Young job-seeking accounting applicants have plenty of preparation to do before they are even granted an interview. Searching for mock interview questions online doesn’t hurt, as it will give you an idea of questions to expect.
There are two types of questions interviewers ask: personal questions and technical questions. Personal questions are more intuitive, while technical questions tend to be more black and white.
Remember that if the fit is right, the interview is your chance to prove it. Keep reading and learn how to handle the interview questions that stump entry-level accounting applicants.
Types of Interview Questions
An interview is a formal conversation where two people get to know each other, so you could be fielding questions from all over the spectrum. You and the interviewer may discuss your resume, skills, and characteristics that are suitable for the job. You may also get a chance to cover the technical aspects of the position.
- Work History Questions
Your prospective employer will probably take a look at your resume before your interview, but now you’ll have the chance to discuss your work history face to face. Here you can go into more detail about the bullet points that make up your resume, which will allow the company to learn about your past experiences. When you’re interviewing for entry-level accounting jobs, however, you might not have a long history.
Many interviewees get stumped when it comes to discussing their work experience. Since it’s the first time they’re applying for an accounting job, they do not have as much history to reference. Fortunately, interviewers understand what the entry-level pool is like, so you can get creative with your answers. Discuss your college history, volunteer work you were involved with, teams you led, or honors you received. If you’re confident in your past involvements, you can convince the interviewer that you will make a valuable asset.
2. Personal Questions
Every interview has a few questions that relate to the candidate’s character or work ethic; i.e, “What would you do in this situation?” Two important personal topics that often come up in an interview are weaknesses and teamwork.
“What are your weaknesses?” is perhaps the trickiest interview question of them all, but it’s possible to answer gracefully. The idea is to discuss small weaknesses that can be easily resolved and don’t necessarily make a negative impact in the workplace. You can tie a positive into it, but be subtle about it. The cheesy classic, “I care too much” actually isn’t so bad if you phrase it as “I sometimes need to remind myself to step back from my work and recharge.”
Entry-level accounting jobs often require teamwork, so collaboration skills are imperative while interviewing. They may ask you to go into details about situations when you’ve worked on a diverse team with people from different fields or backgrounds or adversities you’ve faced while working with others. If you see yourself as a leader, use these questions to convey that quality.
3. Technical Questions
Not all interviews have technical questions, but it’s best to be prepared for anything. For entry-level accounting jobs, you might be asked to take a short math quiz or demonstrate your excel knowledge. Additionally, the interviewer may present you with a hypothetical problem that can occur and inquire about how you would handle it.
The structure, formality, and nature of the interview all depend on the firm for which you’re applying. Some interviewers lean heavily on technical questions while some assume that your resume can vouch for your skills. You always have an influence over the flow of the interview, so try to play to your strengths. If you’ve prepared properly, you should have the confidence to make a lasting impression.
Answering with Accuracy and Confidence
You don’t just want to give your interviewer answers that will suffice; you want to blow them away. Research, practice, and repetition will prepare you to answer the questions posed. Here are a couple of steps you can take to handle those tough questions.
Look Up Common Interview Questions. The whole interview process is a lot less scary when you have an idea of what to expect. The more interviews you take on, the more familiar you’ll become with the questions they ask and the more comfortable you’ll be in the moment. Most entry-level accounting job applicants don’t have a long history of interviewing to go off of, which tends to contribute to the nerves. Gain some confidence by searching for common accounting interview questions online. You can find examples of questions that interviewers may ask to get into the right mindset.
Know the Company and Position. You might be applying to multiple entry-level accounting jobs at the same time in order to maximize your chances of finding the right fit. Although this can be fruitful, be sure to spend the proper amount of time researching each company including its services and culture. Understanding the company and position you’re applying for may give you an idea of what kinds of questions to expect—and what kinds of answers they may want.
Assemble Your Supporting Materials. During an interview, your prospective employer expects you to speak highly of yourself. In order to do this, be prepared to provide proper evidence of your skillset. You might not have ideal accounting experience while searching for an entry-level position, but you can discuss any awards, accolades, or successes you’ve had in other fields that will benefit your desired position. Having a brag book to refer to can be handy for answering those questions about your work ethic and personal abilities.
Try a Practice Interview. It helps to actually hear yourself speak out loud when you prepare for an interview. If it feels silly to interview yourself out loud, ask someone to help you role play. Give a friend some practice questions and go through a trial interview so you can get a feel of how your interview may go. This helps you properly execute your answers, which ultimately makes a difference on the interviewer’s impression of you.
Finding a job doesn’t have to be the intimidating monster it’s so often made out to be. Once you’ve gotten yourself to the interview stage, set yourself up for success by doing the hard work. Go through practice interview questions with a friend, research the entry-level accounting jobs you’ve applied for, and know how to present yourself to avoid being stumped. Remember that questions are often subjective and intuitive, so use your strengths to reveal yourself as the ideal candidate for the job.