You’ve perfected your resume. Poured over your cover letter. Painstakingly completed your job application. Now, all you have to do is interview. Easy, right? Not so much! If you’ve ever gone through the job application process, you know the interview can be the most intimidating part.
But the truth is, you have more control over the interview than you may think. The underlying keys to a successful interview are to (professionally) show up as yourself and treat the time as a chance to learn, grow, and expand your network.
What’s more, interviews are not a one-way street. As a job seeker, you’re interviewing the firm as much as they’re interviewing you.
Here are four tips on how to ace your next accounting job interview.
Be enthusiastic about you
You are the only one who knows your story and the secret sauce that makes you an incredible candidate. So don’t be shy! Enthusiastically share your story by framing it around this simple formula:
- Challenge – Tell the story of your problem-solving abilities.
- Solution – Tell the story of your career path.
- Result – Tell the story of why here and why now (why you’d be a perfect fit for the firm).
Be sure to mention your work history, school accomplishments, and what’s really driving you to pursue this position. Public accounting is a rewarding yet challenging career, so it’s important to show you have experience with overcoming sticky situations.
A key element of preparing for an interview is researching the firm. Not only can it motivate you for the interview but also it can make you appear more polished and lead to better conversations and questions. It’s also a way to show your interviewer you value their time and are invested in the process.
When we say “research,” we’re talking more than a Google search. Go one step further and check out the firm’s profiles on platforms such as Glassdoor, Greenhouse, and LinkedIn. Of course, be sure to also check out the firm’s website.
Some things to research:
- Do the firm’s values and culture truly align with what’s important to you?
- If you’re interested in professional development, does the firm provide this?
- If a flexible work schedule is important to you, does the firm allow for one?
Your interviewer wants to know that you’re taking your career seriously and truly interested in the firm. One way to demonstrate this is to ask questions. And if your interviewer asks “what other questions do you have?” don’t sit in silence or say “oh, nothing.” Have a follow-up question in mind!
Here are some engaging questions you could ask:
- What do you enjoy most about working here?
- What do you enjoy most about working in public accounting?
- What new projects have you been involved with this past year?
- Can you tell me more about the company’s culture?
- What can I expect in my first year at the firm?
- What are some helpful hints that will come in handy during my first year?
- What does success in this role look like, and how will it be measured?
- What gets you excited to come to work every day?
- Can you tell me more about X aspect of the firm?
- Can you clarify what you meant when you mentioned X earlier?
Asking even a few of these questions is likely to impress your interviewer. At JAK + Co., we know that an interview is an investment of time and energy. We want to learn about our candidates, and we want our candidates to learn about us.
Barring any time constraints, we are happy and eager to answer any questions a candidate has. We want to make sure any individual who interviews with us walks away with an understanding of what makes JAK + Co. a great place to work.
Get ready to grow
More than anything else, an interview is a chance for you to learn more about yourself, the accounting industry, and a firm in which you’re interested. Approaching the interview as an opportunity to learn and grow can help you ask the right questions and even calm your nerves. Remember that an interview is a two-way street—the firm is interested in working with you, too!
The best interviews we’ve experienced at JAK + Co. are the ones that are conversational and enthusiastic. We want our candidates to feel excited about what we do and who we are, so we all have a chance to shine.
If you’d like to get to know our firm, head to our careers page and be sure to follow us on social media (links in the footer of our website). To learn more about what a career at JAK + Co. could look like for you, give us a call anytime.