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Career Counselor
Job Interview Do's and Don'ts


July 2008 The job interview is your opportunity to show a company that you're a uniquely qualified, skilled and well-spoken accounting and finance professional. Unfortunately, not all candidates shine in face-to-face meetings with hiring managers.



In a recent Accountemps survey, executives were asked to describe the most inappropriate behavior they've witnessed from interviewees. Following are some of the more amusing responses:

  • "One candidate was 25 minutes late for his interview and was upset with me for being annoyed by his tardiness."
  • "A person argued that the requirements for hiring were wrong – and then fell asleep."
  • "One candidate cursed."
  • "The candidate told me that she didn't want to work hard."
  • "The applicant told me he really wasn't interested in the position, but he liked that we allowed for a lot of time off."

Now that you know what not to do during an interview, here are tips to ensure you make a great first impression:

Study up. Conduct thorough research to learn as much as you can about the firm. Show you've done your homework by asking relevant questions about the organization and the open position.

Plan ahead. Know the exact location of the interview and the length of time it takes to get there. Budget enough time to arrive at least 10 to 15 minutes early. Getting your attire, briefcase and portfolio ready the night before can relieve stress and help you concentrate on what you'll say during the meeting.

Maintain good body language. What you say isn't the only thing interviewers evaluate. Watch for negative non-verbal messages such as crossing your arms, avoiding eye contact and nervously nodding.

Stay on track. Stay on point with the questions you're asked. Focus on heralding the work-related abilities that make you a top-notch candidate. Don't over-answer by speaking ill of former bosses or rambling about your personal life.

Remain poised and professional. Even if you sense the interview could be going better, stay positive and personable. Your perception might be vastly different from the interviewer's.

The job interview is your chance to show an employer that you'll make an invaluable addition to the payroll department. By following the best practices highlighted above, you'll be well positioned to impress hiring managers and land desirable job offers.

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ACCOUNTEMPS is the world's first and largest specialized staffing service for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. For more information about Accountemps, a division of Robert Half International, visit www.accountemps.com.

2008 SmartPros Ltd. All rights reserved.

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