Job interviews can be a struggle for accountants.
By nature we often find it a struggle to sell ourselves.
We may even let our nerves get the better of us.
Of course in an accounting job interview there are questions which fall into the almost guaranteed to be asked.
And the good news is that you are prepared for answering these questions ahead of a job interview, you will handle these much more effectively in the job interview.
So what questions are you almost guaranteed to be asked in an accounting job interview?
Questions about your experience
First and foremost the hiring manager wants to be sure that you have the practical experience.
Particularly in the core areas of the job.
So if they are hiring a Financial Accountant you can expect to be asked questions about your experience in year end accounts, working with auditors, cash forecasting.
If hiring a Finance Manager or Management Accountant be ready to be asked questions about your experience in budgeting, forecasting, management reporting and variance analysis.
If hiring a Finance Business Partner be ready for questions about your experience of working with the business, providing insightful information, influencing, educating and delivering improved performance.
Questions about your technical ability
Maybe it’s an age thing but one thing I notice is that candidates don’t always have level of technical ability you might expect, even among qualified accountants.
When hiring, the hiring manager wants to know you will do the basics well.
For that reasons you have to be able to demonstrate your technical ability.
How you would approach certain tasks.
For example I’m often surprised when people who claim to be really good at budgeting, struggling to answer questions about how they would approach producing the budget.
At a more junior level I’ve seen people struggle to explain how they do a bank reconciliation.
Questions about managing and leading
Depending on the level of the job, you may be managing or leading a team.
Even if you are not managing or leading others, you can expect questions about how you manage and lead yourself and your approach to getting things done and meeting deadlines.
Be ready for questions about times when you took the lead, resolved a problem, your management style, when you overcame resistance to name just a few.
Questions about you and your preferences
These can range from questions about your motivations, frustrations, strengths, weaknesses, style of working for example.
If you haven’t given these thought ahead of the interview there is a big risk of you really handling these questions badly.
Questions about the company
Researching an organisation when I started out over 40 years ago was difficult.
Now there’s so much out there in the public domain.
You have to answer these questions well and demonstrate you have put in some effort ahead of the interview.
Questions about the financial performance
The financial performance of the majority of organisations can be accessed. Often on the organisation’s website.
There would be nothing more embarrassing and more than likely eliminate you as a credible candidate.
Do a basic analysis and be ready to present this.
Questions about your interest in the company and role
You might be asked why you want to work for company.
I need some income and you have a job on offer isn’t really going to cut it.
You have to explain why you want to work for the company.
Similarly you are more than likely to be looking at several roles.
What is it that really attracts you to this particular role?
Make sure that you have a really clear answer.Right now the job market is tougher than ever for accountants. To give yourself the best chance of success in the job interview, you have to identify and produce answers to plenty of potential questions ahead of the job interview.
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