When searching for an accounting position, you’ll likely participate in a behavioral interview. Since your past performance can often predict future behavior, a potential employer will be assessing your experiences and probable approach to similar situations in a future job. The best way to handle your responses to interview questions is by utilizing the SAR method.
Situation, Actions, Results
When utilizing the SAR technique, start by describing a situation you were in that relates to the question. Specifically and honestly discuss your challenge and expectations, what you needed to do, and why. Ensure the focus is on you, not team members. Even if the result was not favorable, make sure the outcome highlights your strengths while facing adversity.
Next, discuss the actions you took when faced with the challenge. Specify any analytical work you performed and your part in project coordination. Highlight desirable traits you exhibited such as intelligence, initiative, leadership, dedication, and understanding.
Finally, elaborate on your results. Focus on what you learned. Quantify any accomplishments you made, recognition you received, or money you saved the company. Details make your story more interesting and convincing and keep the interviewer engaged. Be sure you convey maximum achievements in minimum time. End on a positive note for a solid impression.
Typical Questions and Creative Answers
One common request asked of accounting candidates is “Tell me about a time you missed a deadline and how you handled it.” The interviewer wants to know why you missed the deadline, what you did to fix it, and what you learned from the experience. A potential answer might be, “There was a miscommunication between myself and a team member. I thought they were working on a project, and they thought I was. The day of the deadline I realized the project wasn’t finished. We worked as a team and delivered the project in less than24 hours. I learned to communicate better with co-workers and to ask if they need help, so if there’s a mix up we can take care of it in a timely manner.” This answer shows you own your mistake, work as a team, perform well under pressure, and communicate with co-workers.
Another potential question may be “What have you been doing while looking for a job?” What the interviewer wants to know is how you spend your free time to develop yourself personally and professionally. An appropriate answer might be, “I’ve been taking an online course on ___________ and volunteering at ___________,” or “Since ending my previous position, I’ve been working part time as a ___________ while I find a career.” Such answers demonstrate you use downtime properly, pursue continuing education, and participate in philanthropic activities.
When preparing for your next interview, utilize the SAR technique. Discuss your accomplishments through personal success stories and show you’re the most qualified candidate for the position. To learn more about the SAR method and accounting positions, contact Trimble and Associates today!