How to Ace your Job Interview!
The interview is your first chance to make a good impression on your potential employer. It is imperative that you do your homework and know your skills and how they relate to the position. Put your best foot forward! Even if you hate talking about yourself, you can be successful in the interview and land the job of your dreams!
There are many things that you can do to be prepared This guide does not cover everything, so remember to follow your instincts! “We want nothing more than for you to be successful. Let’s get started!
“The dictionary is the only time success comes before work” -Vince Lombardi
Do your homework on the company.
What do you know about the company you are interviewing with? Companies want people who are excited to work with them. Show them that you know who they are and what they are about. Be prepared to answer why you want to work with them. Don’t be afraid to say, “In doing my research for the interview, I learned…”
Good sources of information include:
- The company’s website
- Google News and Google search
- If the company is public, look at the annual report and 10-K
- The company’s social media accounts and what other users are saying about them
- Check out the company’s LinkedIn page and the profile of the person who is interviewing you
Know yourself and stick to the facts.
An interview is a conversation between two people where one describes the circumstances of a need and the other person is trying to explain why their skills are the right ones to fill that need You don’t have to be the best natural communicator to ace the interview. Think about what you have done in recent positions and communicate the facts.
Although you may have worked on a team, your new employer is hiring only YOU. This means, in the interview you want to answer with “I”. “I did this,” “I changed that,” and “I was responsible for…”
- If you have a position description make sure you know what it says and be able to match your prior skills to what the position responsibilities and requirements are.
- Don’t bring up if you don’t meet a certain qualification. The hiring manager can see that for themselves. Be prepared to talk about it, but let them point it out.
- Know your accomplishments. What process did you improve? (You only need to tweak the wheel, not re-create it)
- Remember back to when you started your last positions? How did you learn? How soon were you successful?
- You will want to say “I”, you aren’t bragging, just stating the facts.
- Have specific examples of times where you’ve gone above and beyond.
- Know your greatest strengths and be ready to give examples of how these strengths will benefit the company.
- Understand your biggest weaknesses and spin them into something positive. Show how you’ve overcome them.
- Think about what you have to offer, and why they need YOU and not someone else.
- You’ve worked hard to get to where you are, so don’t sell yourself short! Focus on the FACTS!
“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom” -Aristotle
Put your best foot forward.
- Arrive 5 to 10 minutes early to the interview. If you arrive prior to 15 minutes to the interview, wait outside. You don’t want to inconvenience the hiring manager. (If the interview is virtual, please log on 5-10 minutes early in case you need to make adjustments or updates.)
- Greet the interviewer by his/her first name.
- Follow the lead of the person interviewing you.
- Make sure you first focus on what you can do for them and then focus on what they can do for you.
- Always represent yourself honestly.
- Don’t show your nervous habits.
- Don’t chew gum.
- Make sure to turn off your cell phone.
- Smile and be yourself!
- Do not answer questions with a simple “yes” or “no”. Add examples of situations.
- Be very specific when discussing your answers. Remember “intermediate” can mean different things to different people.
- Stress your achievements!
- Give short concise answers, don’t ramble on and repeat yourself.
- Research the company and be prepared with questions to ask them.
- Do not make negative remarks about previous or present employers.
- Do not concern yourself with salary, commission, bonuses or vacation on the initial interview.
- After the interview make sure to let them know that you are interested in the position. You could say something along the lines of … “I’m very interested in your company. I am confident I can do an excellent job. How soon may I start?”
“You never get a second chance to make a first impression” -Will Rogers
Questions, questions, and MORE questions!
We are still NOT talking about questions you will be asking your potential employer. You are still convincing the hiring manager that you are the one for the job!
You need to arm yourself with answers with everything from the basic interview questions to more advanced and difficult questions. Some questions are designed to give the interviewer basic information about your skill set but some are there to discover how you will react under pressure and unfamiliar territory. Companies use behavioral interview questions, informational questions, stress questions, and regular conversations to find out more about a candidate. Being familiar with a range of questions will give you the opportunity to answer with confidence.
Common interview questions to be prepared for:
- Tell me about yourself.
- What do you look for in a job?
- What is the difference between a good position and an excellent one?
- Why are you leaving your current position (and why have you left prior positions)?
