Become A CPA

Become A CPA

10 ways to avoid blowing a job interview with a CPA Firm

by Tracy L. White, SPHR, Senior Director of Human Resources, Clark Nuber | Mar 10, 2014
When Clark Nuber makes new hires we hope to find great people who can grow with our company and make it their long-time home. We want individuals who believe in our company's values and culture, who will enthusiastically roll up their sleeves and get the work done -- even if the work is a bit different than they originally anticipated. 

We value flexibility, adaptability and resourcefulness. Like picking a college, choosing a firm to work for is about finding the right fit. That's what we'll try to assess during the interview process: Is this job candidate the right fit for Clark Nuber? Will she or he be able to grow with us well into the future? 

That said, I'm going to outline 10 ways for the candidate to completely blow the interview -- and things they should do to ace it. Although today's college grads are part of the Millennial generation, the same advice applies to them as did for their parents (with the addition of a few items aimed specifically at technology). So, future job candidates -- don't be afraid to ask your parents for advice on how not to blow an interview. If you don't trust them, please take it from me: 

1. Know before coming in that you really want to work in public accounting. Don't apply for a job with a public accounting firm (like Clark Nuber) if you'd rather work in private industry, government or education. We'll be able to tell where your passion really lies by how enthusiastically you answer questions. 

2. Show us that you'll come to work every day with a positive attitude, prepared to succeed. I ask candidates, "How will you bring your very best to work each day?" I want to know how you're going to be a productive and consistent self-starter who continuously looks for ways to serve the client and help improve the firm. 

3. Know how to use e-mail and Excel proficiently. You are digital natives. We expect you to know how to use the Microsoft Office Suite and especially how to navigate your way around Excel. Also, know enough about Word that you don't turn in a letter composed in Excel. 

4. Customize your resume and cover letter for us. Make sure to use perfect spelling and grammar. And if you're using a similar letter to apply to more than one firm, make sure the letter to us lists our name in it instead of our competitor's name. Make sure the "objective" listed on your resume fits our organization. 

5. List your GPA. If it's not at least a 3.4 you'll likely go to the bottom of the list -- barring circumstances you can explain. 

6. Ask questions at the interview. Have a few prepared in advance. Never, ever, leave the interview without showing us - through your questions - that you truly are interested in working for us. 

7. Dress appropriately. That means business suits for both men and women. No slacks and sweaters, please. 

8. Leave your cell phone in the car or at least turn it off and don't answer it during your interview. 

9. Update your Facebook page. You are a graduating senior, not a wide-eyed freshman. Make sure your Facebook page and other social media reflect the mature person that you have become. Also, create a LinkedIn profile including a photo. 

10. Send thank you notes. It doesn't matter whether they are handwritten or sent by e-mail. Make sure to customize each for each person you interviewed with. 

We are always excited about our new employees and hope to welcome them to a long-lasting relationship with our firm!

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