What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses? I remember being asked that during one of my very first interviews post-graduation and being completely tongue-tied. Interviewing can be utterly nerve-wracking, but if you’re properly prepared you can nail your next interview!
I’ve had my fair share of interviews throughout my short career. Phone interviews, virtual interviews, in-person interviews – I’ve had them all. There have been some good ones and some bad ones. In every single interview, I’ve always been the one in the hot seat as the interviewee. But, in my most recent round of interviews, I actually got to be on the other side of the interview process as the interviewer. As we looked for the perfect candidate(s) to fill our Digital Marketing and Learning Specialist role here at GAAP Dynamics, I learned A LOT about what can set you apart from other candidates to really seal the deal. I’ve narrowed down some things I’ve learned to give you “3 DO’s and 3 DON’TS” to help you snag your dream job!
So, I’ll start with the things you should do:
1. Be Honest
While this seems somewhat obvious, I can’t emphasize enough how important honesty is during the interview. This helps both you and the company in the long-run to know if you will be a good fit for the position. Be honest about your experiences and whether or not they are relevant to the position. If you have some gaps in your resume, explain them truthfully. If you are missing key skills, explain what other things you can bring to the table – this is just as valuable. If you don’t know something, say you don’t know, but then leverage the conversation to your strengths. Honesty is always the best policy.
This also seems like a no-brainer, but research the company! Check out their website and take notes on things that stood out to you. Setting aside time to do this will help you remember what you would like to ask throughout the interview and will also allow you to weave some of your new-found knowledge into some of your answers. This isn’t cheating – it’s doing your homework. You’d be surprised how many candidates don’t do this.
3. Proofread, Proofread, Proofread
The very first impression we had of any candidate was based on their resume. That was the first thing we saw, and if there were any grammar or spelling errors, they already lost some major points from us. Make sure any written works you submit to a company are proofread. Whether it’s a resume, cover letter, email, or simply just an application – make sure to give it a fresh set of eyes to avoid any silly mistakes that may cost you a first interview.
Now, for some things you shouldn’t do:
1. Don’t Hold Back
Some of our most successful interviews were the ones that didn’t feel like interviews. They felt like conversations. Don’t be afraid to interject (politely) to clarify points or ask a question that flows with the conversation. Don’t let the interview be a one-sided conversation where the interviewer is doing all of the talking. You should do the talking too. Along with this comes the questions – never leave the interview with no questions. (Actually, you can probably add this to the “Do” list as well – “Do ask questions”). Asking questions and making conversation lets us know you’re genuinely interested in the position and will most likely push you to the next step in the interview process. Don’t hold back!
2. Don’t Forget to Say Thank You
This should be one of the very first things you do following an interview. I suggest that you don’t let more than 48 hours pass after the interview has concluded without saying “thank you”. This is probably one of the simplest and easiest things to do that makes a world of a difference in comparing you to other candidates. A survey conducted by TopResume confirmed that a job candidate’s thank-you note (or lack of a thank-you note) can impact your chances of landing a job. While an email will suffice, we were always blown away by the candidates who sent a physical thank-you note to our office. It’s the little things.
3. Don’t Just Have a Resume
My last piece of advice to interviewees would be, if possible, to submit more than just a resume. This also helped us separate a good candidate from a great candidate. Whether it’s a cover letter or an online portfolio, add something extra to make you stand out from the others. These should be good cover letters and/or portfolios. Don’t submit these just to submit them – make sure they are well-written, they display your skills/experiences, and they don’t have any spelling/grammar errors! You may be thinking, if they don’t ask for one though, do I really need one? I would still say yes. While this may be challenging and time-consuming, often a lot of applicants don’t submit these (shocker, I know). A cover letter gives you the extra space to really sell yourself, discuss things not included on your resume, and explain how you would be a good match for the job. And a portfolio allows you to share work samples that, otherwise, may never be seen.
Well, those are my 3 Do’s and Don’ts that I hope can help guide you as you navigate the interview process. All in all, I learned a lot being on the other side. I especially learned that interviewing candidates may be just as stressful as being the interviewee! I hope you find these tips and tricks helpful and stay tuned – I’m sure we will be introducing our newest DMLS team members that really impressed us during the interview process and more than likely followed all of these Do’s and Don’ts!
About GAAP Dynamics
We’re a DIFFERENT type of accounting training firm. We don’t think of training as a “tick the box” exercise, but rather an opportunity to empower your people to help them make the right decisions at the right time. Whether it’s U.S. GAAP training, IFRS training, or audit training, we’ve helped thousands of professionals since 2001. Our clients include some of the largest accounting firms and companies in the world. As lifelong learners, we believe training is important. As CPAs, we believe great training is vital to doing your job well and maintaining the public trust. We want to help you understand complex accounting matters and we believe you deserve the best training in the world, regardless of whether you work for a large, multinational company or a small, regional accounting firm. We passionately create high-quality training that we would want to take. This means it is accurate, relevant, engaging, visually appealing, and fun. That’s our brand promise. Want to learn more about how GAAP Dynamics can help you? Let’s talk!
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