CPA Firm Recruitment Guide: Interviews

Jobs in the accounting field can be demanding, they require you to constantly collaborate and communicate with clients, supervisors and colleagues as well as manage strict deadlines and juggle changing priorities.  This is done all while maintaining professionalism, accuracy and enough enthusiasm and motivation to handle it all.  Employers are trying to discover if you have the capability and desire to accomplish this.

Knowing this means that (in addition to the standard typical interview preparation you will do), you can also strategically predict and prepare for questions related to the below facts about accounting careers.

Note: You will not necessarily be asked these questions, but you will be asked similar questions.

 

Fact: Accounting careers can be demanding

Questions will focus on how you respond to pressure, difficulty and deadlines:

  • Tell me about a time when you've had a tight deadline, how did you handle it?
  • What is the biggest challenge you've had in your life?
  • Tell me about a time when you've experienced a great deal of pressure?
  • Describe a time when you showed your strength in a difficult situation?

Key: Prior to your interview, map out difficulties you've encountered in your academic and work experiences. What was your response to the difficulty? What was the result?

 

Fact: Accounting careers require you to communicate and collaborate effectively with a variety of people

Questions will focus on how you interact with others, work collaboratively and your leadership skills:

  • What experience do you have working on group projects?
  • Tell me about a specific time you showed leadership and how did that turn out?
  • How have you displayed team spirit as a leader?
  • Tell me about a time you handled a difficult group member, coworker or supervisor.

Key: In preparation for your interview, think through your past group experiences, note down significant examples of the contributions you made and examples where you showed leadership.

 

Fact: Accounting firms want to hire motivated and enthusiastic people

Questions will focus on knowledge, dedication and passion for the field and for the firm itself:

  • Why do you want to work at KPMG?
  • Why did you choose to major in accounting?
  • What are your long term career goals?
  • What are you most passionate about? What are your strongest interests?
  • What motivates you to do your best?

Key: Define for yourself why you are passionate about this field. What personal attributes do you have that will help you be successful in accounting? What do you know about the employer?

What facts do you know about the accounting industry? What questions can you predict?

 

To practice your interview skills check out Big Interview, the Career Center's virtual interview tool.  For additional tips on preparing for your interview, review our interview guide or our three part interviewing webshop series.