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Our top 5 interview tips

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Interviewing can be a nerve-racking experience for most people. No matter if you’re nervous about your upcoming interview or not, preparation, research and authenticity are the biggest keys to success. You can’t wing it and expect to succeed.

To help you prepare for the day, we’ve put together our most valuable tips for a successful interview. Read on to find out:

  1. How to make a good first impression
  2. Showing enthusiasm for the business and the role
  3. Preparation and research tips
  4. The STAR method
  5. How to end an interview positively


#1 How to make a good first impression

Making a good first impression is key when interviewing. Here are some things to think about when attending your interview:

  • Dress for the job want, understand the dress code prior to the interview, but, if in doubt, go smart.
  • Pay attention to the little things; clean your nails, iron that shirt and brush your teeth if you have a coffee before attending, they make all the difference.
  • Body language, make sure you smile, be confident and sit up straight. Eye contact is so important to show your interest and engagement.
  • Be punctual, arrive with plenty of time to spare, check your route the day before and be polite and respectful to everyone you meet, the interview starts with the receptionist.


#2 Show enthusiasm

It’s important to communicate your interest in the role you’re interviewing for in any way that you can. This means showing your enthusiasm for the job, company and team:

  • Be positive in all discussions and especially when discussing previous roles, companies and line managers.
  • Show interest and enthusiasm for them and the company you are interviewing for.
  • Act like you want you to be there, show up in the same manner you would want someone to behave in an interview with you.
  • If you are nervous, planning and preparation will set you free, you have very little to worry about if you have done the work ahead of your meeting.


#3 Prepare and do your research

This part you are 100% in control of. Research is key to success when it comes to interviews, but what should you look into? We would recommend familiarising yourself with the following:

  • Research the business; check out the company LinkedIn page, Glassdoor reviews, website, set of accounts, recent news and any other materials you can find.
  • Research the interviewer, check out LinkedIn and discuss with your recruiter for any insights.
  • Go back over the Job Description, familiarise yourself with the responsibilities, prepare examples of where you have successful achieved or completed these in previous/current jobs.
  • Use I, rather than we when preparing examples of achievements, where appropriate of course.

Be prepared for these common interview questions:

  • Tell me about yourself? What do you outside of work?
  • Why do you want to work for our company?
  • What do you think will bring to our company?
  • Which accounting software packages have you had exposure to?
  • Which accounting standards have you got exposure to?
  • What do you know about us and what we do?
  • Having looked at our most recent set of accounts, what are your observations/thoughts?
  • Who are our main competitors?
  • Having looked at our market position, where do you think we sit in comparison to our competitors? What are our SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) as a business?


And these competency based questions:

Give us an example of a time where you have dealt with the following:

  • An unrealistic deadline and how you managed it?
  • A difficult stakeholder?
  • Hiring freeze and not enough staff?
  • Unrealistic budget numbers for the business and various stakeholders?
  • Managing a difficult member of staff out of the business?
  • Hybrid working and trying to engage and ensure a collaborative culture?
  • A set back at work and how you bounced back?


#4 The S.T.A.R. Method

The S.T.A.R. Method is a method that you can apply to interview questions asking for you to give an example. Following the S.T.A.R. Method is the most efficient way of telling your story and effectively communicating the answer the interviewer is looking for. Here is how it works:



Use a similar situation, ideally work related but can use from personal life if relevant too. Make sure you utilise, who, what, where, when and how.



Describe the task and how it relates to the example you are providing.



What did you do to solve the problem….



End result, explain how your actions meant you could complete the task at hand within the required timeframes and to a high standard.



‘Can You Describe a Time When You Developed or Improved an Accounting Process?’

In my last role I was part of a team dealing with the expense reporting and I noticed there were some discrepancies in the expenses claimed by the sales executive team.

I wanted to improve accuracy and reduce the overall expense costs to the business, this meant enabling all the sales executives to claim the same expenses. In order to achieve this, I changed the codes and descriptions in the reporting process to make it more straightforward. This resulted in 65% increase in consistency, saving a minimum of £40,000 per annum.


Top tips for using the S.T.A.R method:

  • Be specific
  • Be concise
  • Be prepared
  • Be honest
  • Be quantitative
  • Be engaging


#5 End on a positive note

To close out the interview in the best way, there are a few things you can do. Ask if they have everything need, do they want you to expand on anything and is there anything else you can provide information on for them. If appropriate ask what next steps are, and follow up with a nice note and add on LinkedIn.

Always ask questions, below are some examples.


Questions to ask the interviewer

  • Do you have any concerns regarding my suitability for the role?
  • Is there anything we have discussed that you would like me to expand on?
  • What do you foresee will be my biggest challenge in this role?
  • From what we have discussed, do you think there are any gaps in my experience to succeed in this role?
  • What is the reason this role has become available? New role or replacement, which areas do you think require more focus with the next incumbent?
  • Who will be my main stakeholders to manage internally and potentially externally?
  • What does the team look like that I will be managing, what are their capabilities and experience levels?
  • What do you think are my main priorities upon joining the business?
  • What do my first 30/60/90 days look like upon joining?



Five quick tips for remote interviews

Is your interview taking place virtually? Here are 5 quick tips for your remote interview:

  1. Ensure you have a neutral background, no clutter or mess.
  2. First impressions still count – all the above points still count.
  3. Test your tech, make sure you can access the link and your camera and speakers work.
  4. You have less small talk online as you go straight into the interview, make sure you ask some filler, warmer questions too.
  5. Be conscious of your enthusiasm levels, body language is harder to read on video, so make sure you get that across with some additional focus on it.


Now you should be ready for your next interview. If you’re still searching for your next job in finance, get in touch with Tenzing Search. We’re a specialist finance recruitment agency, ready to guide you to your next role.

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