Stress Interview

Less Stress, More Success: Coping in a “Stress Interview”

Stress Interview
Stress is an inevitable part of the job interview process, but what happens when a candidate’s stress tolerance is pushed too far?

An example of this occurred in the UK, as reported by the BBC. A young woman had interviewed with a tech firm, where she says she was degraded and humiliated about everything from her music taste to her parents’ marriage during what is referred to as the “stress interview.” She later shared her experience on Twitter where her post went viral.

Interviews generally consist of a mix of the following types of questions:

  1. General e.g. Tell me about yourself
  2. Behavioural e.g. Describe a time when you had to explain a complex accounting issue to someone without an accounting background. How did you help your audience understand the situation?
  3. Technical e.g. I buy a piece of equipment, walk me through the impact on the 3 financial statements.

While the UK example is an extreme case, the “stress test” is additional interview technique used to assess how applicants deal with pressure by taking them out of their comfort zone of expected questions and answers. An innocent question like, “Tell me about the recent ERP implementation you were involved with” could be morphed into more aggressive questioning such as, “Sounds like your ERP implementation was a nightmare - what did you do wrong?". Asking “How do you handle stress?” can be very difficult from inducing real levels of stress in the moment to gauge how the candidate responds under pressure. Other ways that interviewers may create stress is by seeming disinterested in the candidate and/or purposefully interrupting them while they are providing an answer.

Stressful workplace situations are inevitable due to a number of factors, such as tight deadlines, addressing errors in financial reporting, conflicts among team members, or other root causes. Attempts to evaluate how a candidate responds under pressure during the interview process may be beneficial for jobs that are high stress by nature; however, it is the responsibility of the employer to always treat their candidates with respect and ensure that they have a positive overall recruitment experience.

What if you find yourself in the candidate seat during a high stress interview, whether it is intentionally planned or not? According to The Balance Careers and Wisestep, here are some tactics you can employ to keep your composure and ace the interview:

  • Carefully listen and understand the questions before you attempt to provide an answer. It is totally acceptable, and often expected of you, to ask clarifying questions or for more details. This will also buy yourself some time on how to respond.
  • If you’re presented with a brainteaser such as “How many rats are there in Toronto”, focus on your methodology to solving the problem rather than attempting to come up with a definitive, correct answer. You can state some assumptions if needed to guide you through the process.
  • Leave emotion out of it and refrain from getting offended. Remain calm and professional, while responding to all of the hiring manager’s questions.
  • Prepare in advance how you will speak to handling stress. Identify a couple of examples of stressful work situations from your past and be able to recall how it resulted in a professional development opportunity for you.

Key Takeaways

For employers, help candidates have the best interview experience possible by taking the time to plan out your interview process and only adding the element of a “stress test” if it is appropriate for the role you are hiring for.

For candidates, know that some interviews are intentionally structured to induce stress. Prepare yourself to respond carefully and professionally to all of the interviewer’s questions.

Your Next Step

No one should walk the job search or hiring road alone. At Clarity Recruitment we help others realize their success through a process that marries proprietary technology with unwavering commitment. Contact us today to take control of your career, or to partner with us to hire well.

Clarity Recruitment, connecting exceptional people with remarkable companies.

Happy Interview

Balancing Likeability and Capability in a Job Interview

Happy Interview
Do I want to portray myself as likeable or competent? The answer is “both”, but the way in which you display each trait will affect your success in an interview. Employers value both warmth and competence; these are the first two thin slices that people will judge. They also prioritize (without often realizing they are doing so) those who won’t compete with members of their group/team. 

Consider the following when interviewing:

  • Insight 1: You need to appear competent right from the start. Without conveying competence from the start, you run the risk of arriving at the worst possible interview outcome - being viewed as incompetent.

  • Insight 2: Competence alone may be threatening to others and it is only a part of what you need. Try to find commonalities with your interviews; match their energy, openness, and engagement. This will help them perceive you as warm and similar to them (it will also reduce the chances of you being perceived as a skilled competitor). 

  • Insight 3: This all happens very quickly, so be aware.  

If you want to get hired, emphasize accomplishments and skills, but do it from a position of service and connection. Frame this information in a way that describes how it can serve the company, rather than having it come across as boasting (no one likes a know-it-all).

In the infographic below, you’ll notice there are four categories (see red arrows) that people fall into when it comes to their warmth and competence and how they may be viewed by others.

