in a spontaneous and non rehearsed manner. Make sure that the questions are about the job and company. Avoid the topic of salary or other compensations until an offer is made to you. If asked by the interviewer; say that it's negotiable and give a reasonably wide range.
Closing is a very important part of the interview. Make sure to ask the interviewers if they have any doubts regarding your ability to do well in the job. This will give you valuable feedback regarding your performance and weak points. Do your best to allay these doubts. Remember to en-quire about the next step and thank them for their time and this opportunity. Also let them know in no uncertain terms that you are interested in the job. After the interview remember to send them a polite thank you email.
Job interviews are always stressful but if you have the required qualification for the job; clearing the accounting job interview should be easy with some preparation. The interview tips given above, though by no means comprehensive, will help you organize your preparation for an accounting job interview.