How to Ace Your Next Executive-Level Finance Interview

By Robert Half on May 19, 2017 at 9:00am

As you climb up the corporate ladder, your salary matures — and so does the interview process. The kinds of questions you're asked in an interview for executive-level accounting and finance jobs are clearly much different from those you faced earlier in your career.

That's why it's so important to keep your interviewing skills fresh. Even if you have several years of experience, you should rigorously prepare for the process before you start looking for your next opportunity.

The following tips can help you exceed the expectations of hiring managers when interviewing for executive-level accounting and finance jobs:

Be ready to answer tough questions. 

Interviews for executive-level positions can include situational questions that present hypothetical scenarios so the interviewer can gauge how you might react to challenges on the job. Many hiring managers also will ask for real-world examples of how you handled different situations in previous positions.

Even if you’re just answering standard questions about decisions you made on a previous project, hiring managers want to see that you're able to articulate your reasoning behind each response. If employers ask you to describe a project that didn't go according to plan at your previous job, they aren’t trying to find someone who’s never made a mistake — that person does not exist. The point of the question is to get you talking about your own critical thinking skills.

Highlight your collaborative nature.

You’ve obviously got hard financial skills down pat. Executive-level accounting and finance job descriptions are likely to focus on the need to work with other managers to move projects forward.

Your soft skills are more important than ever before at this stage in your career. In fact, hiring managers care quite a bit about making sure the people they bring into executive roles mesh well with the existing culture. A large part of the interview process is for managers to determine whether you will fit in at the company. It's not just about your skills and expertise.

Prepare for multiple rounds of interviews.

Applying for an executive-level position is usually a long process. Where you might have gotten your first job with a brief phone call and an in-person conversation, for an executive-level financial job, you will likely meet with many people from various departments over the course of several weeks. It’s important to stay engaged throughout the entire procedure and make a concerted effort to truly get to know the people you meet.

Take advantage of the time in the job interviews to pick their brains for additional insight into leadership issues or specific challenges at the company. This strategy will also help you give thoughtful, solutions-focused responses to interview questions. Research the organisation to develop specific solutions to real challenges facing the company.

Now that you're ready to ace the interview, view open senior-level accounting and finance jobs on the Robert Half website.

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Look through our interviewing resources for employers to get a better idea of what companies look for in the process.

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