These quadrants represent the perspectives that individuals take when making preliminary judgments of warmth and competence. Importantly, these preliminary judgments will influence the entirety of your interaction, in part, determining your chances of a successful meeting or interview.

Knowing how initial assessments fits into the bigger picture of judgment and decision-making can help you to understand the most effective ways to interact with those around you. In this case, choose both warmth and competence.

Want to learn more about warmth and competence? Read what Wikipedia has to say on the topic, or dive into, The Dynamics of Warmth and Competence Judgments, and their Outcomes in Organizations.

Your Next Step

No one should walk the job search or hiring road alone. At Clarity Recruitment we help others realize their success through a process that marries proprietary technology with unwavering commitment. Contact us today to take control of your career, or to partner with us to hire well.

Clarity Recruitment, connecting exceptional people with remarkable companies.

Insecure Interviewer

How to Win the Trust of an Insecure Hiring Manager

Insecure Interviewer
Candidates with extensive experience and a strong skill set usually feel quite confident going into a job interview. Those who have worked in industries internationally, held leadership positions, or solved a wide range of problems for various companies certainly are impressive on paper. Really, who wouldn’t want to hire someone like that? But sometimes those credentials and years of experience can actually backfire, particularly when the person interviewing you believes you might one day be a threat to their position in the company. They might make your interview uncomfortable in an attempt to trip you up. So, what can you do to win over an insecure hiring manager during an interview?

Spot the Insecurity

First, learn how to identify when someone feels threatened by your accomplishments. Ask yourself these questions: Does the interviewer act unimpressed by the answers you provide to their questions, even though you have strong examples and can explain things clearly? Does the interviewer continuously interrupt you when you’re trying to speak? Is the interviewer using a tone that comes across as rude, condescending, or belittling? Is the interviewer being aggressive with their questioning techniques or making undermining comments about your resume or answers to their questions?

All of these things can signal someone who is possibly insecure about their own experience and skills, especially in comparison to yours. If you are applying for a position that will report directly to the interviewer, or that will work alongside them, this could be a good indication that they are concerned about how your credentials and experience will make them look. This can certainly put you in a tricky and possibly awkward situation, but there are some ways you can take things into your own hands and show the hiring manager that you are willing to create value to help the team be successful, rather than trying to replace them.

Assess Your Behaviour

Take a step back and look at whether there is anything you are doing that could be making the interviewer uncomfortable or defensive. Are you coming across as though you know more than the interviewer? Are you using language that is too strong? For example, claiming that you are an “expert” can be one way to make an interviewer uncomfortable. Is your tone condescending or bragging? Are you somehow taking over the interview by being pushy or too assertive? Have you made remarks about the company that could be seen as negative?

If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, try to tone things down and make the interviewer feel more relaxed. If you aren’t behaving in a way that might make the interviewer feel threatened, it’s likely they are dealing with personal insecurity. Either way, keep in mind that being respectful, polite, and courteous will go a long way in keeping the interview a positive experience.

Read: 3 Words You Should Never Use to Describe Yourself in a Finance Interview” to learn what language to avoid in an interview.

Know Your Stuff

Researching a company ahead of time, knowing your resume inside and out, and having clear responses to questions will leave you well prepared and ready to take on even the most difficult interviewer. Knowing what you plan to say can be useful if you are suddenly caught off-guard by questions, comments, or behaviours from the interviewer that you weren’t expecting. You will likely gain more respect from the interviewer when they realize that, if you are going to be reporting to them directly, you are interested in supporting them and aren’t easily shaken by their aggressive interviewing techniques.

If you’re able to find out a bit about your interviewer ahead of time, this can also be a useful strategy in making the interview more pleasant, as it can give you some conversation starters to allow the interviewer to speak about themselves and their role a bit. This can create a more positive interaction, briefly taking the focus off yourself and letting the interviewer know that you are genuinely interested in what they have to say.

Read:How to Stand Out in Your Next Accounting Interview” for more tips on making a positive impression.

Take the High Road

If the interviewer is continuing to be impolite or defensive, maintain a positive demeanour by smiling and staying engaged in the interview. If they respond negatively about something you say, try to rephrase it to see if that helps, while also being mindful to keep the tone from being argumentative or confrontational. Do not raise your voice, insult the interviewer, or act unprofessionally. Stick to the information you want to share about your experience and skill set, and keep your cool by avoiding any emotional responses to what the interviewer is saying or doing. By staying calm and collected, you might find that the interviewer will eventually come around and realize that how they’re presenting themselves isn’t very professional.

