The Top Do’s and Don’ts of an Accounting Interview

With college graduations right around the corner many young accounting majors are spending their days trying to line up interviews for their first real world job. Interviewing skills, however, are not just needed for these college grads, but current accounting professionals as well. You never know when a new opportunity could arise and you want to be prepared. To help, we’ve created a list of the top do’s and don’ts when it comes to accounting interviews.

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1. DO possess appropriate etiquette

    • The accounting industry is one that expects a high level of professionalism from its employees. Therefore, there is nothing more important than a first impression. In an interview, first impressions start from the moment you park your car, not when you enter the conference room. Smile and be friendly to all you see in the building. This includes parking attendants and receptionists. These first impressions can become relevant to the hiring process about 5 to 10% of the time according to the WSJ. Other proper etiquette elements include dressing appropriately, delivering firm handshakes and writing thank you notes after.
  • 2. DO come prepared with questions
    • Remember, interviews are a two-way street. The interviewer wants to see if you’re a good fit, but you also need to determine if the company is a good fit for you. Asking questions is the best way to do so. Not to mention, candidates who don’t ask questions during interviews are 49% less likely to get hired. So make sure to read up on the company’s website and ask questions specific to their clients and/or services. You can also, ask the interviewer about their career path. This shows that you have interest in forward thinking and career development.
  • 3. DON’T let nerves get the best of you
    • Before you arrive, take a minute to consider why you have an interview in the first place. You have an interview because the company liked the skills and experience you possess. Therefore, don’t jump in over your head and talk about topics that are out of your expertise. Instead, talk about how your current skills are relevant to the job, or your future goals like passing your CPA exam. Practicing also helps ease the nerves prior an interview. Answer questions beforehand with someone you know and admire. This will help build up your confidence. Arriving early and wearing clothes you feel your best in are also all great ways to start an interview off on the right foot.
  • 4. DON’T be dishonest
    • This one may seem obvious, but you want to make sure you maintain a high level of integrity throughout the entire interview process. The accounting industry is a relatively small one and firms and interviewers can often attend the same events. 95% of hiring managers also verify former employers and employment dates, so something as simple as enhancing your job description or your time at a job could in return cost you a new position.  

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Micheal Johnson, senior vice president