Talentedge recruits newly and recently qualified ACA candidates for companies across the media, tech and consumer sectors ranging from startups to global groups. We have based our list of the top five things you should do before an interview on years of experience working with candidates looking to make their first move out of practice combined with feedback from hundreds of clients.
1) Do your research
We don’t mean just reading through the job spec! Our clients will not necessarily require you to have worked in their sector, but they will expect you to have done the research and show genuine interest. It’s worth knowing a little bit about current industry trends or issues, reading recent articles about the company or wider sector and being aware of who the company’s competitors are. You can do online research – but also use your network of contacts and ask the recruitment consultant briefing you on the role (any decent consultant will know their sector!).
2) Think about why they want you
Companies don’t recruit newly qualified ACAs because they have previous experience in that role (unless it’s an audit position) however they are looking for evidence of certain skills in key areas. Clients tell us that they specifically want candidates from a practice background because of their analytical skills and ability to review large amounts of data and draw conclusions from it, their experience of working with and presenting to senior stakeholders and their ability to focus on the detail – so think about examples where you can demonstrate that.
3) Don’t assume you should wear a suit
90% of our clients have a smart/casual or even casual dress code. It’s not unknown for candidates to be rejected because they made a bad first impression – by wearing a suit! Again a good consultant should be able to advise you on what you should wear, and while you shouldn’t aim to be the most casually dressed it’s worth remembering that many companies are looking for someone who appreciates the culture of the company and looks like they will fit in with that.
4) Remember it’s a personality as well as a skills test
The fantastic thing about accounting roles now is that many of them are increasingly business facing, so you need to demonstrate that you are the type of person that can interact successfully with a variety of stake holders across the company. Most of our clients are looking for relaxed professionalism rather than corporate formality. So concentrate on developing a warm, confident and enthusiastic communication style. You should put as much focus on trying to develop rapport as you do on communicating your skills and experience.
5) Assume you’re one of ten candidates
With all the attention you will get from recruiters when you have qualified, it’s easy to start thinking that every interview is a sure thing and that great jobs are like apples waiting for you to pick off the tree. In reality you are probably not the only candidate chasing those opportunities. There is nothing that will guarantee you don’t get the job like a dose of arrogance or complacency – so you should always approach an interview like you are one of ten rather than one of one.