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Accountants come in many different variations, including public accountants, tax accountants, government accountants, forensic accountants, management positions and auditors. Of course, before you settle into a new accounting position, you have to get through the interview process and get the job. Here are some important tips to ace your next accounting job interview.
Top Interview Tips for Accounting Jobs
Get the InterviewIn order to ace the interview, you first have to get the interview. Whether youre fresh out of school or between jobs, here are some useful tips to help you get your foot in the door:Prepare Your Resume Create a clear and concise, one page document that you can give to one or two other people to review for some honest feedback. Youll need a paper version, as well as an online version to include in emails. Avoid anything too flashy or colorful and include all of your relevant schooling, experience and specialty accounting knowledge you may have. Professional Email Address Before you begin the job search, its wise to create a professional email address you can use for just accounting-related emails. Make it as simple and basic as possible, and include it on your resume. Mine Your Resources Contact old professional acquaintances, schoolmates or anyone else that can help get the word out that you are looking for an accounting position. Face-to-Face Try to get out to at least one or two networking events per week to increase your exposure and make an impression on people who may be hiring. Go Online Take advantage of the social media outlets that can help get your name out there, and if possible, create a mini website detailing your skills and experience. Include the url of your site on your resume and on business cards. Go to the Source One strategy to get an interview at companies you want to work for is to make contact and submit your resume whether they are actively hiring or not. It probably wont pay to harass them or seem pushy, but getting your name in there wont hurt.
Get PreparedOnce your efforts have paid off and youve landed the interview, its time to get prepared. In many cases, accountants are wonderful with numbers, but not the greatest at communicating those skills in an interview setting. Thats why its important to prepare yourself well, so you can maintain the flow of conversation and get your points across. Most companies will grasp that your prowess lies with numbers and figures, but if its between you and another accountant, leaving a favorable impression will help. Do Some Research Go online and research the company that you are interviewing for. It will help your chances if youre well-versed about exactly what they do, their history and the future outlook so you know who youll be working for and what theyre all about. Its also important to get yourself into a selling yourself kind of mindset so you can really get the point across about what you can offer the company. Create Your Story Before the interview, work out exactly how you might present yourself and your story to the interviewer. Its important that you sell yourself, and since accountants are always the best at doing that, some preparation will help. Practice with a friend or family member beforehand to ensure you sound natural and dont leave out any important points. Prep for Questions While its true that you can never really know exactly what an interviewer may ask, you can cheat a little. If you go into Google and type in common accounting interview questions youll get a sense of what you may be asked. Some questions will likely be technical and some will be trying to gauge your personality and work habits.
General TipsAs with an interview for any position, there are some general rules and tips to follow with accounting positions. Arrive five to 10 minutes earlyAlways dress professionallyMake eye contact when youre speakingListen intently and dont interruptSpeak clearly, and not too quicklyAsk questions about the company, the department and the positionShake hands firmlyAsk for a business card
Common MistakesJust as there are important things to do in an accounting job interview, there are also common mistakes you are best to avoid. Aside from showing up late to the interview and dressing inappropriately, some other mistakes include:
Chewing gum during the interviewLeaving your cell phone turned onNot connecting your previous experience to this jobAsking about salary on the first interviewIf you really take the time to learn about the position and prepare for the interview, your chances of coming out of it with a new job will be high. Remember to translate your accounting skills well and sell yourself every step of the way, and youll do just fine.