Key Takeaways

Sometimes all of the great things about your work experience and resume can make an insecure hiring manager act aggressive or defensive.  Interrupting, acting unimpressed, or using belittling or demeaning language are all signs that an interviewer could be feeling insecure. If you assess your own behaviour and determine that there isn’t anything you’re doing to trigger this reaction in them, remember that it might just be that they have a problem with feeling threatened. Preparing in advance of the interview and knowing what you want to say will help you from feeling thrown off-track by any negative behaviour from the interviewer. Keep your cool during the interview, try to build a positive rapport with the hiring manager by framing your responses to show that you want to contribute to and support the hiring manager’s success, and leave them with the best impression possible.

Your Next Step

No one should walk the job search or hiring road alone. At Clarity Recruitment we help others realize their success through a process that marries proprietary technology with unwavering commitment. Contact us today to take control of your career, or to partner with us to hire well.

Clarity Recruitment, connecting exceptional people with remarkable companies.

Rejected Man at Computer

Why You Should Ask for Feedback After Not Getting the Job

Rejected Man at Computer
You walk out of a job interview with a spring in your step, certain that you’ll get an offer in no time. You wait, check your messages, wait some more, and finally it comes – that important call or email from the recruitment agency. But the news they have for you isn’t what you’d been hoping for. The company has decided to go with a different candidate, or they’re not going to hire for that position after all, or they didn’t find what they were looking for and are going to repost the job.

Rejection is never an easy thing to deal with, but rather than focus on how terrible it feels, it could be useful to take this opportunity to find out whether there was anything you could have done differently. Many recruitment agencies will offer feedback after the interview process, but knowing what to ask and when to ask can provide you with some very insightful reflections on your interview etiquette.

Why Candidates Should Ask for Feedback

Getting insight into why you were passed over for the job could help you perform better in future interviews. Weak spots in your resume, issues with the way you carried yourself, lack of experience, missing skills, unimpressive answers to interview questions, coming across as being unprepared, or even just not being a good fit for the company culture are all possible reasons for winding up in the ‘no’ pile. Sometimes we are so caught up in the interview that we fail to realize what others see. You might be surprised to find out that the way you thought you were presenting yourself and the way your interviewers saw you presenting yourself are two very different things.

Read: 4 Ways to Impress a Hiring Manager Before Your Interview

Asking for feedback can also be a signal that you are someone who is open to change and willing to grow. Just because you weren’t right for that particular position doesn’t mean that the potential employer would automatically write you off for another position. Having a conversation with your recruiter about what you could have done better or differently can create a positive impression that could be helpful in building a relationship with them. This way, next time you apply for a role that could be a better fit, your recruiter will be able to act as your trusted advisor when presenting your profile to a hiring manager.

The type of feedback you get from your interviewers will likely depend on a variety of factors, including how far into the interviewing process you progressed (were there multiple rounds?) and whether the company has legal policies in place that prevent them from offering certain types of feedback. However, you may find this useful to know that it is a recruitment company's responsibility to reach out to clients' hiring manager, probe for actual root causes, especially because recruiters need to present a better fit to client in the next round of interviews. Hence, if you want to know more or have concerns about a particular area that wasn’t touched on, you should feel encouraged to ask for additional information in a respectful and professional way.

When you receive feedback through the recruitment agency, listen carefully and try to avoid feeling defensive or personally attacked. Truly consider the information and decide how you can apply this newfound insight to your interview strategies and techniques. If there are skill and knowledge gaps you can fill, take some courses. If you have a tendency to get too nervous during an interview, practice and maybe seek out some professional advice from a career counsellor. If your resume doesn’t stand out enough, read up on what you can do to improve it.

Use the feedback you receive to make yourself a stronger, more confident, and more well-rounded candidate.

