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16 days ago by Libby McCaughey

Interview Preparation, Top Tips & Questions You Can Expect

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So, you’ve secured yourself an interview and you want to set yourself apart from the other Accountants, Auditors or Finance specialists. It goes without saying that you want to be sure you’re well-prepared and ready to tackle whatever questions a potential employer may throw at you. Here are a few questions you can expect to in interviews for accountancy and finance positions.

Preparation goes a long way. Doing thorough research on the organisation you’re interviewing for gives you the best opportunity to catch a curve ball that may come your way. Remember the interview is the perfect opportunity to show your enthusiasm for the specific role and company.

For accountancy and finance roles, talk about how elements of your course or previous experience is relevant to the job. For example, highlight papers you’ve completed on management accountancy, and relate how this information helped develop your skill set and knowledge that makes you feel that this specific role is right for you.

More generally, make sure you know your CV like the back of your hand. Study the job description – you want to be prepared to answer questions based on the competencies outlined. The better your prepared for potential questions, the better you will be able to speak about your experiences and express yourself more confidently and with authority when giving your answers.

Finally, come with a few relevant and insightful questions to ask the interviewer about the role and the organisation.

Whether your interviewing in person, over the phone or via a video call you need to prepare and execute al interviews with the same professionalism.

You’ve probably been told how important a first impression is, but how much does it really matter? Within the first seven seconds of meeting, people have a solid impression of who you are. Some research even goes as far to suggest that it takes a tenth of a second to determine traits like trustworthiness. So, with that in mind when having an interview in person, ensure you’re well presented, it’s better to be over dressed than under-dressed.

For example, a study showed that those who wear a watch to an interview from a variety of backgrounds elicit significantly higher levels of conscientiousness and they also arrive earlier for appointments.

Currently the job market is highly competitive, especially in the world of accounting and finance. Employers need to identify the most suitable candidates who skills and personality align with the companies.

Difficult questions in an interview like “what’s your greatest weakness” won’t have a right or a wrong answer but are designed to examine how you respond when you’re put on the spot. Your answer should demonstrate your critical thinking and how you make decisions in a short space of time, giving an insight on the way you collect data to make the best possible decision.

A question that has come up frequently in recent years, “how many golf balls are there in France?”. While this question may seem irrelevant and out of context it isn’t asked to test your mathematical skills but to show how logical you are and how you approach unexpected problems – it’s important to keep your cool and not be fazed.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? This is where your knowledge of the organisation you will give you the opportunity to demonstrate your enthusiasm for the role and your ability to contribute fresh ideas. It’s important to prepare answer that will reflect the essence of the business and your own expertise and experience. 

If you’re an experienced candidate you’re likely to have heard these questions before, however if this is one of your first interviews post qualification remember that you’ve done the necessary learning to answer technical questions but mirror this confidence when preparing your answers for the more ambiguous questions.

This is not a ‘one-size’ fits all guide to mastering any and every interview question but guidelines to provoke you to think about more than answering interview questions with basic surface answers. Yes, you want to showcase your skills and what knowledge but also show who you are, why you would be a good fit for the company and culture and what you can bring to the role that others may not.