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January 3, 2022

Accountant's Interview – A Guide to Handle Trickiest Questions

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You got the job interview. You prepared by studying the company and thinking about your interview answers. Now what? What separates candidates who get job offers from everyone else? It turns out that interviews are not merely about answering the interviewer's questions. Interviewing is a skill that can be systematically improved. 

There are interview questions out there that seem to be designed to trip you up. From 'What’s your greatest weakness?' - don't say you're a perfectionist - to 'How do you fit a giraffe in a fridge?'.

While most of the trickiest questions can apply to most professions, you can definitely expect to see some of them included in interviews for accountancy and finance positions, especially when you're at an early stage of your career. So if you've got plans to become a management accountant, auditor, or something similar, get ready by reading on.

Prepare Yourself

Doing your research thoroughly and planning gives you the best chance of catching any curveball the interviewer might throw your way. Bear in mind that a job interview allows you to share your story and show your enthusiasm for the specific role and company.

If it's an accountancy and finance role, this is a great opportunity to talk about how elements of your course relevant to the job resonated with you. For instance, you might highlight the papers you've completed on management accountancy, and how these have made you feel that a role within the finance department of a firm is right for you.

More generally, make sure you know your CV inside out. Study the job description and be prepared to answer questions based on the competencies outlined. Write out questions you anticipate being asked, and work on your potential answers so you can speak with authority and confidence. Finally, come prepared with relevant and insightful questions to ask the interviewer concerning the role and the company.

Interview method

Will your interview be on the telephone, via video conference, or in-person? Interviews by telephone or VC should be treated just as seriously as those that take place in person, and your preparation should be equally thorough.

If the interview is taking place in person, ensure you're wearing appropriate attire. If it's an interview for a finance role, we advise playing it safe - formal attire is best. It's better to be overdressed than underdressed, and if you’re invited back for a second-round interview, you should have a better understanding of how employees at the organization dress by that point.

When meeting your interviewer(s), always make eye contact and give a firm handshake. The first impression you give and your general appearance will be judged as a measure of your status, your self-confidence, and your approach to your work.

Tricky questions?

The job market is highly competitive, and employers need to identify the most suitable candidates. Tricky questions they ask during interviews might not necessarily have right or wrong answers. These questions are designed to examine how candidates respond when they're put on the spot.

Your answers should demonstrate your critical-thinking skills, and show how you make decisions in a short space of time. In addition, they should also give an insight into how you collect the data you need to make the best possible decisions.

'Impossible' questions such as 'How many golf balls are there in France?' have become quite popular with interviews in recent years. If you're going for an accountancy role, this isn't a test of your mathematical prowess - it's an opportunity to show how logical you are and how you approach unexpected problems, so keep your cool and don’t be fazed.

01. What is your greatest weakness?

The first step to fixing a problem is admitting it. When employers ask this question, it's not just about figuring out your weaknesses, but about finding out whether or not you're aware of them, and if you're intending to make changes. 

Frame your answer to give it a positive angle. Focus on a quality that you are working to improve on. give your weakness a silver lining, and use your answer as an opportunity to highlight other strengths and underscore your determination to keep getting better. For example, if you spend too much time focusing on details, recall an instance when you took the time to step back and consider the bigger picture and the subsequent benefits.

If this is your first post-qualification job in finance, this is a good opportunity to talk about how you overcame issues when studying. Employers like to see that candidates can recognize their shortcomings and are striving to rectify them.

02. How do you handle conflict at work?

Your answer can help the interviewer predict how you might behave in certain situations. Interviewers are looking for folks to say they are direct communicators and that they can handle their problems on their own If a manager was to reject all of your proposals, how might you react? Would you take the criticism personally or would you use it as an opportunity to improve? Describe a situation in which you encountered conflict at work, detailing how you found a resolution and the positive results that ensued.

03. Where do you see yourself in five years?

When interviewers ask this, they want to see how this role may fit into your long-term plans. If you feel in 5 years you want to move up within the company, tell them that you see yourself comfortable and familiar with your current role and growing professionally with the organization.

Knowledge of your employer can help you answer this question, which allows you to show your enthusiasm for the role and your ability to contribute fresh ideas. Prepare an appropriate response that reflects the essence of the organization and your own experiences and expertise. Keep in mind that the interviewer is interested in your long-term career ambitions.

04. Why are you the right person for this job?

Essentially, you are being asked to match your particular strengths to the particular abilities required to successfully fulfill the role. Employers want to see that you fully understand the company's business goals, that your specific skill set can have a significant impact, and that you are truly suited for the role.

05. How can you contribute to our company’s growth?

Interviewers want to see what kind of impact you can make as well as how you generate results. This can be related to team dynamics, project management skills, adhering to deadlines, and other numerous factors that will impact the organization. A great way to respond to this is to frame what your strengths are and how that helps serve the bigger picture of the organization. 

Wrap-up

If you're an experienced candidate, you'll likely have heard some of the above questions before in interviews, but if you’re still working towards qualifying, it's worth planning out your answers to the above in advance.

If you are going for your first accountancy and finance role, remember that you've done (or are doing) the necessary learning with a world-class educational body, so have confidence!

In terms of technical questions, your preparation for your exams should mean that you're very knowledgeable for an interview, but we'd also recommend revising the areas of the certificates you've completed that are most relevant to the job you’re interviewing for.

If you need any assistance in preparing your resume or you need more specific interview guidelines that best suit your personal requirements to have a breakthrough in the Canadian job market reach out to Gettrainedgethired.com to book a free 30-Minute career counseling meeting. At Gettrainedgethired.com we provide you with the necessary training to learn practical skills to become an accountant. Our training is based on practical real-life cases.  After the training, we work on your resume and try to place you in accounting firms through our network. You will also get access to like-minded individuals who are looking for jobs through our WhatsApp group. Please feel free to contact us at [email protected]. Or call us at 647-870-6986

Disclaimer: The information provided on this page is intended to provide general information. The information does not consider your situation and is not intended to be used without consultation from professionals. Salman Rundhawa and Gettrainedgethired.com will not be held liable for any problems that arise from the usage of the information provided on this page.

Author

Salman Rundhawa

Salman has a strong desire to help others succeed and believe in passing on the knowledge. He likes to mentor others and wish to play part in other people success.

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