Read: What You Need to Know Before Your Next Finance Interview

Why Most Companies Are Open to Providing Feedback

Recruitment agencies make the exchange of information between candidates and companies during the hiring process easier and more efficient. In interviews, candidates are often gathering information about a company just as much as a company is gathering information about them. Most companies are interested in making a good impression during the recruitment process, especially in the age of social media, where information and opinions are often shared openly. Review sites such as Glassdoor, allow both candidates and employees to voice their opinions on their interaction with specific companies. They understand how both positive and negative reviews can influence their brands reputation. Additionally, when an employer provides feedback to a recruitment agency, the more accurately a candidate fit can be found for the role.

Key Takeaways

Finding out that you haven’t been selected for an employment opportunity isn’t a great experience. But seeking feedback from your recruiter allows you to understand some of the reasons behind the decision, and prevents you from racking your brain and coming to your own (possibly inaccurate) conclusions. Be respectful when requesting any additional feedback through the recruitment agency, and be prepared for the potential employer to decline providing more information. Make positive changes using any feedback you do receive.

Your Next Step

No one should walk the job search or hiring road alone. At Clarity Recruitment we help others realize their success through a process that marries proprietary technology with unwavering commitment. Contact us today to take control of your career, or to partner with us to hire well.

Clarity Recruitment, connecting exceptional people with remarkable companies.

An employer looks at a resume during an accounting interview.

Accounting Interview Tips – Why Should We Hire You?

An employer looks at a resume during an accounting interview.
It’s a shame that we can’t offer a free set of knives, or a “but wait there’s more” when a prospective employer asks, “Why should we hire you?” It’s obvious that they’re trying to understand the value we could bring to their organization, but what’s the best approach to answering the question? It is, in a sense, our opportunity to “close the deal.” 

Here’s how to ace your accounting interview and give the employer the kind of information they need to choose you.

Why Interviewers Ask This Question
The interviewer, in essence, is trying to find out the following 4 things:

  • How will you impact the team?
  • Can you add value?
  • Can you support the leader to execute on team and organizational objectives?
  • Do you understand the company’s culture and its mission/vision?

Remember, the question can appear in a variety of forms, not just as “Why should we hire you?” Interviewers may ask, “What would you bring to the position,” or “Why are you the best candidate for this role?” 

Step 1: Areas to Cover
Consider your own skill set and jot down notes covering the following areas:

  • Industry experience
  • Specific technical skills – include systems experience
  • Soft skills – communication, adaptability, decisiveness and relationship building are examples of soft skills
  • Experience performing specific job-related tasks
  • Education or training
  • Core values

Step 2: Accomplishments
Combine the requirements outlined in the job posting with your skills and accomplishments. Craft success stories to highlight what you feel are your top selling points (again as they relate to the needs of the role). Keep in mind that strong success stories have 3 key components. Begin by outlining the task to be completed, or challenge to be navigated. Next, speak about the steps you took to be successful. Finish with some specific benefits that were the result of your actions. If you can quantify your points with numbers, even better. 

Pro Tip: Consider if you have any combination of qualities that make you unique. For example, while some accountants may have strong systems skills, they may not have leadership experience, or success stories that demonstrate an ability to communicate effectively with non-finance people.

Step 3: The Pitch
You’re looking to create a 1 to 2 minute answer. Take a look at your notes and streamline them. Craft an answer that really highlights your differentiators as a candidate (skills or experience that make you stand out from the competition). You don’t want to memorize an answer, but do practice bullet points and success stories. Remember to include a note about the company’s culture and how you’ll fit in. Project enthusiasm and confidence when you give your answer.

Do you want more interview tips? Read6 Things Employers Want to Hear in an Accounting Interview.

Key Takeaway
What differentiates you from the competition? How do your key experiences and accomplishments align with the employer’s requirements? Take a close look at the job posting. Make notes on both hard and soft skills. Engage in some self-reflection and jot down where your expertise can further the company’s objectives. Distill your notes down to 3 or 4 key points and think of success stories to support them. The more you know about yourself and what you bring to the table, the better you’ll be able to sell your skills and close the deal as the preferred candidate.

Your Next Step
No one should walk the job search or hiring road alone. At Clarity Recruitment we help others realize their success through a process that marries proprietary technology with unwavering commitment. Contact us today to take control of your career, or to partner with us to hire well.

Clarity Recruitment, connecting exceptional people with remarkable companies.

How to explain your 5 year plan in a finance interview.

The Finance Interview: What is Your 5 Year Plan?

