Top Tips for a Finance Interview

The finance industry is highly competitive. With roles ranging from Credit Controller, Management Accountant and all the way up to Finance Director level; ensuring you prepare for an interview is vital to succeed in your job search. Here at AFR Consulting we advise candidates seeking a career in accountancy daily with interview preparation, CV optimisation and more. One of the most important factors behind securing a new role is ensuring you are thoroughly prepared for your interview. Below are some top tips for all finance candidates to consider when interviewing:

1. Do your research

Prior to any finance interview, it is vital to ensure you have done your research into both the role and the company you’re are interviewing for. The thing to remember, like any interview, is that the company are already aware of your professional background. Sure, they will ask questions about your career history, but a hiring manager will already be aware of your background thanks to your CV. What a hiring manager isn’t aware of is how much you know about them. Before an interview, make sure that you research the company and the finance position you are interviewing for. Have a look at their company accounts if possible and have a question ready. Not only does this show attention to detail, but also enthusiasm towards your potential future employer.

2. Know your CV

Make sure you know your CV like the back of your hand. This may sound like the most basic preparation; but it will be essential to an interview. In most cases, everything a hiring manager knows about you will be taken from your CV. As a result, the majority of their questions will be asked based on your past experiences listed on your CV. Therefore, be prepared to give more details on your work history, describing your influence and achievements in each of your roles. Preparing answers to potential competency based questions is always good practice. When doing so, ensure you are adding value to your CV and try to avoid repeating information that the interviewer is already aware of.

3. Don’t be vague

In addition to professional questions, an interviewer will want to get to know you as an individual. A classic question is ‘Tell me about yourself?’, a question that on the surface seems simple, but can be very hard to answer.

Understandably, most candidates will start listing off their attributes and qualifications. Remember that this can be found on your CV and as a result adds little value to the hiring manager. Try to link any relevant experience to the role you are being interviewed for; explain why you are well suited to the position and use specific examples of past achievements that add something to your application which your CV doesn’t. If you are being interviewed by a senior manager or Director then get to the point as their time is precious.

4. Listen and engage

An interview is as much about ensuring the role is a good fit for you, as well as ensuring you are a good fit for the company. During the interview take time to listen to questions being asked, not only will this ensure that you give the best possible answer, but you will also learn more about the role and what is expected in the position. Don’t be afraid to ask for more information about the role, there may be responsibilities of the role which aren’t explained in the job description. Asking questions not only helps you learn more about the position and company, but it also shows your enthusiasm for the role and as a result, instills confidence in the hiring manager’s perception of you as a potential employee. 

5. Stay calm

Interviews can be daunting and as a result, it can be easy to be put off and lose your flow. There is a risk for a business with every hire. Will the candidate work out? Will they be a good fit in the team? An interview is the perfect time to give a great first impression. By staying calm in an interview, it gives a recruiter a much more optimistic feeling about you as a candidate and your ability to fit in the role and team. 

Coming across as calm and confident in an interview can be difficult, especially if deep down you don’t feel that way. However, there are many things you can do to give off this impression. Ensure you maintain eye-contact, be polite, sit up straight and ask questions. 

There is an endless list of what to do and what not to do in an interview. Every hiring manager will prioritise different things and it is impossible to know what is the most important priority in each interview. 

Here at AFR Consulting, we are one of the North West’s leading Finance and Accountancy recruitment specialists. We have been working closely with our clients for the last 15 years and as a result we pride ourselves in giving accurate advice and succeeding in placements for both clients and candidates.

Are you interested in a new finance position? Get in touch with AFR team today on 01254 311133 or at enquiries@afrconsulting.co.uk for a confidential chat.