Common Accounting Interview Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

Excelling in accounting interviews successfully demands more than a solid grasp of financial principles—it requires strategic preparation and an understanding of common mistakes.

In this post, I share some frequent mistakes candidates make during accounting interviews. Whether you’re a recent graduate or an experienced accountant, recognizing these interview mistakes can be a crucial step in advancing your accounting career.

Accounting Interview Mistakes #1: Not Researching the Company

One of the most common interview questions asked is why you want to join the company. Of course, the reality could be as simple as you having applied to 50+ job postings, and they were the ones who reached out. Being genuine is great, but being strategic on top of that is what will actually get you the job.

The only way to avoid being unprepared is to do some research on the company before your very first call, including the HR round. Almost all businesses have an online presence these days, so it shouldn’t be difficult at all to learn the basics about the company. Better yet, leverage free tools such as ChatGPT to do the legwork for you (remember to fact-check yourself).

Accounting Interview Mistakes #2: Not Asking Interviewer Questions

Remember, an accounting interview is a two-way street. This means you are interviewing the employer and being interviewed by them at the same time. Since an interviewer wouldn’t show up without questions to ask you, you should prepare three to five questions to ask them as well. The questions you ask in the interview can range from team structure and work environment to even upcoming projects. Having more than one or two questions prepared is a good idea, as some of them might be addressed during the interview naturally.

Struggling with accounting interviews? Gain the edge you need with my interview guide created for accounting. It includes 25 most common accounting interview questions and answers, interview mistakes, questions to ask, tips and more!

Accounting Interview Mistakes #3: Not Knowing What The Role Is

When I was recently on the hiring end for an accountant role, I put a lot of thought into creating the job description before sending it to HR. I did that because I wanted to maximize my chances of finding the right candidate for the job. This does not necessarily apply to every hiring manager out there because I wouldn’t be surprised to find out there are hiring managers who might not be familiar with the nitty-gritty details of their job postings (my network has stories of hiring managers showing up not knowing what they were hiring for—which was disrespectful).

To maximize your chance of presenting yourself as the most suitable candidate, make sure you study the job description beforehand. This way, your interview answers will be tailored to the role and minimize the chance of missing an opportunity to highlight a relevant skill or experience.