A Mock Interview Walk-through to share.

本文发表在 rolia.net 枫下论坛I would like to share a re-cap notes on a recent mock interview. Hope it helps those who wish to discuss interview skills. This is not a cover all list, just some popular concerns we have been discussing so far.Your comments, suggestion, addition are very welcome.

Before we start, let’s practice this structure in describing things

Step 1: overview statement
Step 2: STAR (Situation/environment/background, Task, Action, Results)
Or GAP (how should it be done, what I did, what was the gap, what did I do about the gap, and the results? my lessons learned?)
Step 3 (optional): Tell a story if you can, be brief and clear, do not digress too much.
Start with “For example….”
Step 4: Conclude and tie back to JD. (Never forget to conclude/emphasize/connect with your target job requirement)
Step 5 (optional) lessons learned/ personal reflection

Making a confident entrance and break the ice

- Make sure you appear at first sight with moderate confidence, a bright smile, say hello, shake hands firmly and introducing yourself. E.g. “Hello, my name is @@@. Very nice to meet you”.
- When you close the door, do not turn around, always make sure your front body face the interviewer all the time.
- When sitting down, make sure space between you and interviewer is appropriate, not too close. Sit straight and smile.
- 10-second icebreaker is important. “You have a nice office!” “Thank you for having me here today.” “The weather has been quite pleasant lately and I am glad I am here!”

Introduce yourself with a character and tell your life story in brief and in order

- Focus on DIFFERENTIATED TRAITS of yourself, tell in time sequence.
- “ I was born and raised in China. I was originally trained as @@@ for @@@ and had extensive experience working in the @@@ industry (hopefully this industry is similar to the recruiting company’s industry).
- I moved to Canada with my family in 2003 and decided to become a professional accountant.
- I first worked with @@@ company as @@@ and then as @@@ with @@@ company. These companies are specialized in the @@@ industry and good accounting management to provide financial data for management decision has always been critical. These @ years of accounting experience gave me good opportunity to familiarize myself with daily work in the full accounting cycle.
- In addition, I enrolled in the CGA program and now I have completed @% of the process. I look for the next level of challenge to mature as a professional accountant.
- In my spare time, I enjoy organizing my home, exercising at the gym, and play games with friends. (I mention these three things because it show the quality the job calls for: organized, energy to destress, and team work)

A/P and A/R experience

- From @@@ to @@@, I worked as an A/P clerk with @@@ company.
- @@@ company is in the @@@ industry. A/P work can be very detailed and complicated since it depends on a wide network of suppliers.
- A typical A/P accountin cycle I took care of goes like this: first, @@@ ,second, @@@ then, @@@, finally @@@ (describe a typical AP process, do research, talk to experienced ppl if you do not know enough, undertstand them on a hight level, esp the "why"
- The key in this process is the three-way match of invoice, PO and receiving documents. At @@@ company, in particular, ……
- Same structure in talking about your AR experience.

Information System

- I used @@@ accounting system when I was with @@@ company.
- I find it a very user-friendly application because….
- The challenge was….
- What I did was….
- Through daily problem solving like this, I gradually became proficient in this system and was able to coach new staff as well.

CGA Experience

- Enrolling in the CGA program was one biggest and best decisions I have made. So far, I am very proud of myself that I have successfully moved onto level @, which means I am about @% complete in this process towards my final designation.
- I have completed courses including @@@ (name only the ones the interview will be interested in)
- My biggest benefit from this process is @@@ because it helps me to put together everything I have done at work into a bigger picture of a general accounting cycle. Not only have I learned about journal entries of key transactions, but also broadened my knowledge in key accounting controls, financial reporting and tax planning for small business corporations.
- What I still need to do is @@@ I plan to use my spare time to complete them by @@@. Hopefully, all my knowledge will make a significant contribution to my new role with your company.

Career Goal

- I see myself working as a senior accountant in 5 years, having sufficient knowledge and experience to assist the controller, not only in daily accounting procedures, but also in assisting her/him preparing financial reporting and management reporting information to support management decision.
- Compared with others, I am particularly strong in @@@ and I figured this skill is what you may be particularly look for in candicates. So I am confident that I will be a good fit for this position.

Dealing with Deadline

- I have always worked in a deadline-driven environment and I think a few things have helped me work well under deadline.
- First, I think it is critical is understand the reason for deadline. If I do not understand, I talked with my supervisor or colleagues. I think it is important that every team member understands the importance of meeting the deadline. In this way, we can hand over work to the next hand not only on a timely basis but also with good quality.
- Another thing that has helped me is to plan my work well and prioritize tasks. What is urgent and what is important can sometimes rank tasks differently. I make sure I consult my supervisor on what should be my top priority and understand why it should be so. Then I proceed with a clear plan and keeps communicating with team mates and my supervisor.
- Overall, I think these two important habits have helped me deal with deadlines very well.

