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5 Ways Millennial Accountants Can Completely Blow Job Interviews

Dec 26th 2014
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Many of us remember some faux pas that we made during a job interview. But what if you, the new grad, really aren’t sure of what you’re supposed to do—or maybe more important, not do—to avoid embarrassing yourself?

Well, here you go. Digest these five don’t-do-this tips from Doug Mitchell, CEO of Argenta Field Solutions in Corpus Christi, Texas, who hires employees ranging from independent salespeople to executives and financial managers.

And just a hint: He’s 28, so he’s not some grizzled, old-fashioned guy who doesn’t understand your age group.

1. Don’t act entitled. “Not enough can be said about being humble,” Mitchell says. “I’m part of the millennial generation, but even the generation before me knew that they had to pay their dues and put in their time and put the work in.”

Today’s grads in the 22-to-30-year-old age bracket grew up in an instant-gratification world, he says. Many don’t realize how competitive the job market is. So instead of being interviewed, they’re doing the interviewing.

It’s not until they’ve gone on 10 interviews and can’t understand why they don’t get the job that they realize what they’re up against. “And one reason is that they are grilling the interviewer about job perks instead of talking about things to get the CEO ticking,” he says.

That would include questions about how they advance at that company, what their next position there would be, how they can grow as a professional, and what they’ll learn on the job to make them a better employee. “People who ask that are hungry, and they don’t feel that the degree is enough,” Mitchell says.

2. Don’t overstate your qualifications, past job position, salary, and so on. Put less politely, don’t fib, either on your resume or during the interview.

Mitchell has seen applicants lie about their past salary, as in, “I made $50,000” when it was really $46,000. “In any professional situation, integrity is the most important,” he says. “If you tell me that you developed a certain skill when you only assisted in that skill, I’ll take that as an integrity issue.”

Ditto for your previous work. If you were an administrative assistant during college vacations, that doesn’t translate into being a manager.

“I interview 20 people for one position,” he says. “Most people are either a little underqualified or a little overqualified. The resume will bring up talking points, but after you’re in the office, the resume won’t help you get the job. The interview is everything.”

3. Don’t be unprepared. You need to bring your resume and a notepad. A manager may not have had time to print out the resume attached to an email. “About 60 percent come in without it and their excuse is that they don’t have a printer or it doesn’t work,” Mitchell says.

And, absolutely do your homework about the company. Research it, the type of business it’s in, how it started, what was the problem or need it saw and how was it solved, who the stockholders are, who the clients are, and—ding, ding—who are the clients the company is seeking?

“If you go in and say that you do ‘x’ and you’ll bring in ‘y’ clients, which equals more profits or revenues, I can help you along with the rest of the team get to the next level,” he says.

Mitchell interviewed a woman who said just that, and he hired her before she left. And, because she wanted to move to Memphis, Tennessee, he opened an office there just for her.

4. Never, ever badmouth your previous employer. You’ll come across as problematic, he says, and someone who likely will complain about your current job, too.

If an interviewer asks why you left, say that you were going in different directions and needed to move on. And if you left under, shall we say, more trying circumstances, be honest. You can say what the problem was and what you did about it, what you learned, and how you remedied the issue.

“As long as you have a solution for a problem, it’s not a problem anymore,” Mitchell says.

5. Don’t underdress for the interview. We find it hard to believe that an accounting candidate would show up in jeans and a T-shirt, but who knows. “Take your dress a step above for the company,” Mitchell advises. “It should be at least business casual with a blazer.”

Remember, you’re there to impress. And that old thing about first impressions? It’s true. “We’re still human,” he says.

Related article:

5 Ways You Can Wow the Partner During the Job Interview

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By Andrew Pennington
Jun 26th 2015 01:11

Great article but not my kind of title. Might want to reword title a bit.

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By jennyo
Jun 26th 2015 01:11

Though, the title did grab my attention....

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