Preparing for an accountancy job interview can be a stressful and daunting experience. Regardless of how comprehensive one’s CV is or how glowing one’s professional recommendations are, the opportunity to be seen and heard by a prospective employer can mean the difference between being hired or being passed over. Properly and thoroughly preparing for a recruitment interview is the most important step that a person can make toward securing your next step in your accountancy career and the best way to succeed is to break the interview down into segments and move through these steps one by one. This will ensure that a prospective recruit has the best possible foundation for a successful job interview.

Preparing a portfolio for accountancy job interviews

There are many different types of accountancy jobs and finance jobs and the skills that will be needed for each one may be very specific. Just like the creative disciplines of marketing and design, a growing trend is to bring a 'portfolio of work' with you. Like an extended CV this is a larger folder where prospective recruits can run through a portfolio of  case studies. Obviously for legal reasons these samples need to keep to confidentiality rules. But you can certainly talk about Audit Firm A, with it's 10million T/O and the work you achieved there.

The CV, or resume, is also an important part of the portfolio. The CV is not only a place to list education and experience, but also to illustrate various relevant skills that would be necessary and useful in the position. Be prepared to explain any employment gaps in an honest and positive way.

While a covering email may have already been included with the initial application, it is a good idea to bring a well-written covering letter to accompany the CV. This will make you stand out just that little bit more.

"make sure that the content of your CV is true and accurate and be sure to review it before the interview and refresh your memory"

At an accountancy job interview, the interviewer will likely ask questions that assess the level of core skills and knowledge that the prospective recruit has in order to see if they meet the specifications of the job. Be prepared to answer questions about basic accounting principles and practices; auditing; analysis of financial data; accounting software applications; and any relevant financial codes, laws and regulations.

Typically, an accountancy recruitment interviewer will ask questions after briefly reviewing the CV, so the line of questions will probably refer to the content of the resume. Make sure that the content of your CV is true and accurate and be sure to review it before the interview and refresh your memory.

Other types of questions that may be asked relate to organisation, task monitoring, problem analysis assessment, and decision-making and judgement issues. Behavioural interview questions may also be asked, in order to learn what kinds of actions and reactions the candidate may take when faced with specific problems or situations in the workplace.

Research possible lines of questioning online and try to anticipate as many different types of questions as possible, then prepare thoughtful and interesting answers for those questions before the interview. Taking the time to practice answering the questions and follow-ups will help make the real process less stressful.