Tips for Accountants: How to Interview a Potential Employer

Look before you leap. Timely advice when you’re in an interview.

As much as your employer is assessing your potential value, you need to determine if the role and company are a fit for who you are and where you want to go.

Here are some areas to explore during your accounting interview before you sign on the dotted line.

The Role
As accountants we must remember that all titles are not created equally. What you did in past roles may not match the expectations of your prospective employer. Dig down into the details of the position and ask questions about how your department fits into the overall flow of the company. You might find that the answers reveal a very different approach than what you’re used to. If this makes you excited for the new role, great. If it fills you with trepidation, ask yourself why.

The Deliverables
Job descriptions can be vague when it comes to outlining specific deliverables for a role. Asking questions like, “What would you see as a quick win for this position in the first 3 months,” or “How would you define success at the 6-month mark” demonstrates a genuine interest in delivering for the organization and also helps you understand if their expectations are reasonable.

The Future
While the role may be a fit in the short term, you need to determine how the position might grow in the future. Are there leadership and mentoring programs in place to support your professional development aspirations? Is the company going in a direction that makes sense for your career trajectory? While your research prior to the interview will help you answer some of these questions, nothing replaces hearing it directly from the source.

Before you commit to taking a new position, understand that asking questions focused on the role’s current and future demands doesn’t make an employer concerned, rather it shows engagement and buy-in. It also affords you the opportunity to decide if the company’s values and plans are fit for your goals – great information when you are readying to take the next step in your career.