How to explain your 5 year plan in a finance interview.
If your idea of a plan is a vague notion that you’ll be eating breakfast tomorrow, interview questions such as, “Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years” can be stressful. Even if you’re the type of person who plans your career meticulously, you may be wondering what the interviewer is looking for with a question like this. Here’s some insight into how to effectively communicate your long-term career goals and be the candidate who crosses the finish line first.

Why Interviewers Ask This Question
Firstly, keep in mind that the question can appear in a variety of forms. Interviewers may ask, “What is your ideal job at this stage of your career” or “What are your long-term career goals?” They may even ask, “How do you define success?” Regardless, they are likely trying to ascertain the same 4 things:

  • Are you making a purposeful career choice? 
  • What are your professional drivers - core values?
  • Are you a fit for the natural working style of the team?
  • If they invest in you, will you stay for the long term?

Stress Long-Term Timeline
Start by communicating that you want to grow with an organization. This lets the interviewer know that you’ll be sticking around if there are opportunities for you to build your skill set and develop your expertise. This is a general statement about your career drivers.

“Overall, I want to land with an organization that invests in its people. I am particularly interested in acquiring additional knowledge about _________________. Ultimately, I’d like to continue to build on my leadership experience (or whatever experience you insert here) so that I can eventually step into a ____________________ role. (Finish with the end goal and be specific if you want – Finance Manager or Director of Finance, or more general - a management role).”

The Next Step
What is it that you hope to learn from this job or organization? Connect your goals to what the role offers and explain why you’re excited about the opportunity. This frames your decision as a purposeful career choice.

“This organization clearly develops its people. I’m particularly excited about ____________ (opportunity to work with a specific person or on an initiative). I really want to develop my knowledge in a, b or c and I know that your company emphasizes lifelong learning. That’s important to me.”

Core Value Connection
Show that you’ve researched the organization and its culture by demonstrating alignment with its core values. Again, this explains why you’re excited about the opportunity and shows the interviewer that you can mesh with the company’s culture.

“I am driven and motivated. I also value giving back. I want to work for an organization where I can learn, but that is also socially responsible. This is where I see my long-term interests flourishing and it’s part of my career goals. The organization’s mandate to ____________________ (mention something socially responsible) and the fact that the team is described as driven and high-performing interests me.”

In Review

  1. General Statement about career drivers
  2. Drill down into what the role offers and how that aligns with your goals – use the job posting as a reference, and remember to research the company on LinkedIn and by using websites such as
  3. Draw connections between the company’s core values and culture and your own preferred working style and beliefs

Keep In Mind
If you’re making a career change or a lateral move (or even a step down) the reason for applying to the role may not be obvious. This makes your answer even more important. Nobody wants to hire someone who is going to exit stage left when the next opportunity comes along. 

Pro Tip: If you’re overqualified, or are re-entering the accounting and finance industry after a period of time off, you’ll need to be specific about why this role make senses at this juncture.

Read: “How to Rejoin the Finance or Accounting Industry After a Long Break” for insight into how to successfully re-enter the accounting and finance space after time away.

Key Takeaways
Fundamentally, your interviewer wants to know that you’re making a purposeful career choice. They need to see that there is alignment between your career goals and what the company can offer you. Show that the organization’s core values resonate with you. Explain why you think you can grow with the organization and why it makes sense for you to work there. At the end of the day, your interviewer wants to hire someone who is motivated, proactive and a good investment of time and energy.

Your Next Step
No one should walk the job search or hiring road alone. At Clarity Recruitment we help others realize their success through a process that marries proprietary technology with unwavering commitment. Contact us today to take control of your career, or to partner with us to hire well.

Clarity Recruitment, connecting exceptional people with remarkable companies.

How to answer the weakness question in an accounting interview.

Accounting Interview Tips – The Weakness Question

How to answer the weakness question in an accounting interview.
You’re in the midst of an accounting interview and it’s going well. You’ve aced the questions on your technical skill set, but now the dreaded weakness question appears. It can manifest in different forms, either overtly, “What would you say is your greatest weakness?” or more subtly, “Tell us about a time you experienced failure at work, or made a mistake. What did you do?” Regardless of the form that the question takes, the interviewer is trying to discern how self-aware you are and what you’ve done to grow. 

How you answer the question can be quite revealing.

Know Your Weakness
According to the book Change Anything: The New Science of Personal Success 97% of people can identify their career limiting behaviors. And yet, only 10% seek to change the behavior after receiving constructive feedback in a performance review. 

