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The Most Important Final Interview Questions to Ask a Candidate

The Most Important Final Interview Questions to Ask a Candidate

by Geoff Balmer

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A successful hiring decision requires a number of stages, and sometimes, multiple rounds of interviews. After weeks of shortlisting, the final interview may indicate that there is light at the end of the tunnel, but just like the first interview, asking the right questions at this final phase can be crucial to understanding if an accounting candidate is suitable. Candidates who have reached this juncture are already qualified to do the job, so with final interview questions, it’s a chance to dig even deeper. Here are four of the most important areas to focus on when carrying out a final accounting interview.

Competency-based Interview Questions

Although questions of this nature are likely to have come up in a previous interview, it’s a great time to ask more detailed and specific questions, as well as delving deeper into previous answers there may still be some question marks around. At this stage, some common interview questions to ask focus on overcoming challenges, making key (or unpopular) decisions and coping with change. These will provide insights into their thought process, leadership style and ultimately, how they would conduct themselves in the role.

Some examples include:

  • Can you describe a time when you adopted new procedures at work? What were they and how did you deal with them?
  • Tell me about a time that you made an unpopular decision at work that delivered a good result for the business.
  • Can you describe a time when you have had to deal with a team member who was not contributing 100%? How did you deal with it and what was the outcome?
  • Describe a situation when you have been under pressure at work. How did you manage this and what was the outcome?

​Implementation of Change

Asking a candidate; "From what you have learnt throughout the interview process to date, what would you change in your first month if you were offered the job?", is an opportunity to see how they would deal with various scenarios and positively bring about change. This question invites them to analyse the business constructively using what they’ve found through their proactive research and what they’ve learnt in previous interviews. A good answer will show that they have really listened, digested and visualised themselves in the role.

Look out for: What are their priorities? What and how much would they want to change? If it’s not relevant or they want to change too much, it could be a red flag. Listen to their ideas, together with how they would approach making any changes, get their point across and deal with other people.

Determining Cultural Fit

It’s widely believed that people who fit into a company culture settle in quicker, get on better with colleagues and add more value to the business. Ultimately, attitude and personality are much harder to change than skills and experience (which can be developed over time) so it’s key to employing the right person. Will they fit into the organisation? Will their values and behaviours be in line with those of the company? Ask questions to find out how they would react to tricky or difficult situations and how they would get on with colleagues and management. It’s also helpful to understand the candidate’s future career goals and decide whether they match those of the company.

Deal Breakers

The final interview is the last chance to address any deal-breakers that have the potential to unravel the whole process. Reviewing things like notice periods, holiday plans and any other requirements will ensure there are no sudden deal-breakers that come up at the last minute. If it ends up being a difficult choice in deciding between two excellent candidates, answers to these questions can sometimes help with the decision. However, if you have engaged a specialist Accounting Recruitment Agency to help, they would ensure that all parties are clear on the expectations throughout the process.

Summary

Final round interview questions are essential in establishing who will be best for the business.  Hopefully, having met with a candidate multiple times and asking a range of different questions, you will have a much better understanding of their skills, capabilities and (most importantly) whether they would be a good fit. If you’re looking for support with hiring in the Sydney Accounting market, get in touch with the team at Richard Lloyd Accounting Recruitment.

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