June 6, 2008, Newsletter Issue #82: Interview Questions & Answers

Tip of the Week

Interview questions can prove unnerving to the applicant, if not properly prepared. By being properly prepared for interview questions, applicants will increase their chance for interview success, thus resulting in a greater chance of receiving job offers.

There are a number of questions which are standardized industry practice. They are meant to weed out applicants to find a better fit with the individual company. Applicants need to become aware of how to best answer these questions to insure their interview success. Questions are usually classified into different categories: People Skills, Attention to Details, and Teamwork.

Applicants must be familiar with what they entail. These categories are particularly important in the accounting and finance jobs field since they involve characteristics that good employees must possess. Questions involving these subjects offer a further insight into the applicants' attitudes and future compatibility with the firm.. Most entities, from sole proprietor to corporate, places value on these interview questions and categories.

Here is a listing of some interview questions, broken down per category, that applicants need to be prepared for. Information is mainly from the Vault Guide to Finance Interviews.

People skills:

1. What do you like most about working with others? What least?

2. A customer calls in to complain about the product, demanding a discount. You suspect they aren't telling the truth. What do you do?

3. What does the word "service" mean to you?

4. What are willing to do to make a client happy? Where do you draw the line?

5. Describe some of your strategies for dealing with difficult people.

Detail oriented:

1. How important are details to you? Why or why not?

2. What does it mean to you to be organized?

3. What role do you think organization plays or should play in this position?

4. How important has organization been to your past positions?

5. Are you naturally an organized person? If not, what steps do you take to organize yourself?


1. How well do you work with others?

2. Describe a situation in which you sacrificed your immediate needs for the larger good of a team.

3. Have you participated in any team activities? What were they and what did you learn from them?

4. How important is recognition to you?

5. What do the words "team player" mean to you?

Go over all of the above questions when preparing for your interview. Have a thorough and easy to understand answer that projects your confidence, skill, and education.

Other interview questions applicants need to be prepared for include:

€œGive me an example of how you would prioritize jobs.€ Though not a question, this statement requires an answer. More and more companies are using a technique known as the “behavior-based interview”. Instead of asking the applicant’s opinion about something, interviewers ask for examples of past behaviors or situations. This technique is known to display whether an applicant has the correct attitude in alignment with company values.

What are your weaknesses?€ This is another popular question is asked at interviews. For the proper answer to this question, applicants need to think about one of their particular skills and the subsequent downsize to it. Applicants need to then mention how they deal with this "€˜weakness"€™ to their benefit. Applicants need to be prepared to give an example of how this happens. Talk about a weakness that does not have much to do with your potential job.

A great way to be prepared for interview questions and answers is by practicing. Have a friend read the above questions to you, as if they are

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