MNCPA Career Workshop Series
1. General Outlook for Finance & Accounting Professionals
2. Importance of First Impressions
3. The Interview
a. Documented Questions
b. Specifically Relevant Skills
c. Role Play
5. Sampling of Questions to be Prepared to Answer
b. Other Commonly Asked Questions
6. Your Questions
a. General samples
b. The LAST Question
7. Thank You Note/Email
Finance & Accounting General Job Market
“Despite the current recession, demand for accountants remains strong.
Although a number of industries are cutting back, the accounting industry
projects jobs to maintain at their current rate or possibly increase.”
– A.E. Feldman
“Within Corporate America, demand for accounting and finance talent is
far ahead of supply.” – Todd Monti, Heidrick & Struggles
“Finance and accounting job seekers who look to current areas of
opportunity are likely to be in a better position to weather today's
economic environment.“ – The Mergis Group
Importance of First Impressions
What people see first is what they remember and how they will treat you.
• Face-to-face impressions are formed within 4-6 minutes
• Telephone impressions: 45 seconds
• Job interview: 30 seconds
• Impressions are formed by:
non-verbal cues ………..55% of impression
words and content……….7%
Project confidence. People “buy” people – if they like you and have
confidence in you they will buy what you’re selling/saying.
• Dress professionally
• Be enthusiastic and energetic
• Smile (be friendly and personable)
• Be a “walking logo” (be unique)
Importance of First Impressions
Focus on others in the conversation.
• Gain information about them.
• Don’t talk only about yourself.
• Listen 70% of the time, talk 30%.
• Don’t be an anxious listener, jumping in with your view or story before the other
person is finished talking.
• Keep good eye contact when listening. Drop eye contact momentarily when talking.
• Ask follow-up questions rather than starting a new topic. This shows your sincere
interest in what the other person is saying.
• Use person’s name when making a point (don’t overuse it though).
Discover something special about each person; note and comment on it.
• Note things they do well or something they’re concerned about right now.
• Say thank you or express appreciation.
• Remember specifics.
• Support others in doing their best.
A planned, purposeful conversation designed to determine the relative “suitability”
of a job applicant for a specific position.
For the applicant, the interview represents an opportunity to communicate skills,
experiences and qualifications as they relate to the requirements of the position and
the needs of the employer.
The employment interview is also used to gather information about the company,
the work environment and the position for which one is applying.
Goal: To differentiate yourself from other candidates pursuing the opportunity.
The employer has a ”need” that you may be able to meet. It is your goal to identify
that need and demonstrate to the employer in what ways you are the one for the job.
The more you know about the job, the employer and the industry, the better
prepared you will be to target your qualifications. Your task is to match your
qualifications to the job requirements.
1. Documented Questions
a. The Company and Industry
b. The Department
c. The Position
2. Specifically Relevant Skills
a. Resume/Work History
b. Position Description
c. Relevant Skills Outline
3. Role Play
a. Types of Interviews
b. Star Techniques
Behavioral Interview Questions
1. Describe a situation in which you were able to use persuasion to convince someone
to see things your way.
2. Provide a specific example of a time when you set a goal and achieved it.
3. Provide a specific example of a time when you had to conform to a policy with which
you did not agree.
4. Tell me about time when you faced conflicting priorities and how you handled this.
5. Tell me about a risk you took recently. (Make it a business risk that led to rewards.)
6. Tell me about a difficult decision you made in the last year.
Other Commonly Asked Interview Questions
1. Tell me about yourself.
2. What is the last change or improvement you made at your company?
3. What were your major responsibilities at your last job?
4. What did you like best/least about your last position?
5. Why do you want to work for us?
6. Why should we hire you?
Just ask 3-4 questions; pick them with care. Ask about what you really want to know.
This is your chance to gather information.
Why is this position open?
How often has it been filled in the past five years? What were the main reasons?
What would you like done differently by the next person who fills this position?
What are some of the objectives you would like to see accomplished in this job?
What is most pressing? What would you like to have done in the next 3 months?
What are some of the long-term objectives you would like to see completed?
What type of support does this position receive in terms of people, finances, etc?
What freedom would I have in determining my own work objectives, deadlines, and methods of
What advancement opportunities are available for the person who is successful in this position, and
within what time frame?
What significant changes do you see in the near future?
How is one evaluated in this position?
The LAST Question
Thank You Note/Email
If not volunteered, ask for the business cards from those involved
in the interview.
Send a Thank You note or email.
Summarize your level of interest and the main points of relevance you bring to
900 2nd Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55402
PH: 612.339.3690 (ext. 215)