The interview process is arguably the most important stage of securing a job in audit. Once a candidate has sold him or herself on paper, it is important that the black and white transfers to real life otherwise it is unlikely that you are going to close the deal.
More and more audit candidates, particularly graduates fresh from completing university, are approaching interviews with the wrong attitude, therefore providing the wrong answers to their potential employers’ questions. By understanding what not to do, once complacent audit candidates can turn their interview tactics around and show themselves in the best light in order to stake their claim on all audit job opportunities that cross their paths.
It is important to remember that first impressions count. So be organised, be on time and present yourself smartly. A firm handshake, a smile and eye contact is the first unspoken test your interviewer has set you, so make sure you pass it with flying colours.
Don’t be vague about your vision for your career; give clear ideas about your job expectations and where you see yourself going. You want your potential employer to be able to picture you working at their business, and it’s your responsibility to help them see this.
Don’t avoid questions regarding career achievements.
Remember to place just as much importance on personality questions, such as ones about your strengths and weaknesses as you would do with questions relating to the role and the business. In particular, when it comes to weaknesses don’t reveal the wrong ones. The red flag will instantly go up for employers if they hear you have a tendency for forgetfulness, or that you lack confidence when it comes to dealing with important stakeholders.
Businesses are losing patience with the younger generations’ tendency for hopping from one job to another. Candidates with too many short-term roles littering their CVs are unlikely to win over hiring managers and employers, especially if the reason for moving can’t be explained. Another red flag is signalled when a candidate repeats the same reasons for their job-hopping as it says to employers that you are unable to make sound career decisions.
On that note, “family reasons” cannot be thrown out as a blanket cover for why you’ve left roles; it is overused and holds no credibility with employers.
Money is also never the reason for changing audit jobs. If you give this reason in an audit interview, the proverbial door will close on that opportunity.
In this technological age it helps for you to be au fait with smart phones, social media and social networking, however your interview is not the place for a physical demonstration. Answering your phone during an interview is an obvious no-no but so is leaving your phone on vibrate, as the constant buzz of texts or emails is equally distracting and disrespectful. Value your interviewer’s time and it will prove invaluable.
When asked why you want the job don’t mention a recruiter or headhunter as being part of the process as it may call into question issues of loyalty if your potential employer believes you can be bought or lured by a better offer.
Don’t speak negatively about your current boss or job as it will reflect poorly on the type of employee you are. Instead be positive and draw focus onto the things you’ve learnt from challenging situations, tying them into the audit role you are interviewing for.
Last but not least, throughout the interview your aim is not to uncover what the firm can offer you but what you can offer the firm.