No matter what level of accounting job you are applying for, every accountant should be fully prepared to answer the below questions. Preparation is key here and you should have thoroughly researched the company you are applying for before you arrive for your interview. This can mean the difference between landing your dream role or being beaten to the post. Accountants are increasingly being relied upon to not just fulfill the role of number crunching but to also have strategic insight into the future of a business and steer it safely through whatever financial challenges it may face.

  1. What experience do you have in this field?
    • A common question in any interview. This is the time that you should highlight any relevant experience to the interviewer. You should try to be as specific as possible here and ensure that your examples are positive, showcasing the skills and attributes that will make you the ideal candidate for the position.
  2. What is your biggest weakness?
    • Interviewees often make the mistake of listing a weakness that is actually a strength such as “I struggle to say no and take on too many projects”. What you will benefit more from doing is finding something small that you would like to work on and what you are doing to strengthen this area. For example, it could be that you aren’t as confident giving presentations as you would like to be, but you are making an effort to get more experience or training in this area.
  3. Why should we hire you?
    • At this stage, you should have fully researched the company and the position you are applying for and be able to link this together with your skills and experience. Company culture should also factor in your answer as well as giving various examples of what makes you the best candidate. If you feel that it is not your skills and experience that will set you apart but your personal qualities such as motivation or passion, really showcase these in your interview and demonstrate how you have displayed them in your previous positions.
  4. Give us three clients that you have worked with that were a) your biggest, b) your most challenging and c) your most enjoyable.
    • This is a great opportunity for you to establish the breadth of your experience and skills. If you are capable of talking in detail about some of the challenges you overcame when handling certain projects, you will have a good chance of impressing your interviewer. They will also want to hear what you enjoy most about your job – try and provide specific examples of projects/clients that you have particularly enjoyed and what you liked about them. Show your prospective employer what you are passionate about.
  5. Based on what you know of our business, what would you consider to be our major challenges?
    • Providing you have thoroughly researched the business, you should have also considered what financial challenges that business may be facing and in what way you would react to them. This could be anything from future trends in its industry to possible staff shortages. This provides you with the chance to place yourself ahead of other candidates in communicating to your interviewer exactly how you would help the business if hired.
  6. Accountants have a very important role to play in a team. What have you done in prior roles that could strengthen our team?
    • The interviewer wants to know whether you are a team player. In any business, it is the achievements of the team that’s ensures success and not the individual. Furthermore, the finance department is a vital part of any business and it is crucial that it work seamlessly with the wider company. Try to give examples of where you have not only worked well in a team but made it stronger or helped it to achieve more.