Essential Tips to Prepare for an Interview

Student blogger: Khadija Moten

The first question that pops into a student’s mind once they get an interview is what do they do next?

Well, in my experience, if you have multiple interviews for an internship or a full-time job you should keep a journal to keep track of the dates, times and locations of the interviews so you don’t confused or end up double booking an interview for the same date or time. It is crucial that one is organized when it comes to recruiting because that can be a stressful and chaotic period.

The first thing I would recommend is to research the company you are interviewing with. This can be done by visiting their website, looking them up on LinkedIn, talking to people you know who have worked there or even exploring the company on Google for any articles that they were mentioned in. Through this step, you will be able to come up with several personalized questions that will make you seem like you did your homework, will make you look credible and will show your interviewer that you are genuinely interested in the certain position you applied for. A general example of a question may include:

Your firm (mention the name) was voted best place to work by Vault in 2017. In your opinion, what makes this a good place to work?

Moreover, if you know the person you are interviewing with beforehand, then you should gather some information about them through LinkedIn and ask questions according to their experience. This will not only help you establish a rapport with them, but it will also aid in making a connection with them. Some examples may include:

What is your favorite office tradition?

OR

You have been with the firm for over 10 years. What do you think are some opportunities the firm will face in the coming years?

OR

I see that you have a number of years of accounting experience (be it in the private or public industry). What attracted you to this firm (mention name)?

OR

What are some initiatives that you would like your firm (mention name) to take up for their community service aspect?

Your goal should be to steer the conversation away from a business facet so you can stand out and are easily remembered because this will indicate that you tried to talk to them about something that you and him/her clicked on. This could be a variety of things which will show that you are able to keep a conversation going smoothly and are personable. Additionally, you will be able to show them your personality and the things that are important to you.

You also have to focus on making your resume as perfect as possible and try to showcase your skills that will assist you in doing your job. Highlight your work and leadership experience and come up with examples that indicate how you will be an asset to the firm. It is also a good idea to come up with a short elevator pitch that you will use to introduce yourself when you meet your interviewer. This could include your name, major, and things that you want your interviewer to know. It can also be important details that you want your interviewer to have knowledge of and may comprise of either volunteer work or your future plans and what you wish to achieve.

One question that terrifies people is: “Tell me about yourself.” This is because people do not like talking or bragging about themselves. To really get the answer down, it is vital to first understand what point you want to convey. Do you want your interviewer to know your background, what exact event shaped you into the person you are today or simply why you chose your major and what you wish to accomplish? So, my advice would be to stay calm while answering this question and be true to yourself.

The night before an interview, I would have my clothes ready and ironed, a pad folio or folder with questions prepared and at least five resumes printed because you never know how many people will interview you and you want to be on the safe side.

Deciding what to wear to an interview can be a dilemma for women. For men, it is fairly easy because it is usually a suit with a tie. For women it can be numerous things.

First, all interviews require professional dress unless strictly specified so you could consider wearing a pant suit or a skirt suit. If you are wearing a skirt suit then you have to keep in mind that the length of the skirt is appropriate and conservative so when you sit down, you feel comfortable and are covered properly for a professional setting.

Furthermore, try to wear a blouse or a button-down shirt that does not have a low neck, is not sheer and is not ripped. Women also have to keep in mind to wear comfortable shoes that they can walk in which may include ballet flats or heels (pumps). Men have to keep in mind to polish their shoes. In addition, both men and women should make sure that their suits are neat, tidy and pressed to make them seem like they’re dressed for the part and determined to ace their interview.

Lastly, all you have to do is arrive at least five minutes before your interview, have a positive mindset and be determined to succeed and impress your interviewer. If you follow all these steps, then there is no stopping you from getting that offer and fulfilling your dreams.

About txcpa2b

The Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants (TSCPA) is a nonprofit, voluntary, professional organization representing Texas CPAs. TSCPA has 20 local chapters statewide and has 27,000 members. The Society is committed to serving the public interest with programs that advance the highest standards of ethics and practice within the CPA profession. TXCPA2B is a blog written by Texas students in pursuit of the CPA certificate. The views expressed here are those of the authors and not necessarily held by TSCPA or our members.
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