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Getting the Job - Interviewing Process - Speedometer

The Canadian job market is very competitive, so be prepared and understand each of the steps needed to gain employment. As well, finding a job in Canada may be very different than in your home country. During the licensing process, you can work with a licensed accountant if they take responsibility for your work.
There are many ways through which you can search for Accounting jobs.

  • Join Accounting related job-finding or networking clubs through the immigrant serving agencies.
  • Attend Accounting related career/job fairs and information sessions and regularly check the Business section of your local newspaper.
  • Seek out a mentor in the Accounting sector who would give you valuable insight and advice and probably introduce you to their professional network.
  • Have a strong and active presence on social media channels such as LinkedIn. Join Accounting related LinkedIn groups, where you can contribute content, ask questions, build connections and also study how Accounting professionals are doing in Canada.

Settlement agencies

Most settlement agencies and other immigrant-serving organizations offer help with finding job vacancies, updating your resume, writing cover letters, preparing for interviews and understanding what Canadian employers are looking for.

Click the link to find immigrant services in your area.

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Resume writing

The job market is on the rise, therefore you need to stand out. For accounting and finance resumes, the old tips might not be good enough. The industry is looking for certain traits and abilities that might be hard to articulate.

  • Have your work experience in reverse chronological order. Don’t just list responsibilities, as these days, employers want to hear about achievements, not just lists of tasks. Task lists will not make you stand out from the crowd.
  • Below your contact information, include a statement that clearly outlines your objective in the accounting profession, your career goals and/or your interests in the accounting field. Include titles that pertain to the accounting industry as well as titles that show your competencies in computers, tax programs, management, leadership, etc.
  • If you are an experienced accountant, list your professional experience at the top of your resume; if your experience is not that comprehensive, list your experiences further down.
  • If you are an experienced accountant, include a summary of your qualifications below your objective. Using between three and ten bullet points, describing your accounting-career accomplishments in terms of results.
  • List your education in reverse chronological order. Make sure to include the following: subjects studied, educational institutes attended and their location, dates of graduation, any professional qualifications held.
  • It is preferable to have your resume reviewed by an employment counsellor or job developer before you start sending out your resume and applying to jobs.

Interview techniques

informational_interviews

Many interviews in the Accounting sector are Competency Based and Behavioral. The interviewer(s) will try to discover how your behavior in a past activity may influence your performance in the job going forward.

Most interviews for Accounting positions will follow a standard structure which includes: Introduction, Setting the Scene, Exploration, Selling and Closure.

Naturally, questions will vary depending on the employer, the level of job you are applying for, the amount of accounting experience you have, the recommended recruiting policy and the personal preference of the interviewer.

Training and Qualifications: Expect questions exploring your accountancy training, study plans to become a certified accountant, qualifications and your understanding of accounting terminology and practice in Canada.

Core Competencies: This relates to key skills required such as your ability to have good analytical and numerical skills, ability to work to tight deadlines, to demonstrate effective communication and ability to deliver quality and accurate output.

Personality and Motivation: How you see your accountancy career developing and the steps you intend to take to develop your finance skills.

If you are applying for more senior Finance positions, expect questions exploring your ability to motivate and develop a team of accountants or clerical staff, your ability to build relationships and to generate income streams.

Accounting interview questions can be very specific or can be very general however your answer will need to demonstrate a broad range of skills. This will be even more important the higher you progress on the career ladder.

Below are sample questions you might encounter in Accounting jobs, as well as for jobs such as: Bookkeeping and cashier roles, Analysts and Auditors, Management, Financial and Project Accountants, etc.

  • ‘Tell me about the advantages and disadvantages of the different Accounting packages you have used recently.’
  • ‘Describe a time when you had to work exceptionally hard to provide great service to a customer or client. What did you do and what was the outcome.’
  • ‘Give me an example of the different approaches you have used when persuading your team, colleagues or manager to agree with your views.’
  • ‘Talk me through an example of how you have used data to improve your teams productivity.’

In addition to preparing for questions you might be asked during interviews, you should also work on coming up with questions you might want to ask the interviewer. Reading up on a company makes it easier to craft questions that come across as well informed and showcase your interest in the company.

Below are some of the questions that, if asked, could lead to an invitation to come back for another round of interviews, or, even better, as an employee.

  • What opportunities and tools are available to me at the firm as I move through this practice and expand my career?

The interview is a good opportunity to dig into details of how you can get from point A to point B at the firm, like moving from senior associate to managing director. Asking about career paths shows that you are forward thinking, that you are really focused on your career and able to grow and develop, especially somewhere within the firm.

  • What kind of clients will I get to work on? What industries would I have the opportunity to cover?

Clients are considered “the bread and butter” of corporations, so showing a keen interest in who the clients are is significant.

  • Corporate culture is prized at many of the top accounting firms and using the interview as an opportunity to get past the company’s blanket statement about values is fair game. What is the best way to get a true sense of the company culture? Ask your interviewer why he or she works there and what keeps them there.

Informational Interviews

An information interview is a brief (20–30-minute) meeting that you schedule with a person who is currently working in your industry to learn more about that particular industry.
You should not try to get a job during an informational interview but rather find out whether or not a particular position or industry might be a good fit for your interests and your personality. An informational interview with a contact from your network can be an excellent source of career information because, in addition to basic information about a particular type of industry (such as you might find on a company Web site), it also offers you the benefit of a professional’s first-hand experiences and impressions.

Networking

Networking is an essential tool that may give you job leads, offer you advice and information about a particular company or industry, and introduce you to others so that you can expand your network.
Good places to network are gatherings such as conferences, association luncheons, and chamber mixers for their convenience in meeting people, building relationships, and sharing information.
LinkedIn.com is another important professional tool for networking. It is great for reconnecting with your ex-colleagues and employers, search by company, search for jobs, and get introductions and recommendations.
You can also mingle with people in the accounting sector and join some related professional groups.

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