Researching the Company
Why Research the company?
- To get up to date on the company's background and specifics, the industry and its position in the industry, its business, goals, operations, products or services, size, competitors and differentiation to competitors.
- To understand company issues, determine the company's problems or challenges - these are great interview questions.
- To put you ahead of other candidates going for the role by showing your interest and ability to get a grasp of their business and industry and understand any issues at hand.
What to Research?
A recently qualified accountant is not expected to be an expert on any particular company or industry sector however, you should be aware of any headlining information.
- Industry, revenues, number of employees and the name of the top executive, public or private.
- Public companies usually release company information to the public via their web site. Download their annual report (usually through Adobe) from their website or ask them to mail you a copy.
- For smaller private companies, review their web page, perform Google and Yahoo searches. Your FK International recruitment consultant will typically be able to help you with the research on private companies.
- Search for the company and the people you will be meeting with on Linkedin
- Ensure that you know the exact time and location of the interview and the route to take. Allow plenty of time in case of travel delays.
- Arrive on time or a few minutes early, but not too early. If you arrive earlier than planned go for a walk or review your notes. You should not arrive more than 10 minutes before the appointment.
- If you are going to be even slightly late, always call ahead to apologise and let the interviewer or your FK International know that you are delayed.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Put time aside prior to your interview and think through how you're best going to answer these questions:
1. Tell me about yourself?
This is a conversation starter and is nearly always asked. Talk about your qualifications, career history and range of acquired skills. Particular emphasis should be put on those skills that are most relevant to the position you are interviewing for. Have a brief story to tell about yourself. “I graduated from UCD with a BComm in 200 and have been training with xyz for 3.5 years. I have had the opportunity to work on some interesting audits...”
2. What are your strengths?
A very common question, so be prepared. The Interviewer wants to know what you’re good at. Tell him/her or the interview panel. This is your opportunity to shine! Back it up by positive feedback or success stories, try to tailor strengths to the position you are interviewing for
3. What are your weaknesses?
The interviewer doesn’t really want to know your weaknesses but everybody has weaknesses so don’t say none. This tricky question is usually asked to see how you’re going handle it. Be positive “I am still learning the advanced functions of Excel” or “I have had limited exposure to Sarbanes Oxley”. Do not elaborate unless asked. Think of some minor area for improvement.
4. What are your salary expectations?
We recommend that you give details of your current salary and say that it is more about the role or that you are looking for a reasonable increase.
5. Reasons for leaving positions?
Always be honest and always be positive! Never bad-mouth a previous employer. You are leaving in order to further your career, widen your experience etc.
6. Do you have any questions for me?
Prepare two to three well thought out questions about the company and the position.....
7. The Job & Working in the Company
- Could you describe a typical work day for me?
- What challenges do you see the person you hire facing?
- What changes, if any, would you like to see this person implement?
- Ask about the position: I see that this position requires knowledge of Hyperion, what type of forecasting...? Why is the position available now?, Was there anyone in this position before?
8. State of The Industry & Company
- Show interest in the company: “I read that you are working on a drug to treat xyz, what stage is it in.” “How much interaction do you have with the offices in …”
- What developments on the horizon could affect future opportunities?
- What are the goals of this company/department over the next one to two years?
9. Money and Advancement
- We would not suggest that you bring up salary unless asked. If asked let them know where you are currently and then mention it is more about the role/company. Leave it to your recently qualified expert to do the negotiations!!!
- Can you describe the advancement opportunities within the firm for someone coming in at my level?
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Format of the Interview
Your FK International recruitment consultant will advise you on the format of the interview.
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Always dress professionally, wear a suit. On occasion, your FK International recruiter may advise you to dress semi-casually depending on the company, role and person you're interviewing with. As a general rule, wear a suit unless told otherwise. Have a professional attitude and demeanour.
People tend to speak faster when at interview, relax and speak normally.
Shaking Hands at start and end of interview
Give a good handshake, firm but not too firm and remember nobody likes a weak handshake or broken fingers!!
Avoid turning away, looking up to the ceiling or to the left and to the right.
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Both parties have different agendas and a lot to accomplish during the interview. The better prepared you are for the interview the more you both will get out of it.
To get to know you, to see how well you present yourself, to determine how well you articulate your experience and how well you interact with others, to make sure that you could actually do the job you're being interviewed for and to determine whether or not to pursue you for the job.
Be prepared to answer the most frequently asked interview questions, write out your thoughts on how you would answer these questions.
- Be prepared to answer questions about anything on your CV.
- Be ready to expand upon any bullet point and to comment about any time gaps.
- Listen carefully.
