So you’ve decided on a career in accounting. You’ve sent out countless resumes and cover letters and successfully landed a job interview at an accounting firm. As you may well know, the hard part isn’t over yet. You now have to prepare to impress your interviewer with all of the knowledge, confidence, and experience you have.
Follow these ten tips to make sure it’s smooth sailing throughout your interview:
1. DRESS THE PART. Accounting firms are rule-bound institutions (especially the Big Four); conservative attire is a must for the interview. Think Brooks Brothers, not Versace.
2. TAKE TIME TO PREPARE FOR THE INTERVIEW. Research the firm online and attend campus information sessions if you’re still in college. Know what distinguishes the firm from its competitors and what makes you a perfect fit.
3. BE HONEST. If a recruiter asks for experience you don’t have, tell the truth. In the long run, your honesty will do more for you than even the cleverest lie—especially given the emphasis on ethics in accounting.
4. LISTEN CAREFULLY. Make sure you’re replying to the interviewer’s actual questions, not to what you think she said.
5. BE CONFIDENT. Know why you would make a good accountant— and communicate that.
6.THINK THROUGH YOUR EXPERIENCE. Have stories ready that showcase your skills in: analysis, teamwork, leadership, communication, problem-solving, independence, integrity, technological proficiency
7. HAVE QUESTIONS PREPARED TO ASK. Preferably questions with answers you’d truly like to know.
8. BE POSITIVE. Although you might be interested in knowing more about the firm’s recent ethical and business gaffes, it’s probably a better idea to focus on more positive topics in the interview.
9. DON’T FOCUS ON COMPENSATION. Doing so tells your interviewer you’re more interested in what you’ll be making than in what you’ll be doing with your life.
10. DON’T WHINE ABOUT PREVIOUS MANAGERS OR EMPLOYERS. Doing so can raise questions about your ability to take orders and work as part of a team.