Before entering any interview think carefully about when your weaknesses have been triggered and why. What have you done to mitigate your weaknesses and turn them into strengths?

Read: “How to Turn Weaknesses into Strengths” for guidance on how to identify your weaknesses and transform them into assets.

Prepare Responses
Prepare 3 success stories that illustrate how you took a former weakness and addressed it. The weakness question, more than anything, is trying to ascertain how you handle obstacles, and how you’ll mesh with your team and future manager. Remember, success stories follow the STAR model - briefly give an overview of the situation and task, talk about the action you took to resolve the challenge and outline the benefits that resulted.

For example, perhaps you used to fear failure and this made you hesitate to forward your ideas in meetings. Outline how you received encouragement or constructive feedback from a colleague or manager. Explain that you had an idea for a process improvement and decided to speak about it at the next team meeting. Ideally, your manager would have positively reinforced you for the idea. The process would have been implemented and the company would have benefited. If you have numbers that illustrate the positive effect of your idea, even better.

Avoid Canned Answers
The most common responses, “I work too hard,” or “I’m a perfectionist” are overused. You need to reveal self-awareness and growth, so speak to a challenge honestly and explain how you’ve handled it.

Read: For more tips on understanding what employers are looking for in an interview read, “6 Things Employers Want to Hear in an Accounting Interview.”

Don’t Speak to Essential Technical Skills
Carefully review the job posting prior to the interview. Take note of all of the essential skills that are listed. Ensure that your weaknesses do not speak to any of the technical skills outlined in the job posting.

Stay Professional
Your weakness should focus on a professional challenge, not a personal one. The interviewer is interested in how you’ve overcome your work-related weaknesses. Avoid bringing personal drama into the interview.

Key Takeaways
Prospective employers understand that people make mistakes. What they’re looking for is evidence that you recognize your weaknesses and have sought to correct them. Identify your weaknesses prior to the interview. Think about when your career limiting behaviors have been triggered and what you’ve done to mitigate them. Prepare success stories that show self-awareness and growth. Focus on professional challenges and avoid speaking to essential technical skills. Fundamentally, interviewers know that the best candidates are often those who are self-aware, can accept constructive feedback and grow from it.

Your Next Step
No one should walk the job search or hiring road alone. At Clarity Recruitment we help others realize their success through a process that marries proprietary technology with unwavering commitment. Contact us today to take control of your career, or to partner with us to hire well.

Clarity Recruitment, connecting exceptional people with remarkable companies.

A checklist for acing the second accounting interview.

How to Impress in a Second Accounting Interview

A checklist for acing the second accounting interview.
Congratulations on making it to the next round in a highly competitive job market. It means that your potential employers were pleased with what they saw in your first interview. To continue that positive trend, here are some tips for nailing your second finance or accounting interview.

Stay Consistent
Keep your messaging consistent. If you presented yourself a certain way, continue to do so. This reinforces to employers that you know who you are, and are making a purposeful career choice.

Professional Brand
Connect your professional brand to the goals of the organization. If the company needs an innovative problem solver who can take the lead on a system wide implementation, make sure to reinforce how your values, personality and past expertise can be an asset.

It may be that your potential employer focuses on a key area during the finance or accounting interview. This is typically because they are interested in how your skill set and experience can help them with something specific. In a case where it seems like the employer is zeroing in, make sure to answer their questions thoroughly. Prepare success stories in advance that illustrate different strengths so that you can draw upon them if needed.

Remember, success stories that have impact use the STAR approach. First offer a summary of the situation you were faced with, then dive into the specific task you needed to resolve. Detail your approach to that challenge and the benefits that resulted. The STAR approach is successful because it uses a story, with measurable data, (use numbers to support your results section), to illustrate a behavioral or skill set competency.

Pro Tip: Want to know when to use the STAR technique? Look for interview questions that start with, “Tell me about a time…”

ReadUsing the STAR technique to Shine at Job Interviews” for more tips on using STAR to ace an interview.

Be Prepared to Talk with Co-workers
It’s likely that during a second interview you’ll be introduced to your future co-workers. Be prepared to ask relevant questions that help you understand the position and that will impress your coworkers. 