- Be positive and energetic.
To find out more information about the job, the company, the industry, the company culture, advancement opportunities and challenges in order to make a determination of whether or not it's a career enhancing move and whether or not he/she would like to pursue the role further. To get the most out of an interview we recommend that you do the following:
- Do a little research, as described above.
- Prepare two or three big picture questions about the role or company.
- Avoid having endless lists.
- Don't be late! Your recruitment consultant will give you details on who you will be interviewing with, the times, dates, location and directions. Allow enough time to deal with bus, Dart and traffic delays. In the event that you are running late contact your recruitment consultant or the interviewer right away.
- Turn off your mobile and do not put it on the table.
- When you arrive, be professional and courteous to everyone you meet with including the receptionist.
- When answering questions, try to avoid going into too much detail about what the company does, what the department does and how your current job description reads. The interviewer is more interested in what YOU have done, what you have accomplished, how you achieved it and potentially what hurdles you overcame.
- We recommend that you try to avoid Yes and No answers.
- Avoid talking negatively about your current or previous employer.
- Be prepared to answer the frequently asked questions and have your own questions ready.
- Understand what the company does, study the job spec, know who it reports to.
- Do not chew gum
- Do not look at your watch
Competency Based Interviews
Competency based interviews are extremely common. Interviewers will ask for things you have actually done that demonstrate certain key characteristics. They are an excellent opportunity to present yourself and sell your experience in a positive light. It will also give you the opportunity to demonstrate how your experience is suitable for the vacancy.
There are a number of categories of competency based questions that you can be asked. This means you are able to prepare answers in advance of your interview and you will be able to sell your experience effectively. The most effective way to convince someone you have a certain quality is to use a real life example. Your answers need to be specific and detailed. To ensure you answer a competency based question effectively, use the S.T.A.R technique. This technique will ensure you briefly tell them about the situation, what you did specifically and the positive result or outcome. Your answer should contain these four steps: Situation, Task, Action and Result.
Situation: Give an example of a situation you were involved in that resulted in a positive outcome.
Task: Describe the tasks involved in that situation
Action: Talk about the various actions involved in the situation’s task.
Result: What results directly followed because of your actions.
12 Core competencies
- Judgment/decision-making - able to make sound decisions based on information gathered and analysed. Consider all pertinent facts and alternatives before deciding on the most appropriate action.
- Teamwork /interpersonal - able to interact with people effectively. Able and willing to share and receive information. Cooperate within the group and across groups. Support group decisions.
- Quality Orientation/work standards - maintain high standards, attention to detail, accuracy and completeness. Show concern for all aspects of the job.
- Work Ethic/motivation - Energy and enthusiasm in approaching the job. Commitment to putting in additional effort.
- Reliability - take personal responsibility for job performance. Complete work in a timely and consistent manner. Keep commitments.
- Problem Analysis/problem solving - gather and organize all relevant information. Identify cause-effect relationships. Come up with appropriate solutions.
- Adaptability - adapts to changing work environment, work priorities, organisational needs. Able to deal with change and diverse people.
- Planning /organising - plan and organise tasks and work responsibilities to achieve objectives. Set priorities. Schedule activities. Allocate and use resources properly.
- Communication - express ideas effectively. Organize and deliver information appropriately. Listen actively.
- Honesty/integrity - share complete and accurate information. Maintain confidentiality. Adhere to organizational policies and procedures. Meet own commitments.
- Initiative - take action to influence events. Generate ideas for improvement, take advantage of opportunities, suggest innovations, and do more than required.
- Stress tolerance- emotionally resilient and able to withstand pressure on an on-going basis. Deal with difficult situations while maintaining performance. Seek support from others when necessary. Use appropriate coping techniques.
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Closing the Interview
If you are interested in the role, ask about the next interview stage if appropriate. If the interviewer offers you the job on the spot and you want it, verbally accept it but ask to be provided with a contract in the coming days. If you require further time to think it over, be tactful in saying so and qualify your reasons.
It is important to remain enthusiastic and courteous at all times – the final 5 minutes may not necessarily get you the job but they can certainly help you lose it. Good manners go a long way, stand when the interviewer stands, maintain eye contact and smile when saying good bye and thanking the interviewer for taking the time to meet with you.
If you feel that the interview is not going well, do not be discouraged. Sometimes this is part of an interviewer's technique to see how you perform under pressure and may have no bearing on whether you will/will not get the job. Display a positive attitude at all times.
The interview is the one thing you can control in the job search process, so put in the research and be prepared. You will feel more confident and it will go well if you are comfortable with the information and have a good knowledge of the company and the role.
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