Interviews are stressful, especially when you aren’t prepared and don’t feel confident about the interview process itself.

Accounting and taxation is a skilled profession that requires accuracy and attention to detail. So, when it comes to the interview process, employers take various steps to make sure that they are hiring the ideal candidate for the job. To help you secure your accounting job or a job as a tax professional during the interview process, you have to prepare yourself by doing the following:

 

Before the interview:

  1. Make sure you review the position you are applying for in detail, so that you are familiar with all the necessary skills and expertise needed for the position.
  2. Remember that it is always better to overdress than to underdress.
    • For men: Keep it simple and classy with a shirt and formal pants, and ensure that your attire is clean and ironed.
    • For women: Make sure that you wear professional attire, that your hair is brushed, and that your nails are neatly trimmed.
  3. Arrive at least 15 minutes before the interview starts, so that you can complete any required administrative tasks, such as filling in forms.
  4. Switch your cell phone off before the interview starts.

 

During the interview:

  • You may have to answer one or two questions about your personality, personal hobbies, and your interest in accounting or taxation , so that the employer can get to know you a bit better. Typical interview questions in this category include:
    • “Why do you want to work in accounting/taxation?”  
    • “What is your definition of ‘ethical behaviour’?”
    • “How do you prioritise your work to ensure you meet your deadlines?”
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  • You have to be prepared to answer technical accounting or tax questions that are aimed at testing your knowledge and application skills. In an interview for a relatively junior position, you could be asked questions similar to the following:
    • Tell us about an invoice discrepancy you have discovered and how you resolved it?”
      To answer this question effectively, you will firstly have to state the discrepancy. You will then have to explain why you thought this was a serious matter, and then state what you did to resolve this issue.
    • What steps do you usually take before you approve an invoice for payment?”
      This question assesses your understanding of the invoice verification process. To answer this question, mention that you would record the process in the notebook and check to see if the received goods are of a satisfactory standard.
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  • You are also going to be asked questions to test how well you perform under pressure. So be prepared to answer questions like these:
    • “Please give us an example of when you were unable to complete a task because you didn’t have adequate information to reach a good decision.”
      The best way to answer a question like this is to explain that you wouldn’t settle for a solution that isn’t optimum. If you don’t have a suitable example from your previous work experience, try to think of one that you may have encountered in your studies.
    • “Please describe one tough situation you found yourself in with a co-worker or manager, and tell us how you handled that particular situation.”
      Your answer should show how you are able to work under stress and how you don’t crack under pressure. It should also illustrate your interpersonal skills.

 

These tips will help you once you get to the interview stage. But before you will be able to secure interviews for jobs in the accounting industry, you have to have the necessary qualifications.

If you don’t yet have an accounting or tax qualification, and you are interested in studying towards one, click here.

 

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