Whether you’re employing a freelancer into full-time work, hiring a new graduate with limited hands-on experience or looking to recruit somebody who has been working in the industry for many years, there are some specific questions that you should be asking.
Of course, there are the generic strengths versus weaknesses and ‘tell me about a time when…’ kind of questions that do serve a very valuable purpose but working in the finance industry calls for something a little more in-depth.
An accountant, for example, requires a certain set of skills, specific qualifications and an aptitude for accuracy. So, here are five questions we suggest adding to your next job interview agenda when you’re looking to recruit within the finance and accounting industry.
What training qualifications do you have?
From AAT to ACCA, you need to look out for the right qualifications. This will be listed on the applicant’s CV no doubt but it’s still worth asking to investigate their level of understanding in more depth.
Are you willing to work long, flexible and/or additional hours?
When it comes to the tax return season and crucial deadlines, it is usually all hands to the pump. If you’re going to meet important due dates and ensure all accounts are in order as and when they should be, you need somebody who is going to be willing to go that extra mile when called upon.
How is your work ethic similar to our own company ethos?
Establishing whether somebody is happy to work flexibly according to requirements is a great way to tap into their work ethic. You can explore this deeper by asking them how they think their attitude towards things like precision, customer service, growth and personal development align with your company’s own approach.
This is also a less intimidating way of finding out whether they’ve done their research around who you are and what you do ahead of the interview.
What measures do you take to reduce the risk of error?
Precision, accuracy and thorough attention to detail is paramount from an employee within the finance and accounting industry. The room for error is pretty unforgivable so you’re going to need somebody who is not only aware of this, but also puts processes in place to minimise the risk of mistake.
Are there any gaps in your skill set you’re looking to fill?
You obviously need to establish what the candidate knows and what they don’t, but finding a way of doing this without putting the interviewee on the spot and making them feel uncomfortable can be tricky. Asking them which skill gaps they’re looking to work on puts a more positive, optimistic spin on it and helps you figure out whether they have sufficient experience or not.