Candidates for accounting jobs in and around St. Louis and Milwaukee are in growing demand. Yet, some fail to make it past the initial interview process because they are simply unprepared. Candidates are always encouraged to learn as much about a prospective company as possible before interviewing with them. Some things that should be researched include the leadership team, the financial outlook of the company, and the company’s recent news or achievements. Then, it’s time to focus on making a positive first impression during the interview by arriving on time, dressing appropriately, and maintaining a professional demeanor.
During the Interview
Interviewees should always try to maintain a 50/50 balance between talking and listening. One thing that candidates tend to forget is that interviews can also be uncomfortable for hiring managers. Don’t oversell yourself by dominating the entire conversation. Also, be aware of body language. Maintain good posture, lean forward slightly to indicate interest, smile and maintain eye contact. With any open-ended question, reframe it to understand what specifically the interviewer would like you to cover. For instance, if the prompt is “tell me about yourself,” your response could be, “I’d love to! Is there a specific area where you’d like me to start”? If you are even slightly unsure about a specific question, or need time to formulate and process your response, ask for clarification: “Can you be more specific? I want to be sure I respond accurately to what you are asking.”
Things to Avoid
As tempting as it can be, a common mistake made by candidates is when they speak negatively about their current or past jobs, bosses, or working environments. It’s best to remain professional because it could be what separates your character from another leading candidate. Then, it’s best to refrain from asking questions about or sharing information regarding current or expected compensation if they don’t bring it up first.
Unless you are absolutely certain you would not like to move forward in the interview process, inquire about the next steps. Ask how they perceive you fitting in to the organization and if there are any areas that haven’t been covered that are important to the hiring decision. Conclude the interview with a response similar to this: “I like what I have heard today and am very interested in moving forward. Before I leave, are there any more questions about my background or qualifications that I can answer or clarify for you to better assess my fit for this role and within your team”?
After the Interview
Send a “thank you” email or card to each person you met individually, thanking them for their time and re-communicating your interest. Cite specifics from the meeting and cover any areas further you think may need explanation. These preparatory steps will help ensure the best possible outcome for your job interview.
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