An essential part of making a good impression at interview is dressing smart. Dressing formally shows that you are serious about the role, are ambitious and are respectful of the business itself. Wearing a shirt and tie with trousers and polished black shoes or a smart blouse and trousers/pencil skirt is a good way to go.
Making sure your body language is open and confident is another method of communicating that you are reliable. Nodding your head occasionally shows that you are actively listening.
Think about your transferrable skills. If you have ever analysed data or had to have strong numerical skills in previous experience or education make sure you emphasise this both on your CV and at interview. Mention any use of problem solving skills and computer software you have used such as using spreadsheets or formulas on Microsoft Excel.
Interview Preparation Tasks
- Read the Interview Confirmation email thoroughly. Familiarise yourself with the location that your interview will take place at. Check transport times. Read through any extra details or helpful advice in the email ton help you prepare.
- Research the company you are interviewing for the position at. Look at their website and social media accounts. Find out who founded the company and when. Find out exactly what the company does. Find out who their clients or customers are. Find out 3 facts and features about the company that interest you
- Have 2 open questions prepared to ask the employer about their company.After you have researched the company prepare at least two questions to ask the employer about the company. Make sure you aren’t asking questions that are already answered on the website. Don’t asked closed questions (questions that can be answered with a yes or no).
- Study the Job Description and think about what your transferrable skills are.
Consider what would be expected of you in the role on a day to day basis and review your work experience and the skills you have previously gained. Work out which skills you have that would benefit the company and keep these in mind when you are talking about what you can bring to the company.
- Research the company’s competitors if they have any. Being able to give suggestions and ideas for improvement at the company is a great way to show you are informed and proactive.
Talk a little about your personality and related interests, mentioning any awards or achievements. Don’t over share information about yourself but don’t give too short an answer.
Give an overview of the company whilst mentioning some facts that you learned about them to show you researched the company before the interview.
Implement your research on the company into your answer, for example, mentioning any recent projects the company have undertaken or company ethics.
AAT roles may require recording data and displaying your results in order to evidence your findings. Discussing an experience where you have had to do this and have had positive feedback is a good way to show confidence in this area
Reflecting on an example of prioritising tasks during a heavy workload is a positive way to show competency in a role and demonstrates organisational skills.
Talk about any relevant software packages you have used, for example Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint. Any technical office systems that you have had previous use or an overview of would also be advantageous.
In accountancy and finance it is important to be precise. Mentioning an experience where you came across mistakes and had these corrected and how you ensured this didn’t happen again is beneficial. Without an example you can also discuss how proof reading and establishing thorough checking takes place within a team is essential.
Strengths – Mention two or three strengths (for example, communicating effectively, time management and organisational skills) and give an example of one of them.
Weaknesses – This is where you can show you are honest, can self-evaluate and are keen to improve. Choose a positive aspect of your personality and mention how this can be slightly detrimental.
Think about the business as a whole and positions you could progress to within, taking into account your wider ambitions. Most employers want to hire someone with drive and determination so don’t be afraid to set your goals high.
Before the interview be aware of how much the role offers on the job description and research salary expectations in this sector based on those in positions that have similar experience to yourself.
Although this is slightly personal this gives the employer an insight into yourself as a person as well as the roles you may wish to progress to. For example, motivation to build a successful career or provide more for your family etc are both acceptable answers.
Be honest about your reasons for leaving your last role but mentioning wanting a career with more opportunities for progression or how the role you are interviewing for is a much better fit for you and why is often in line with what the employer is looking for as an answer.
Use this time to ask questions about the business, daily operations or their expectations of you as an employee in this role. Do not ask questions about the company that could have been answered previously with an online search. Aim to ask open ended questions that won’t result in the employer just giving a yes or no answer.