Culture Questions
Your prospective employer may have asked you a culture question during the first interview. At the second interview, don’t be surprised if they dive into company culture more thoroughly. Before the interview, review the company’s core values, mission and vision statement. Connect your own values to how the organization believes in doing business and prepare a story or two that illustrate this.

In addition, don’t be afraid to ask questions about culture. It shows the employer that you’re thinking seriously about the role. Remember, culture is primarily about how you connect to the organization, your boss and team. It’s also about how the team, in general, relates to the organization.

Schedule Your Interview Wisely
In a blog called “5 Surprising Interview Tips” we discussed the importance of securing the first interview slot if possible. This is because, according to Science Daily, when time is of the essence and decisions have to be made quickly, “preferences are unconsciously and immediately guided to those options presented first.”  And this study shows that candidates who interview on a different day than their competition are more likely to be hired. So if you can, try to schedule your interview wisely.

Present a Solution
During your first interview, your potential employer may have discussed some of the upcoming projects or challenges that the company will be facing. In your follow-up interview, present a detailed solution or proposal that shows you’ve thought carefully about the previous discussion and how the company might move forward (with your skill set and expertise presented as an asset). This shows the organization that your skills have a direct and immediate value.

Key Takeaways
There are several ways to impress during a second finance or accounting interview. Prepare more detailed answers that offer different STAR success stories. Show your potential value by presenting a solution to a problem or challenge that the interviewer discussed in the initial round. Dig deeply into the company’s culture and show how you align with it. Keep your messaging consistent, especially as it relates to your professional brand. And if it all possible, choose your interview slot wisely. Following these tips, gives you the best possible chance of becoming the candidate who signs on the dotted line. 

Your Next Step
No one should walk the job search or hiring road alone. At Clarity Recruitment we help others realize their success through a process that marries proprietary technology with unwavering commitment. Contact us today to take control of your career, or to partner with us to hire well.

Clarity Recruitment, connecting exceptional people with remarkable companies.

Surprising Finance Interview Tips

Yes, it’s important to dress to impress, and have body language that shows engagement during a finance interview. But there are other tips that could position you ahead of the pack, and some of them are a little bit surprising. Here are 5 ways to be the candidate that crosses the finish line first. 

Social Media Vetting
You know that your prospective employer will likely run a Google and social media search prior to the interview. It’s important, therefore, to make sure that your professional brand is squeaky clean. One tool to help you do this is called SimpleWash which scans the content on your Facebook page, for example, and detects keywords that might be connected to things you don’t want your employer to see. You can then remove the content. To identify images that could be problematic, use Social Sweepster.

Use Google Alerts
Would you write a paper on Shakespeare without quoting a single line from one of his plays? Maybe, but the result would lack depth and validity. The same goes for entering an interview without researching the company in advance. If you can answer an interview question with specific numbers and ideas laid out in a company blog, press release or quarterly earnings report it demonstrates commitment and buy-in to the employer. But keeping track of what each company is doing can be challenging. Use Google Alerts to help. Google Alerts will let you know when a new story appears for a specific search term (in this case a company).

How to Set Up a Google Alert

  • Go to
  • Enter the search term you want to track e.g. the name of the company
  • If you have more than one company, you can separate the names using a comma
  • Put in your email address (you’ll need a Gmail account for this)
  • When a story appears that is connected to your search term, Google will send you an email

Interview Time Slot Matters
According to Science Daily when time is of the essence and decisions have to be made quickly “preferences are unconsciously and immediately guided to those options presented first.” The study’s author went on to say that the “first is best” mentality suggests that firsts are preferred “even when completely unwarranted and irrational.” Takeaway? If a hiring decision must be made quickly such as in a contract role, it may be advantageous, if you have a choice, to secure the first time slot.

Pro Tip: Time constraints aside, recommends scheduling an interview between Tuesday and Thursday so as to avoid conflicting with an employer’s responsibilities outside of the hiring process. 

Emotion Engages Buying Behavior
Think about commercials that make us tear up or smile. Marketers know that emotion engages buying behavior. Use this principle to best effect by making sure that your answer to “Tell us a little bit about yourself” or “Why do you want to work for our organization” is filled with emotional resonance. It’s not just about your professional experience. The answer to this question lets you talk about what inspires you and why you’ve chosen to walk a certain path. Craft a tight, interesting story that is compelling and shows your passion.