- Why should we hire you?
- Tell me about a time you had to work under pressure.
- Tell me your greatest accomplishment in your present or last job? Your career? How did you achieve them?
- Tell me about a challenge you had to overcome?
- Tell me about a time you have disagreed with your boss or your co-worker? How did you handle that?
- Tell me about a time where you have worked on a team and you had to have others “buy” into your thinking.
- Tell me about a time you had multiple deadlines and how you organized your priorities.
- Tell me about a time you solved a problem.
- What is your biggest strength? Weakness?
- What mistakes have you made in your career? How did you fix them?
- If you could start you career again, what would you do differently?
- What new goals or objectives have you established recently? Why?
- How have you made your current job more efficient?
- What qualities have you liked or disliked in your boss?
- What was the most difficult ethical decision you have had to make? What was the result?
- What features of your previous jobs have you disliked?
- Would you describe a time in which your work was criticized?
- How would you evaluate your present firm?
- What is the worst situation you have faced in your professional life? What happened?
- How do you spend your free time? What would you do if you had more of it?
- What interests you most about the position we have? The least?
- Why did you select our organization to interview?
- Are you a leader? A good manager? Analytical? (Be prepared with examples of each)
- How do you build a team under you?
- How would you describe your own personality?
- Where do you relate best – up one level, down one level, or with your peers?
- What do your subordinates think of you?
- What is your philosophy of management?
- How are you best managed?
Finally! The “What’s in it for me Questions”!
You have done your homework, presented the facts about your background, and you have answered their questions successfully. They like you! Now is your time to find out if this is the right company, hiring manager, and position for you!
Examples of Questions to ask
- Did questions arise from doing your homework on the company? Ask them now.
- What brought you to ABC company? What has kept you here?
- What is the culture of the company?
- How do you expect the company or department to change over the next few years?
- Was the person in the position prior to me successful? What could they have done differently?
- What would a typical day, week, month look like?
- What is your management style?
- At the end of a year, how will I know if I have been successful?
- What is the one thing you need most out of the person you hire?
- What is the most important quality you are looking for in a new hire?
- How quickly will I come up to speed in this role? (This will give you an insight into training without specially asking about it. We don’t recommend asking about training as it can appear that you will not take initiative to learn on your own).
- Are there any challenges facing your department right now?
Other items of interest
Phone etiquette tips to follow when you start looking for a job:
- Always answer the phone like it is a hiring manager, not a telemarketer.
- What does your ring tone and message say?
- Do you have your voicemail set up?
- ALWAYS answer the phone so you don’t play phone tag. (Is your mom, wife or husband answering the phone? What kind of first impression do they give?)
- Call someone back sooner rather than later. If someone calls regarding setting up an interview, call back as soon as possible. Don’t wait until the next day! They are excited to talk to you, are you excited to talk to them? Show it! If you are working and are unavailable during the day, mention this. Suggest that they text you or email you. (Note, you may consider adding texting to your outgoing VM).
Phone interviews are an important first step in the interviewing process. This is your first contact with the company, so it’s important to give a positive first impression.
- Make sure you are in a quiet place where you can talk openly
- Do NOT do a phone interview while driving
- Stand or sit still
- Test the area in advance and make sure you have strong reception
- Speak with the phone to your mouth (not out in the air or at your chin)
- Do not interrupt your conversation to answer a call. Should a call come through and there is a distinctive break in the conversation, either ignore it, or make light of the situation.
- Be fully prepared with your notes about the position and yourself (resume). It may be a phone interview, but if you don’t take it seriously, you may never get to the next step!
Companies are starting the process off with many different types of tests. Personality tests, accounting tests, problem solving tests, and case studies are just a few examples. Be sure to take the tests sooner rather than later. The companies have these procedures for a reason, and you want to come out on top.
We are so glad you have chosen us to go on this journey with you!
Let us know if you have any questions. Good Luck!
For a complete list of current openings check out our jobs page!
About The Resource Link
For almost two decades, The Resource Link has strategically placed Accounting & Finance talent with some of the best companies in Arizona! We consult with our hiring managers and candidates to dive into the best solutions and outcomes and we provide advice and feedback along the way. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions or just pick up the phone! We would love to hear from you to help you build the best team or find the best career.
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