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5 Tips for Interviewing for your First Accounting Job

The world of accounting and finance is currently going through a bit of a Renaissance. Many firms are looking for qualified candidates of the highest integrity, therefore it is important to understand the many ways to prepare for your interview. Here are five ways you can give yourself an advantage over the competition should you be fortunate enough to land an interview.

1. Complete All of Your Licensing Requirements Prior to the Interview

If you do this, you can start work as soon as you shake hands and say, “I’ll take it.” Be sure you check the requirements for your prospective job at both the state and federal levels. Some jobs might also require a security clearance, so it would behoove you to make sure that is in order, too, before you show up at the interview. Human resource professionals like candidates for whom they don’t have to wait.

2. Do Your Homework

Find out everything you can about the company for which you’re interviewing. Be familiar with its fiscal history and outlook. Know the executives’ names and short biographies. HR pros will be impressed that you took the time to get to know the company; it highlights not only your genuine interest but also your thoroughness and work ethic. If possible, find out the name of the person with whom you’ll be interviewing and do a little homework on that person too. That kind of personal touch might give you the advantage you seek.

3. Make it All About Them

You have to convince the person that hiring you will be best for the company. In other words, sell yourself by highlighting the skills that you have that will make the company more or save more money than other people will. Find out about the company’s bonus structure and pay incentives. If possible, present your skills in such a way that not only the person interviewing you but also the managers and executives will see that they will make more money, personally, if they hire you. It’s all about the bottom line at every level. To be brutally frank, if it comes down to a handful of equally qualified and dedicated candidates, the one that will make the company and its higher-ups more money will get the job.

4. Practice Interviewing

Check yourself in front of a mirror. Practice your answers to interview questions with friends and family. If you can afford it, hire a career counseling service to do mock interviews with you. Brainstorm possible questions and develop more than one answer to each one. Practice speaking naturally and with authority without seeming pushy. Know what the interviewer means when he or she asks specific questions. “Tell me about yourself,” is not an invitation to talk about your stamp collection or guilty pleasure of watching “Game of Thrones.” It means, “tell me the skills you have that we can use to make lots of money.”

5. Remember the Little Things

Be on time. Dress appropriately. That means be early and wear clothes that are one level higher than the position for which you’ve applied. For example, if the “uniform of the day” is business casual, wear formal business attire. If formal business attire is required, then make sure you look as crisp and professional as possible. Shake hands firmly. Make eye contact. Be yourself. Thank the interviewer after the interview and be sure to send a card afterwards even if you didn’t get the job.

Your resume skills, education in accounting and intelligence have landed you this interview. To make the most of it, follow these tips and search out other tips from people who have “been there, done that.” Good luck!

Related Resource: 5 Tips for Applying to your First Accounting Job