Friday, October 4, 2013

Young Professionals Corner: Acing the Interview

Editor's note: This is the latest in a series of guest posts from young VSCPA members dealing with topics of interest to young professionals. If you'd like to write or have a topic you'd like a future blogger to cover, please email VSCPA Academic & Career Development Coordinator Tracey Zink.

By Alice Yeh

With the plethora of interview workshops and seminars, it’s difficult to pinpoint the key
factors in a successful interview with a 300 word limit. Everyone is fully aware of the general expectations of an interview- conservative and professional appearance, knowledge of the company and position, and a solid handshake. However, I have condensed my multitude of advice into one mindset: professional comfortability.

There are three steps in achieving this mindset. The first is appropriate preparation. It is possible to over prepare. Research is necessary but avoid memorizing a script. Your interviewer is not seeking an actor but a proficient accountant. The second is the golden silence. Don’t be afraid of taking time to think. It shows that you aren’t simply reciting what you prepared the night before that will be recycled for that next interview scheduled that afternoon. The third, last and most important is to smile. Contrary to common belief, accountants are not caged in a cubicle all day. So flaunt your personable and eager smile.

Once you have achieved professional comfortability, you will be able to stop constantly flustering about what to say next and instead focus on learning more about the company and position. A good interview is a conversation and a conversation is two sided. Interview your interviewer and get the most from your interview while leaving an impression of authenticity.

Alice Yeh is an accounting graduate student at the University of Virginia's McIntire School of Commerce. She is an associate at KPMG.

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