How to pass the job interview in accounting


Getting a job interview in accounting is difficult. However, it is even more difficult to pass the interview and get a job offer. Three experts give their advice to seduce decision-makers during an interview.

Your resume has passed the human resources manager’s scrutiny and you’ve been invited for an interview – well done.

As you move closer to the job of your dreams, you are now faced with the most difficult part of the job search process.

Job interviews can seem daunting, but preparation, practice, and the right attitude can get you the job you want.


A survey by the online job site CareerBuilder found that nearly half of employers had decided within the first five minutes of an interview whether a candidate was a good fit.

Andrew Pearce FCPA, advisor and executive director of business and wealth advisory firm Collins SBA, believes first impressions are always a priority in interviews.

“Dress appropriately because first impressions really matter,” says Pearce. “If this is a conservative and more traditional workplace, think about how best to present yourself so that your potential employer can imagine that you are adapting to their workplace. If the workplace is more forward-thinking, dress for the occasion – this attention to detail shows you care.

Pearce also says it’s important to have a firm handshake, to look the interviewer in the eye, and to use their name to greet them.

“The way you shake hands with the other person is a very important relationship factor and another form of first impression,” he says.

Do your research

“Most job seekers make the mistake of not being well prepared,” says Ross McLelland, associate director of recruiter Michael Page Australia.

“It’s important to research not only what the company does, but also its values ​​and all the other information you can find online. “

Do not be shy

Most people find it hard to talk about their accomplishments and successes, but an interview is not the place to be modest.

“Some job seekers don’t think about selling themselves effectively for the job as well as the company,” says McLelland. “Candidates should explain both why they want a specific job and why they want to join that particular company. “

Pearce suggests reviewing the job description and giving examples of situations where you have used your strengths well and learned from experience. “It’s easy to say you have a skill or behave in a certain way, but it needs to be backed up by specific examples of how you’ve demonstrated it. “

“It’s easy to say you have a skill or behave in a certain way, but it needs to be backed up by specific examples of how you’ve demonstrated it. Andrew Pearce FCPA

Sydney-based recruiting specialist Kara Atkinson believes good candidates never answer questions with a yes or no.

“Always work out your answers and give as much of your personality as possible,” she says.

Sometimes the interviewer is looking for a skill or experience that you lack. In this case, you should be prepared to talk about your strengths and areas of development that can help you perform well in your role.

“Demonstrating an ability to learn or to bridge a skills gap is really important,” says Pearce.

Required skills

According to McLelland, business partnership is the most in-demand skill in accounting.

“It is not enough to have a solid technical foundation in accounting; you have to be able to engage with your customers, to truly understand their needs, and that requires skills in relationship building, influence, communication and emotional intelligence, ”he says.

Additionally, employers in public practice favor professionals with a proactive background, which means “working independently, but also asking for help when needed,” he says. “They are looking for solution-oriented candidates – someone with a growth mindset who sees a challenge as an opportunity.”

To ask questions

An interview is about finding a job, but it is also an opportunity to make sure that the position and the organization are right for you.

Pearce notes that one of the most common forgetfulness of candidates is not asking enough questions.

“It’s always good to have a question ready to ask about the organization, job expectations, company strategy, etc. Says Pearce.

“Ask questions that reflect your research and show your ability to think critically and intelligently. “

It is important to ask the right questions. Atkinson says you should avoid asking anything about office hours.

“If you are a junior candidate this can be very important to you, but an interview is all about delivering what the client wants,” she says. “Work ethics ranks very high on their list and you need to make sure you ticked that box – wondering about office hour changes that tick a cross.”

Another tip Atkinson offers is to discuss salary expectations with the recruiter rather than the client.

5 job interview tips to remember

Before answering a question, think about the STAR approach (Situation, Task, Action, Result) and formulate your answer accordingly.

Eyes raised
Make eye contact with the interviewer when you greet them.

To follow
Send an email after an interview to indicate your enthusiasm and interest in the job.

Think about the possible questions and practice answering them.

Sell ​​yourself
Prepare to talk about important accomplishments that you can refer to during the interview.

Resource for CPA Library Members:
Get a job: powerful tips and tools for a successful interview (Ebook)

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