Accounting Interview Tips: Never Let Them Put Their Head Down

Accounting Interview Tip

A few days ago I was speaking with my wife who now works for a large public accounting firm. We were reminiscing on our University recruiting experiences and comparing the interviews we had.

I’ve mention it on the show before however, when my wife interviewed for her first accounting internship, she received 12 offers from 12 interviews. Now, that is an outlier. I asked her how she did it?

Here is the secret:

 “Simple: Never let them put their head down.”

At first I didn’t understand what she meant so I asked her to explain:

 “Well, the interviewer is given a sheet of paper with ‘required’ questions they have to ask, but it’s really supposed to just keep the conversation going. If the interviewer actually has to look at this paper, you’ve already failed. My goal was to keep the conversation going from the very moment I stepped in the room by asking them questions about themselves for most of the interview”


We all know that most people like talking about themselves, usually more than anything else. It’s just that most of the time….  no one is interested.

This whole approach reminds me of my University accounting classes. My accounting classmates and I had a goal going into each class:

Distract the teacher by asking so many interested questions, that you don’t get to the core material of the day, and the homework can’t be given.

However, I never thought to apply to the same approach to an interview, brilliant. Typically, in my class, the professor felt like they had:

  1.  Very interested students;
  2. Students who were willing to learn, and;
  3. That it was their fault the class got off course.

They felt like it wasn’t fair to hold the students accountable for the distraction, after all, aren’t they just enthusiastic about the course subject?

My wife took the same approach to her interviewers. Her results? She said that only one interview of the 12 looked down at the paper with a list of questions. She said that the interviewer was determined to fill out the paper as she appeared new to the interview process and thought she “had to”.

How did my wife do this? Well, she had about 6 years of work experience in an office as she got her first job at the age of 16. She was used to talking the corporate talk and she knew what people are expecting.

When I interviewed, I had never worked in an office. While I never consciously thought to keep the interviewer from putting their head down, I did memorized tons of questions to ask the interviewer to ensure there were no awkward pauses.

So what’s the takeaway for your next accounting interview?

  1. Get experience if you can. If my wife had worked in an office for 6 years, how could someone with no experience expect to be compared against her?
  2. Don’t let them put their head down. Keep them engaged by asking them questions about their experience at the company and things you’re really interested in and;
  3. Practice. If you have work experience or not, make sure you research the company and prepared, see my 5 part interview series here if you haven’t already.


Email me at