6 Things Employers Want to Hear in an Accounting Interview

accounting interview

Updated September 19, 2023 – An accounting interview can be a stressful affair. After all, you have a short window of time to make a great impression and separate yourself from the other candidates. Here are 6 things you can say in an accounting interview that will have employers sitting up and taking notice.

“I Am Coachable”
In a study by Leadership IQ, the single most important trait that determined the success of a new hire was coachability. Specifically, “23% of new hires failed because they could not accept feedback.” In your accounting interview, make sure to talk about your ability to accept and implement feedback from bosses, colleagues and clients. Bonus points for connecting this willingness to improved performance and positive company outcomes.


“In my previous role at XYZ Co., I initially struggled with adapting to a new financial software. My supervisor offered detailed feedback and rather than resisting, I sought out extra training. Within a month, I not only mastered the software but created a guide for other team members.”

This shows your adaptability and eagerness to grow, and that you don’t shy away from feedback but rather use it as a ladder to ascend.

“I Learned”
Employers are interested in how you well you learn from your mistakes and how adaptable you are. In an accounting interview, it’s likely that you’ll want to speak to your ability to perform with accuracy, but it’s also honourable to speak to what you’ve learned by making mistakes. Everybody makes them, and employers are interested in knowing how you deal with them. They also want to see that you’re invested in your professional growth. People who embrace lifelong learning also prize continuous improvement – a trait employers value.


“At OPQ Company, I once misinterpreted a data entry which slightly skewed our quarterly report. Once I realized the mistake, I immediately rectified the error, owned up to it, and introduced a double-check mechanism. That mistake taught me vigilance and introduced a new protocol the entire team could use to prevent it from happening again.”

Owning up to errors and turning them into growth opportunities highlights your resilience and problem-solving skills.

“I Was Pleased With the Outcome”
Anyone can speak about their responsibilities and duties. What employers are really looking for, specifically in an accounting interview, is the results. Did you help improve month-end close times? Have you supported other process improvements? Craft success stories around a challenge you faced, how you managed it and the benefits that resulted. In an accounting interview, having specific numbers to back up what you’re saying is a tremendous benefit.


“During my tenure at LMN Co., our team faced delays in the reconciliation process. I developed a streamlined approach using our advanced reconciliation tool and reduced our closing time by 40%.”

When you can effectively tell tangible success stories with quantifiable metrics in an accounting interview, it helps you stand out as a result-oriented candidate.

“With Your Organization”
Show that you’ve researched the organization. Connect your skills and accomplishments to the company’s goals. Speak to the organization’s core values and mission. If it’s evident that you’ve already bought in, you make it easier for the employer to do the same.


“I’ve noticed ABC Corp. has an emphasis on sustainable finance. With my background in green financing and having led a sustainability project in my previous role, I can contribute to and champion this vision here.”

Relating your unique skills to the company’s ethos and growth objectives showcases your alignment and dedication.

“In the Future”
Employers are interested in hearing about purposeful career choices. Talk about how the organization is one you could grow with. Speak about where you see yourself in 3 or 5 years. What is it about the job that make sense for you at this stage of your career?


“Joining your esteemed company isn’t just a job change for me. I see it as a place where I can apply my expertise in accounting, especially as you expand into new markets. Five years down the line, I can see myself spearheading projects, mentoring my team, and contributing to our shared success story.”

In your accounting interview, discussing a shared future emphasizes commitment and your enthusiasm to be a long-term asset.

“I Am Highly Motivated”
We know from this research that employers and hiring managers want employees who are highly motivated. Motivation refers to the employee’s willingness to engage in dedicated hard work. Speak about a time that you went the extra mile to get a job done well, overcoming tight timelines or other challenges in the process.


“During a crucial year-end at XYZ Co., our team lead fell ill. The pressure was on, but I volunteered to step in, coordinating multiple departments and working late nights. We not only met our deadline but also received commendation for the accuracy and comprehensiveness of our reporting.”

Narratives of dedication, leadership, and initiative are testaments to your unwavering commitment.

Read: Interested in the kinds of questions that employers might ask to assess your motivation? Read “How to Assess Motivation in a Finance Interview.

Key Takeaways
In an accounting interview you want to make the best possible impression that you can. This means speaking to the results you achieved, not just the duties you performed. Make sure to communicate that you’re making a purposeful career choice. Demonstrate that you feel you can bring value to the role and the organization. Speak to your coachability, willingness to learn and high level of motivation. Maximize your chances of being the candidate of choice by ensuring that you speak to the areas that employers are interested in hearing about.

Your Next Step
No one should walk the job search or hiring road alone. At Clarity, we want to help you achieve success. Contact us today to take control of your career, or to partner with us to hire better.

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