We are often asked by our accounting candidates how to make a great first impression at a job interview. You only have seconds to make a great first impression. The research says maybe only 7!
There are a couple of things you can do at the outset. They will help you connect with the interviewer and ensure that they get a positive impression of your personality and skills and experience. These are our tips for Accountants to making a great impression and nailing the job interview.
Making a Great Impression
Be On Time – actually be 5 mins early!
Allow extra time if you are travelling via public transport. If you’re driving, never underestimate the time it takes to find a parking spot. It’s much better to arrive a couple of minutes early and to have time to gather your thoughts rather than arriving flustered and out of breath.
Match the Corporate Dress Code
Do a little bit of research online. You can easily see from company profile pictures or LinkedIn profiles whether the dress code is corporate or corporate casual but if in doubt check with your recruiter. Arrive at the interview dressed for the role you want to be hired for.
Be Focused, Enthusiastic and Present In the Moment
This means using positive body language, smiling, using eye contact. Also please turn off your phone!
During The Interview
Once you have made a great first impression, it’s time to get into the interview questions.
Do Your Company Research
We recommend having a good understanding of the company for which you are being interviewed. Consider whether they have a niche client base that you need to understand or a particular challenge you need to be across.
It is also a good idea to have a good working knowledge of any recent mentions in the press of the company you are interviewing for, or any industry news that impacts their major clients.
You can research their company values via their website. This can be useful as you can also take the time to determine whether your values are in line with the company that is hiring. Matching these up can be a crucial part of fitting into a company culture.
Be Prepared and Rehearse Your Responses
Many of our clients use behavioural interview questions to get a good idea of whether you are likely to meet the core competencies for their role. This means that you should have a well thought out example of how you have responded to a similar situation during your career.
Some clients may even want you to review a case study or a hypothetical situation to determine how you would approach a tricky accounting issue or forensic accounting investigation
Some of the types of questions you might get asked include:
- Can you demonstrate your knowledge of upcoming changes to accounting standards?
- Has there been a time where you have had to work to a seasonal deadline such as month end, year end. How did you deal with the peak in workload?
- Has there been a time when you have had to implement change. What did that change involve? What did you do? What was the outcome?
- Can you tell us about a time you have minimised risk for a client. What was involved? What was the outcome?
- Can you tell us about a time you have reduced costs for an employer. What did you do? What was the outcome?
- Can you tell us a time you have had to deal with a difficult client? What was the situation, how did you deal with it? What was the outcome?
- Can you tell us about a time you have had to prepare evidence to support litigation?
- Tell us about a time you were instrumental in cracking a major forensic accounting investigation. What was the situation, what did you do? What was the outcome?
- Can you tell us about a time when you have had to think outside the box to source information?
Once you have good examples and have practiced your response to the above questions, it can be a good idea to have a couple of key words, or figures written down to jog you memory if they come up. Supporting your examples with figures and percentages helps to substantiate your answers.
Depending on the seniority of the role, they may also ask you about your leadership style, and about examples of any situations of having difficult conversations with direct reports. They may also ask you about whether you have mentored more junior staff.
At the End of the Interview
Have some questions prepared
Because you are already so well researched about the company you want to work for, this part should be easy!
One of my favourite questions that gets the interviewers to open up and sell you the firm/role is to ask them what they like about working there.
You might ask the hiring manager to describe the culture of the company, or how they are managing a particular regulatory change.
You could ask how the role you are interviewing for has come about – is it due to growth, or an internal promotion? This can give you an idea of the career development opportunities within the organisation.
We also recommend asking what happens in the recruitment process from here! This helps to ensure you and the hiring manager are on the same page.
Ask for Feedback
We always call and seek feedback from hiring managers after the interview which can be invaluable to you. Please don’t be scared of following up with us a couple of days after the interview to see if we can give you some further insights or things to improve on for next time!
Troy Recruitment is a boutique agency delivering a personal and collaborative service. We recruit in the fields of Forensic Accounting, Forensic Technology and Insurance.
If you would like to have a confidential discussion about your career options, salary benchmarks and industry information you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow Troy Recruitment on LinkedIn here.