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A Millennial Shares Her Interview Experiences

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Millennials and the majority of Gen-Z are just getting started on their careers as accounting professionals, which means there's likely more interviews in their future. One graduate student shares her experience with interviewing for an accounting firm with the intention of helping anyone else who's preparing for their next career move.

Jun 2nd 2021
Sift Media
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It is said that an awesome résumé gets you an interview, and a successful interview gets you an offer. Indeed, interviewing is an important skill. It involves not only expressing yourself clearly, but also communicating with your interviewer. As a current graduate student, I have had several interview experiences. There are errors and little shining points in those experiences that I would like to share with you now.   

Know Yourself 

About two years ago, I had a phone interview with a big local accounting firm for a tax internship opportunity. Because this was my first formal interview, I did a lot of homework. I checked through the possible interview questions and prepared answers, while also researching the company’s background. I found the WikiJob website was quite useful for me during my preparation.  

It took me a whole day to prepare myself. Even so, my voice was still shaking when the interview began. “Tell me about yourself in one minute. Give me an example of yourself as a team leader.” I answered these questions without hesitation because I already had them on my cheat sheet. Then the interviewer asked, “Why would you like to join our company?” I gave a two-pronged answer to the question, citing both professional advantage and the social responsibility of the company. She seemed to be satisfied with my performance so far. 

“Great, now tell me about one of your biggest weaknesses.” I didn’t expect this question, although I remembered clearly that it was on the questions list I had downloaded from the internet. Unfortunately, I didn’t prepare for this one. “Err… I am a …” This is not an easy question, because these weaknesses may prevent the interviewer from hiring me. After a long pause, I decided to say what came to my mind first: “I am a quick perso. When something isn’t done on time, I would get worried and try to finish it as soon as possible.” 

Fail. When I finished this sentence, I realized that I had lost this opportunity. You may not get a job even if you provide many excellent answers, but you can definitely ruin it with only one weak response. After that interview, I had a talk with my career coach. She said, “Take these interview questions seriously and prepare for every one of them well, if only so you know yourself as an interviewee. You may still encounter some questions that you never expected before. Don’t worry at this point; try to bring those answers you already know to prove that you are the person they are looking for.” 

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