Customer Service

- Describe the environment, who are your customers? What do they need?
- What is one particular challenge? (give example)
- How did you handle it?
- Any positive feedback from customer/boss/colleagues? Achievements?
- Looking back, I think, in a @@@ (e.g. manufacturing) environment, the key in customer service is…


- Name a weakness not too big not too superficial. Examples can be, you may not be the most articulate accountant among your colleagues.
- Why do you think being articulate is important in your work environment?
- What is your status quo?
- What action plan you made to improve? How did you do it? How have improved so far? What is left to be done in the year ahead?
- Examples of your action plan can be : read books on skills to present briefly, brilliantly and invite discussion. Even though things do not come to my mind as well as well trained executives, I tried to write down key points to train myself for what I need to talk about and what I do not need to talk about. How I can be to the point and say things clearly. I know I am not there yet, but compared with the start, I have made significant progress. I think so long as I stick to my goal and keep learning and practicing, I will be a good communicator and presenter in the near future.

Make a smooth exit and open for future contacts

- Ask “ Are there any other questions I can answer for you?” or if you have established rapport with the interviewer, directly ask “ Do you have any concerns over my qualifications”?
- Ask what is the next
- Ask for name card
- Firmly and briskly stand up, smile, shake hands again, thank them for taking the time to meet you
- Say I look forward to hearing from you, loud, and very confident
- Proper exit body gesture, stil make sure your front body faces the interviewer as you exit.更多精彩文章及讨论,请光临枫下论坛 rolia.net
Sign in and Reply

Replies, comments and Discussions:

  • A Mock Interview Walk-through to share. A Mock Interview Walk-through to share.
    • mark. ths
      • 每次都从您的文章受益. 非常感谢您还有其他几位资深的财务人士分享经验. 谢谢!
        • 非常感谢分享这个宝贵的interview tips, 收藏作为我的interview 宝典。Thanks a lot!
    • 我注意到你多次提到 “make sure your front body faces the interviewer ' 为什么的?? 可以解释的详细一些么?谢谢。
      • 是礼貌和自信得表现,我想
      • 西方人对身体语言传送的个人信息比较看重。对respect,confidence 和attitude很在意。我们对此可能没有那么多注意。我对此有时候也觉得别扭:比如握手的力度,我是比较柔和型的,所以握手比较轻且不干脆,这一点被朋友揪正很久,反复练习。习惯了就好了。
        • 有意思。中高职位的财会人往往需要向工作中的对方传递的规则、规定及其对规则规定的执行,所以CONFIDENCE自信是从事职业的必要条件。自信的握手正传递了这样的个人素质。低职位的财务人,特别是小公司兼做ADMIN, 往往更多从事辅助的工作,柔弱一点或许是优势也说不定。
        • 你不更新那个走得更远得帖子啦,我板凳都坐穿了
          • 沉得找不到了,正好懒得找了。你还想知道什么?我觉得都交代完了:-)
            • 我想知道很多啊,呵呵。其实最重要的是你怎样吸引并征服对方的,比如你曾经得职位比现在的要高,然后你离开了职场一段时间生孩子,我想也该有个3两年才能生几个孩子吧:-),这些看来对你的竞争合适性不是很有利,怎么搞掂他们?
              • 很简单,生孩子期间我一直在读MBA+CMA,还没有毕业就开始找工作。所以只提了读书没有提生孩子。生孩子前我一直在加拿大工作。一切都很符合逻辑。即使提生孩子也没什么,谁都有这个人生阶段,如果一个公司连这点气量都没有,不值得为它工作。
                • 大家还是把注意力放在楼主的帖上,很有价值一读的帖。上面很多小TIPS,我面试的时候不知不觉其实也做了,很有效。
    • Mark !
    • 顶!想再听听关于good questions to ask的高见,先谢过了
    • 哪位能出来给说说director,VP level interview PLEASE?
      • Won't be too much technical.
        • 这个大家都知道吧。 希望看到象楼上一样具体的东西。
          • It depends on the role you applied.
            • This is funny. If you say something almost equals to saying nothing, kindly skip my post -- or shall I thank you for lifting up my post?
              • Then, ignore my posting if it's not helpful.
      • toysrus,有人找!
        • 真是哪壶不开提哪壶。
      • 想应聘这些职位(大公司的)的人可能不会到这里来取经。因为这样的人才基本都具备非常强的自我准备和修复能力,且内心非常自信,一般水平的人可能帮不到他们。而且我相信你可能也不是这样的人选,因为这样的人即使内心可能自大但是表现非常谦逊,不会用这样的发问挑战大众,
        • 很是奇怪哪里显得我在挑战大众?是不是某个职位的人选也没有请您做评判。
          Director/VP level 在许多公司不过就是中级管理,designation 之后5年就已具备经历和能力胜任。我知道这里高人其实很多,只不过不是每个都经常发言。
          • 那么我们说的实在不是一个重量级上的人。如果你要诚心请教,就不要摆出一副shut up别人的姿态。说实话,就这一点,我认为就算你有10年资历,也没有资格去应聘那样的职位。
            • 越是大公司头衔就越被inflated, 您不知道?我不会shut up真正有能力又愿意提供有益信息的人。
              “说实话,就这一点,我认为就算你有10年资历,也没有资格去应聘那样的职位” -- 您急什么,网上的东西,挑有用的看,找感兴趣的聊,没必要这么较劲吧。
              • 你这样问别人的确很难回答你嘀。
              • 长期在这个坛子里的人都知道,我是最不喜欢和人较劲的,话不投机的时候,我就走开了,反正损失的不是我。但是我比较不欣赏一言堂,尤其是什么也不做还叫别人闭嘴的人,都到了加拿大,还来唯我独尊那一套?
                • About Communication About Communication
                  本文发表在 rolia.net 枫下论坛In life, the ability to communicate makes all the difference between success and failure. To have a designation is merely a step stone in one’s career. In the past few weeks, during the interview process, some people with over 10 years post qualified experience won’t meet the criteria of a SFA. The reason: communication.