Ask Clever Questions That Introduce Something New
The end of the interview offers an opportunity for you to ask questions. Great questions are comprised of 2 qualities: a) a chance to introduce something new about yourself and b) an opportunity to show that you’re making a purposeful career choice. For example, “I used to volunteer with __________. I noticed that community involvement is an important part of your culture. Can you tell me a little more about your initiative with __________ and how I could get involved?”

Key Takeaways
Acing the finance interview is more than just dressing well. It means crafting engaging answers, asking questions that introduce something new about yourself and doing some advance preparation. To try to be the candidate who crosses the finish line first implement the 5 tips above.

Your Next Step
No one should walk the job search or hiring road alone. At Clarity Recruitment we help others realize their success through a process that marries proprietary technology with unwavering commitment. Contact us today to take control of your career, or to partner with us to hire well.

Clarity Recruitment, connecting exceptional people with remarkable companies.

Tips from Finance Recruiters – Acing the Phone Interview

Finance recruiters and employers often use a phone interview as a way of determining potential fit for a role. This makes acing the phone interview an imperative part of landing the accounting job that you want. Here are some common phone interview questions and how to answer them.

First Steps
Firstly, understand that while most phone interviews are scheduled, it is possible that your phone could ring at any time. This means that it’s important to do your research on each company that you apply to. 

  • Why do you want to work for the organization? 
  • What is it about the company’s culture that resonates for you?
  • Understand the company’s strategic direction and how you can add value
  • Know your resume inside and out
  • Have 2 or 3 questions of your own that you’ve prepared
  • Make sure your phone has a professional voice message in case you miss the call

Pro Tip: Let the interviewer set the stage. It’s likely he or she will give you valuable background information at the start, including why the role is open, or what success looks like. Take notes as they will help you frame your answers.

Question #1: Tell me about a time you handled a challenge at work.
This is your chance to demonstrate strong problem solving and communication skills. Your answer should show that you’re always motivated to get the job done, while still maintaining strong, professional relationships with your colleagues. Focus on outlining the challenge, how you took action to resolve it and the benefits that resulted. In other words, how did you turn this challenge into an opportunity, and what did you learn from it?

Question #2: Why are you looking to transition?
Finance recruiters and employers want to see purposeful career choices. As a result, it’s best to talk about why the role makes sense for you at this time in your career. The finance recruiter or employer may also be trying to ascertain how serious you are about the role and how vulnerable you are to a counter offer.

Read: This article offers additional information on how to explain why you want to leave your current job (or why you left).

Question #3: What interests you about our organization?
Focus on the company’s direction and how it fits with your career goals. Speak to any successes that the organization has had. Make sure to address the company’s mission/vision and how you feel you can add value. Talk about which of the company’s core values are of particular interest to you. This will create a sense of alignment.

Question #4: What are your salary expectations?
Make understanding market value for your role part of your research. One website that can provide valuable insight into salary expectations is  While it’s unlikely that there will be any salary negotiation at this stage of the process, it’s critical to know what constitutes reasonable compensation.

Question #5: What are your responsibilities in your current role?
Before the phone interview make sure to review the job posting thoroughly. Take note of any connection between the responsibilities outlined in the posting and your current duties. Have a success story or two prepared to demonstrate how you delivered for your organization.

Question #6: What motivates you?
Increasingly, finance recruiters and employers are asking candidates about what motivates them. This is because one of the hallmarks of high potential accounting talent is their motivation to succeed and the passion they bring to their role. Think about the role you’re applying to and which traits are most likely to lead to success. For example, great managers help others succeed, so if you’re applying to a finance manager role speak to that.

Read:The Accounting Interview – Questions That Test Emotional IQ” to learn how to answer questions that evaluate more than technical fit.

Key Takeaways
Whether you get to the next stage of the process depends on how well you do in the phone interview. Advance preparation is critical. Research the organization and understand its strategic direction and how you can add value. Identify core values that resonate for you and make sure to review the job posting thoroughly. Write down success stories that illustrate how you delivered for your current or past organization. Increase your odds of acing the phone interview and getting a chance to impress in a face-to-face meeting.

Your Next Step
No one should walk the job search or hiring road alone. At Clarity Recruitment we help others realize their success through a process that marries proprietary technology with unwavering commitment. Contact us today to take control of your career, or to partner with us to hire well.

Clarity Recruitment, connecting exceptional people with remarkable companies.