How to Ace Job Interviews for Accounting and Payroll Administration Careers

Whether it is in a government department, a new start-up, or a well established business, payroll and accounting professionals are in demand. A good cover letter and resume can introduce you to a potential employer and get you in the door for an interview. But what should you do to actually prepare for the interview?

When you meet a potential employer, you get to show off your expertise and highlight your achievements. You will bring knowledge and skills to the table, but you must be able to talk about these things with confidence, clarity and relevance.

When you join Canadian Business College, our Career Services department will help with job interview preparation. The individualized career counselling you’ll receive both as a student and after you graduate will also keep you informed about job postings, internships and placements, and provide you with professional development workshops.

With all of this preparation, you’ll be a strong candidate and ready to impress potential employers. Here are a few other ways you can prepare for your next payroll and accounting job interview.

Background Research

The roles you consider might be similar to one another, and most will cover skills you learned in your accounting and payroll administration courses. However, knowing the specific profile of the company is crucial to doing well in the interview. Visit the company’s website and be prepared to summarize the business objectives or functions of the organization. This demonstrates that you have invested time into learning about the company and that you care about where you work.

The time you spend researching a potential employer will pay off in the interview
The time you spend researching a potential employer will pay off in the interview

While you research the company, you will also want to research the specific position for which you have applied. Do you recognize all of the responsibilities and requirements? If there is anything you are not sure about, look it up and prepare questions. This will allow you to talk about the position in a well-informed way and knowing what questions to ask shows that you have a nuanced understanding of the job.

Practice, Practice, Practice        

For those pursuing accounting and payroll administration careers, there are standard questions and types of questions you can anticipate in most interviews. Ask a friend, classmate or family member to ask you some standard interview questions so you can rehearse your answers aloud. This will help build confidence as well as help you recall your answers under pressure.

A few example questions to prepare are as follows:

  • Why do you want to work for this company?
  • Which payroll systems are you familiar with?
  • Can you tell me a little about yourself?

The questions will range from getting to know you to making sure you have the skills necessary for the job. Also, if the salary is not listed in the job description, or it is presented as a range, be prepared to answer a question about salary expectations.  

Review Your Payroll Administrator Training and Past Work Experiences

Some employers use what is called “behavioural interviewing” techniques. Another way of putting this is that an employer may want to know how you deal with challenges or conflict. Find examples of learning experiences or challenges, from your past work and educational experiences, that demonstrate your skills, values and interests as related to the job.

Even if a past work experience is not in payroll, it can still help show your good qualities
Even if a past work experience is not in payroll, it can still help show your good qualities

If you are prepared with real-life situations you faced in the past you will have the chance to highlight your personality, problem-solving skills and your ability to work with a team or to be self-motivated. This kind of awareness about past experiences can make the difference between you standing out as an adequate candidate and an excellent one.

Are you interested in payroll administrator training?

Find out more from Canadian Business College today.

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