                  When one tries to move up in corporate ladder, the importance is to exhibit the leadership skill which includes to listen, to inspire, to partner with people who might have a different viewpoint, to have a general maturity, to have a vision and value, to be persistent, and to have sensitivity etc.

                  After a successful interview, we land a job and start a career. .. Then what? In our day to day, have we demonstrated leadership traits to prove we are ready for next step? How much do we understand our corporate culture and the value? Have you set up your objective this year or maybe in 3 years? How you are tracking against it? Have you thought about what you can do or you want to do if your CFO asks you today? One of the questions I have asked a candidate: Why you want to become a Director or VP, the title or the money or the power? Ask yourself, am I ready to answer. Can you handle the responsibilities associated with your title?

                  The wonderful thing about this forum is so many people are sharing their experience. A lot of senior people are volunteering their time and effort to reach out to help. I have learned a lot from this forum and this site. I hope we all feel the same way with great appreciation.更多精彩文章及讨论,请光临枫下论坛 rolia.net
                  • Well Said, 顶!
                  • 写得好!
                    • 真不知道好在哪里。满篇的BIG WORD TELL YOU WHAT? 如果一个人designate 10年还在申请SFA, 已经证明TA并不很CAPABLE, At least, lact of the ability to advance his/her career at a reasonable pace.
                      • 你对于成功的标准太绝对化了--这也是作为一个好的管理人员的大忌。我知道的就有很著名的公司有几个泰斗级的engineer一辈子都没有走管理路线,是senior engineer.后来公司为了标识他们对世界这个领域和行业及公司的贡献,给了个Distinguished Engineer的头衔.
                        在基层工作的人员,可能对技能要求很高,而到了越高的级别,一些综合性的技能,包括communication skills就是很关键的了。
                        • 会计和工程完全不同。没有管理意识,就算把GAAP倒背如流也只能是super bookkeeper, not accountant.这就是为什么现在,大公司都开始把簿记 的功能转移到low labor cost country.
                          The "UP or OUT" rule, you should know from day one you became a professional accountant!
                          • 每个人对“成功”的定义都不同。
                            记得两年前公司的Annual Financial Officer Conference请来的一位guest speaker就问过officers这个问题“How do you define success?”接着TA告诉了大家一个故事,about a young lady, who was a CFO for a small but on going business,这个故事很让人深思。。。
                          • 看到这里,我基本上可以判断你是思维比较单一和偏激的。这样的人的优势是如果认准一个正确的方向,比较容易一鼓作气地成功,劣势是比较容易孤芳自赏。所以我认为你有保留自己看法的权利,但是我不打算和你再讨论这个话题,
                  • some people with over 10 years post qualified experience won’t meet the criteria of a SFA.---definately that candidate may have some issue to keep him/her at the SFA level with 10 years post qualified experience
                    --给这样的Candidate 面试,或者你对自己提供的职位没有信心, 或者你有足够的工作时间可以浪费, 还有一种可能我不说了。