The Basil Blog

Marc Basil
Marc Basil

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I am a passionate, dedicated and expert recruiter who brings unrivaled experience and expertise to my clients and candidates in the field of accounting and finance throughout the greater Chicago market."

Marc Basil is a Brand Ambassador for Brilliant, and Senior Director of Financial Search, the permanent and direct hire division of Brilliant.

He is a charismatic professional who counsels his clients with his sharp wit and keen knowledge of the staffing and recruiting industry. He has a strong insight into the accounting and finance professions with nearly two decades worth of experience. The Basil Blog is an editorial-based blog from Marc’s point of view on issues affecting his candidate and client base.


5 Unique Interview Questions to Ask Your Accounting & Finance Candidates

5 Unique Interview Questions to Ask Your Accounting & Finance Candidates

As the unemployment rate continues to decline to the lowest percentage in a generation at 3.6 percent, the demand for talent continues to rise. Needless to say, hiring companies are investing more time and money than ever on seeking quality talent.

However, one major mistake a hiring manager can make during this process is hiring the wrong individual for the role. Doing so can result in the loss of time, money and resources if you count all of the interviewing, training and onboarding that is naturally part of the hiring process.

Unfortunately, it’s possible for some candidates to present excellent in interviews, but not end up being a good fit—whether that’s due to lack of cultural fit, work ethic or missing technical skillsets.

Hiring managers must diligently work through the interview process to ensure they select the right candidate for their team. Therefore, it’s not only important to ask the right questions, but to also ask unique questions that stimulate a candidate’s creative and critical thinking. It’s common for a hiring manager to simply ask the cliché questions they think they should ask. But, you should really go above and beyond the norm to formulate innovative questions that are valuable for both, the candidate and you!

I recently read an article from that lists a handful of out-of-the-box interview questions, used by some of the most successful business leaders. I wanted to share some findings, along with some of my own suggestions.

Learn the 5 Unique Interview Questions to Ask Your Accounting & Finance Candidates below!

1) “Name something you believe to be true, but no one else seems to think is true?”
This begs an answer of confidence, persuasion and passionate belief in oneself. It also serves as an opportunity for the candidate to flex on their ability to influence with a high degree of certainty, which is critical in any role. The outcome will hopefully help you gauge whether the candidate can hold a position, while also listening to opposing beliefs or feedback.

2) “What do you want to do when you leave this company?”
Let’s be honest, the likelihood of any of us retiring from the company we work for today is very low. This question provides a safe space for the candidate to speak to their ultimate long-term ambitions. This often triggers candidates to think critically and answer carefully – believing they can’t seem too interested in the thought of leaving their potential employer, but striving to deliver a sufficient response. In reality, this question allows the interviewer to identify aspirations and goals in a candidate, which is important to know.

3) “How would you make money from an ice cream stand in Central Park?”
This unexpected question is commonly-used by an executive at Alphabet (formerly Google Ideas). In its purest form, this is an excellent example of an open-ended question, which will hone in on an applicant’s creativity and thought process. Truthfully, the answer isn’t necessarily important, but the communication, clarifying questions, body language and strategy of the candidate’s response gives immense insight. For example, has the candidate begun to slouch in their seat or start to mumble? Or do they look excited to brainstorm, ask more detailed questions on the scenario and then confidently walk you through their answer?

4) “Tell me about your best and worst days at work.”
There’s no surprise when a highly successful candidate has little trouble speaking to accomplishments and achievements. But the manner in which the candidate addresses their worst days is extremely telling and can measure their weight of accountability. Does the candidate have the personal and professional courage to admit to mistakes, while pointing out their learning points within them? Or, does the candidate blame those bad days on colleagues, their mood or any other excuse out of their control? In almost all professions, collaboration is inevitable, and this question will help a hiring manager evaluate a candidate’s ability to work with others, accept feedback and communicate appropriately.

5) “If I called your current boss, what would they say?”
Interviewers do not ask this question to breach confidentiality, but instead, to gain a real sense of how the candidate communicates and sustains a relationship with management. It’s common for candidates to mention challenges or learning points they’ve experienced with their manager, along with positive experiences. Overall, a candid question such as this, can help a hiring manager see a candidate’s preferred management style.

What are some other questions to ask during the interview process? Comment below and let us know?

Interested in more hiring tips? Click here to download Brilliant’s guide to conducting the best interview.

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Marc's Story Marc's Story

Early in his career, Marc built a solid relationship with now key leaders at Brilliant and was able to foster those relationships for many years, joining the company in early 2010, shortly after the firm opened its doors.

Because of the continued guidance from former CEO Jim Wong and current President Kathy Spearing – coupled with the opportunity to make people’s lives better each day– Marc stays compelled in his role as Senior Director of Brilliant Financial Search. Basil says, “I’m incredibly impressed with the running of the business. That, and the opportunity to work with our great clients, candidates and colleagues are what keeps me here.”

Marc's Philosophy Marc's Philosophy

  • He listens
  • He educates
  • He motivates
  • He coaches
  • He sets high expectations
  • He follows through on promises

Candidate Testimonials Candidate Testimonials

Working with Marc has been great. He helped me obtain the position that was right for me and my skills. Marc is open and honest with his recruits and is an effective communicator. He knows how to get the job done right because he stays organized and is knowledgeable about the job market. Most of all he is friendly and easy to work with. I would, and have done so on many occasions, recommended Marc as a recruiter you can trust to find the right opportunity for you.A Happy Staff Accountant

During my recent search, I worked with a few recruiters. However, none held the expertise nor prepared me for the interview as well as Marc did. Marc's initial meeting asked all the right questions to get me into roles where there was mutual interest. Marc was able to coach me through the process to present myself to my strengths as well as the hiring managers’ needs. It is truly a pleasure working with Marc, and I would be happy to work with him in the future.A Happy Senior Financial Analyst

Checkmark 5 Things to Know About Marc


He’s an avid runner. He’s ran multiple races, including a marathon, and runs 5 miles home from work every day.

Wine Glass

He enjoys good wine. His favorites are Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir.


His relationship with his in-laws is like a TV sitcom. They don’t speak English, and he doesn’t speak Spanish.


Marc was born and raised on the northwest side of Chicago – he is not a “suburban” guy.


Marc is a middle child of two sisters and two brothers.

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