8 Job Interview Tips for Accountants: Our Talent Team’s Advice

A smiling woman with a tablet looks directly at the camera. Success in an accounting or finance career depends on the ability to communicate reports clearly, among others.

The search for an excellent accounting job can cause some stress. But amazing results can be unleashed when we overcome our stress by taking action.

If you want to work for an international accounting client while staying close to your loved ones in your home city, we have the ideal opportunities for you.

You will need to do well in your job interviews to land one of these opportunities, which means you will have to get comfortable with some challenges. These challenges, however, can be solved.

“Many people have a hard time selling themselves. Many of us were taught that it is not polite or seemly to talk about ourselves, all the wonderful things we have accomplished or the kudos we have received, or all the insightful thoughts we have or the many terrific personal characteristics we have developed,” the psychologist Paul Powers wrote in his 2010 book Winning Job Interviews 

“No prospective employer looks at the hiring process as a detective job or a hidden treasure hunt. They will learn only as much about you as you are willing to share. 

Here are practical tips from our TOA Global talent team to help you prepare for and give an amazing job interview.

A job candidate faces an impressed panel of interviewers. Our recruitment process within TOA Global takes place online.

Before the Interview 

Tip 1: Polish your curriculum vitae (CV).

Start by taking a good look at your career history so far. Be ready to explain any gaps, such as any time you spent away from the workforce to pursue higher studies.

Mention any volunteer work or internship experiences, as these may be relevant to your future clients. If you have any training or experience in using cloud-based accounting software, be sure to highlight that in your CV.  

“It’s key to have the job description and your resume with you in your interview. Plan by underlining important skills from the role and prepare examples from your career to highlight these,” suggested Karissa Lacsa, a Senior Talent Acquisition Officer for TOA Global.

She shared this helpful framework for talking about milestones in your career: situation, task, action, and result or STAR.  

When those career milestones show the skills you have that match your prospective client’s list of desired skills, emphasize that in your CV and be ready to talk about it in your interview.

Tip 2: Practice recording short videos. 

Use screen recording tools like Loom, ScreenRec or Soapbox to practice conducting video interviews.

Talk about your interests, core values or experiences in your previous job that taught you something about your leadership potential. It helps to jot down your key points on an index card or small notepad, so you can organize your thoughts and avoid rambling. 

“It might sound silly but practising your interview answers will help you feel more relaxed, confident, and prepared,” advised Juvele Sepulchre, a TOA Global Talent Acquisition Officer. 

“It is even better to practice with a friend so they can give feedback on your overall impression and answers.” 

Tip 3: Brush up on current accounting industry challenges. 

How you can help your prospective client address their challenges? For instance, what are your ideas to help them manage pricing and operating expenses amid inflationary pressure? 

Think about what firm-level challenges you helped your previous employer solve.  

Lon Hernandez, Head of Talent Acquisition-ANZ for TOA Global, shared this suggestion: Prepare 2 to 3 compelling past experiences. Relate these to the value you will bring to the role and company. Link these to important skills in the job description.”

She also recommended that job candidates keep their comments short, honest, and engaging.

To help candidates who are skilled in accounting but have yet to work with international clients, TOA Global runs an Accelerator Program with its parent company’s training division, Ab² Institute of Accounting.   

Under this program, qualified candidates get paid to undergo 7 weeks of industry-recognized training in Australian or US accounting standards before being placed with a client.   

Tip 4: Check your technical setup.  

Before the day of your virtual interview, check your equipment and setting.  

We recommend using a wired internet connection and a distraction-free background. Make sure that your laptop or desktop is placed on a stable surface and that your webcam is at your eye level. Avoid using a phone for the interview.  

Have a glass of water within reach, along with your interview notes.  

During the Interview 

Tip 5: Take brief pauses during the interview.  

This advice comes from the author Brian Tracy, who reassured his readers that this is a tactic that can be learned with practice. 

“Pause for 3 to 5 seconds after making one of your main points or finishing a story,” Tracy suggested.

Short pauses will allow you to slow down and take a deep breath, which helps you manage any nervousness you may be feeling.  

“In music, all of the beauty is contained in the silences between the notes,” Tracy wrote. “The pause will give the audience time to ponder your message and connect with you. It will also help you slow down so that you are not speaking too quickly or rambling off-topic.” 

Tip 6: Be ready to ask your interviewers questions. 

When you’re invited to an interview with a prospective client, visit their company’s LinkedIn page and website. Jot down any questions that come up and prepare to ask them during your interview. 

You could ask your interviewer about their company’s learning and development opportunities, for instance.  

“Interviewers are looking for commitment and purpose. First, you’ll need to know the route you want your career to take. Second, read through the role outline and pick out where your career goals and this role (you’re applying for) align,” advised Rox Gaspar, a Senior Talent Acquisition Officer for TOA Global. 

“Third, ask your interviewer what your career progression could look like. An interactive interview is always more memorable.” 

After the Interview 

Tip 7: Get your character references ready. 

You want to sustain the momentum that a successful job interview creates. One way to do that is to organize a file of the requirements that are typically required before you can begin a new job. These can include:  

  • your registration numbers from the Bureau of Internal Revenue, Social Security System, Home Development Mutual Fund or Pag-IBIG, and Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth);  
  • a clearance from the National Bureau of Investigation; and 
  • a Certificate of Employment from your latest employer, if applicable. 

Speak with a former colleague in the latest company you worked with, particularly your previous supervisor or a leader within the HR team. Ask for their permission to share their work email and phone number with companies you are applying to join.  

TOA Global uses an online reference-checking tool to make this step easier and faster both for you and your referees.  

Tip 8: Practice self-care throughout the job search and application process.  

Waiting to find out whether or not you got a job can be a stressful time.  

What will help: give yourself a fixed amount of time each day (say, 2 to 3 hours) to check your LinkedIn and email. Scrolling for an indefinite amount of time might only make you more anxious.  

Get enough sleep. Setting the same time each day for going to bed or waking up will help. Limiting your caffeine intake and getting at least 20 minutes of aerobic exercise (walking, running, swimming) each day will also help decrease anxiety. 

If your job interview goes well and you accept a subsequent job offer, TOA Global will pay for the medical checkup that forms part of your pre-employment requirements.

Once you join the company, you will be protected by a private medical insurance benefit, in addition to the government-mandated Philhealth coverage.

Since 2013, TOA Global has placed more than 3,000 accountants, bookkeepers and support team members with over 1,000 accounting and financial services firms.  

We provide industry-leading facilities and secure platforms to help team members do meaningful work that grows businesses and, in turn, creates more rewarding jobs for thousands of other individuals.

If you want to unlock your potential and grow along with the best accountants in the industry, apply to join TOA Global here.


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