Topics to Avoid in a CPA Interview
You’re heading into your interview for an accounting position, and for the most part, you aren’t worried. You have confidence in your skills, you have enough experience to qualify for the position, and you’ve been practicing and polishing your generic interview skills. But before you step into the hiring manager’s office, make a note: There are a few topics that it’s best to avoid in a financial interview. Don’t bring these topics up voluntarily, and if they surface on their own, move past them gracefully and quickly.
Don’t Dwell On These Interview Topics
1. Your most important mistakes
Becoming great at anything means making a few mistakes along the way. Your mistakes provided the lessons that make you valuable as an employee. But ironically, employers don’t really want to hear about them, even if they ask. If you were fired from a previous position, laid off, or reprimanded as a result of an error, failure, or oversight, focus your explanation on the positive. Talk only about what you learned from the episode, not the details of what when wrong in the first place.
2. Salary, benefits, deal breakers and deal sweeteners
Don’t attempt to alter the terms of the deal before a deal exists. For example, you may live five states away, and unless the company funds your relocation, you’re unlikely to accept the job. But even so, now isn’t the time to bring this up. If you have deal breakers, like a salary minimum, handicapped accommodation requirements, the need for comprehensive health insurance, or he need for onsite childcare, don’t talk about it now. Of course you’ll have to bring these things up before you sign any contracts or accept the job, but let the offer happen first.
3. Gossip and name dropping beyond the strictly professional
If you need to bring up the name of a mutual contact or a client your interviewer may know, keep all discussions of this person positive and short. You aren’t aware of all the relationships and politics at work, so play it safe and you’ll be less likely to accidentally insult someone. This includes organizations as well as individual people.
4. The private affairs of previous clients
Of course you would never disclose any privileged information about your current or former clients. But be clear about this with your word choices and your demeanor. Everything you do and everything you choose to say should inspire trust.
For more information about what to bring up—and what to avoid—during your industry-specific interview, arrange a meeting with the Seattle job search experts at Pace. We can connect you with leads, help you polish your presentation, and give you the tips and tools you need to land the job you want.