So, you’re a fresh graduate in the field of accounting and finance and you’d like to get some experience to put on your resume and grow your professional network? That’s great! An internship can be a great place to start. But, what should you expect if you’ve never attended an interview before? And, how can you prepare? We’ve got you covered! We asked Marlene Raddino, Training Manager at New Direction Training, who takes accounting interns regularly, and here’s what she says:
“I don’t focus as much on the accounting questions, actually. I can get a basic idea from their resume. They could be an excellent, advanced student, but if they have a poor attitude, then they won’t learn much. For interns, I’m far more interested in their willingness to learn from the team.”
Marlene also said she asks these questions in nearly every interview:
- Can you identify your strengths and weaknesses?
- How do you work in a team?
- Have you ever worked in an office environment before? How did you find it?
- What’s your workflow like? How do you manage it?
How do you feel about asking for help when you don’t know something?
Marlene also asks about different scenarios that might come up in the office, such as what you might do if you realised you made a mistake or had to deal with a difficult customer, how you relate to coworkers, etc.
What we hear more and more from employers, is that interviews are largely behavioural. The employer wants to see that you can conduct yourself as a professional, process information easily, have a good work ethic, and that you will fit in with their team. While it’s important to present yourself as a professional, make sure you can back up your technical skills described on your resume as well, and make it clear that you’re willing to learn!
Some common ways employers will assess your technical skills are:
✓ Employment assessments (in some cases sent via email prior to the interview). These could be tests to determine how well you know how to use programs such as Excel or Xero.
✓ Skills assessments at the interview. Some of our clients have candidates take an accounting knowledge test.
✓ Questions about your accounting coursework or background
Check out our other articles to find more ways to prepare yourself for your interview and more as part of our job readiness series!