By Jim Wong, CPA | April 28, 2014

You’ve landed an interview for your dream accounting job. Now what?

Sometimes it feels like the hard part of the job hunt is getting the interview. However, once you make it through the door, the battle is hardly won. You must wow the hiring manager with your winning personality and asking the right questions is a good place to start.

Many recruiters and hiring managers are increasingly citing that the most overlooked aspect of the job interview process by a job candidate is not preparing enough for the part when they’re asked, “Do you have any questions?”

It’s not easy to turn the tables and interview the person who’s there to ostensibly decide whether you’re good enough for the job, but even worse, if you don’t ask questions — the right questions — you could come off appearing indifferent, uncurious, or even lazy.

Doug Zanger recently wrote about fresh interview questions for job seekers in Advertising Week Social Club. While it’s not necessarily directed at finance, accounting, or IT job seekers, the questions are useful for any job applicant.

For instance, have you ever considered asking?

  • Why should I run through a brick wall for you?
  • How do you handle curveballs?
  • Who are the leaders you respect most?
  • How do you manage things when you’re burned out?
  • What’s the one thing that drives you crazy?

Digging deep and speaking to the company culture and the personality of your new boss-to-be shows you’re willing to think out-of-the-box, be frank, and ultimately, show your personality.

And, we all know that’s not the easiest task to accomplish in the world of finance, accounting, and IT.

But even these more-playful questions (which may not suit every job applicant’s position) are not just a way to prove if you’re good enough for the job, they’ll help you figure out if the position is good enough for you.

Be sure to consider the following, broader aspects of the job:

1. Overall company culture You’ll want to know what it’s like to be a member of the team day-in and day-out. Forbes explores 30 questions that you should and shouldn’t ask to get a feel of the company’s everyday work life. For instance, asking what a former employee might miss most about working for the company is one good example.2. Leadership style Several of Zanger’s questions attempt to gain knowledge of the leadership style of the company. A recent U.S. News and World Report article suggests a method for attempting to find out whether the environment you’re considering is “a dictatorial environment or a collaborative one” is by asking, “If offered the position, can you give me examples of ways I would collaborate with my manager?” Knowing the leadership of your future company is key to making a good decision.

3. Details and scope of the position Getting to the bottom of the position’s growth potential and daily task list will help you to succeed once you get the job. A recent article quoted a magic question, “Thinking back to people who have been in this position previously, what differentiated the ones who were good from the ones who were really great?”

If you understand the answer to this question, you’re one step closer to not only getting the job, but really succeeding once you’re in the door.

Of course, as you’re preparing for your dream accounting job interview, there are questions you shouldn’t ask in a job interview. Stay clear of asking questions that you could easily answer yourself by visiting their corporate website or Google. Also, stay clear of asking in-depth questions surrounding benefits. Those questions will be answered in the negotiation phases of the process.

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