Highly influential: interviews – the highs and lows

Highly influential: interviews - the highs and lows

The interview process is something that can make even the steadiest of nerves tremble like jelly

interview

Yet we all have to endure it: whether a butcher, baker or contestant on the
fifth series of The Apprentice – and for those recently qualified, you
are going to have to go through it if you want that job.

Why is it though that so many accountants fail at the first hurdle? Time and
time again, the same mistakes are made: ill-prepared for questions (‘Why do you
want to work here?’ – ‘I live close’); arriving late (‘Who would have thought
Canary Wharf would be so hard to find?’); and no understanding of the company
(‘So Sam, what do you know about us?’ – ‘You’re an accountancy firm’).

Regardless of how technically brilliant you are, you will need to come across
as someone with a whole package of skills to make an impression. Too often
accountants fail to acknowledge that although a good CV and exams play their
part, how you present yourself at interview can mean the difference between
being shown your new desk and being shown the door.

It is often said that at a first meeting, your interviewer will form an
impression of you within 15 seconds – so no second chances. Unfortunately,
nerves often creep in during the interview. Remember to relax and try to engage
in conversation with whoever is interviewing you. The aim should be for a
relaxed, informal dialogue, not a simple question and answer session. They
simply want to find out if they can work with you, so don’t be afraid of showing
a bit of personality.

As you enter, make immediate eye contact with your interviewer(s), smile and
shake hands firmly.

The answers you give should be kept short and to the point, particularly on
the topics on which you are unsure.

A pause before you respond also helps the flow as it gives you the chance to
prepare an answer and prevents you interrupting the interviewer. Don’t be afraid
of silences – up to five seconds is fine. This will stop you rambling on and
keep your flow of answers controlled.

If you don’t know the answer to something, it is more powerful to say ‘I
don’t know’ and then offer a perspective rather than rambling on. Look the
interviewer in the eye and then holding the pause shows honesty and considerable
strength of character.

With all this in hand, you will be in a stronger position to climb the next
rung of the ladder. Good luck.

Jack Downton is MD of
The
Influence Business

Whitepaper

The Future of Finance is in the CFO's Hands

Business The Future of Finance is in the CFO's Hands

4m
Save a Week a Month Consolidating Accounts

Accounting Software Save a Week a Month Consolidating Accounts

5m
Mitigating Risk Through Internal Control

Legal Mitigating Risk Through Internal Control

6m
Could tax season have run more efficiently?

Corporate Tax Could tax season have run more efficiently?

6m

Related Articles

PwC accountant caught with 1700 upskirting images on phone

Accounting Firms PwC accountant caught with 1700 upskirting images on phone

1m Chris Jewers
RSM’s China expansion to result in 40% growth

Accounting Firms RSM’s China expansion to result in 40% growth

1m Chris Jewers
BDO appoints two new advisory partners

Accounting Firms BDO appoints two new advisory partners

1m Chris Jewers
FRC audit inspection finds no improvement on last year

Accounting Firms FRC audit inspection finds no improvement on last year

1m Chris Jewers
Rise of integrated SME ‘cockpit’ means accountants must evolve fast

Accounting Firms Rise of integrated SME ‘cockpit’ means accountants must evolve fast

1m Louis Carbonnier, Co-CEO and co-founder at Hokodo
Will accountants still be with us in 2030?

Accounting Firms Will accountants still be with us in 2030?

2m Beth McLoughlin, Managing Editor
Accounting is falling behind other professional services - here's how it can catch up

Accounting Firms Accounting is falling behind other professional services - here's how it can catch up

2m Tim Wakeford, VP financials product strategy
Is this all we can aspire to as a profession?

Accounting Firms Is this all we can aspire to as a profession?

2m James Poyser