People like to be surrounded by positive people. You may hate your existing job or your boss, but whining is not appropriate at all in interviews. Also, complaints kill conversations. Don’t do it.
Some people repeat themselves without knowing it. What you can do is to videotape the 2-3 minute sales pitch of yourself and see how you do. If you have the tendency to repeat, it will show.
If the interviewer doesn’t seem to get what you said, move on. Either the conversation gets boring and he zooms out, or it’s not interesting enough to get a noticeable response. Repeat what you just said will double the damage.
Me: Why are you interested in our firm?
Candidate: Well, I saw a posting on the career board and you know, why not give it a try.
If you show this level of enthusiasm, you might as well not show up.
You don’t need to remember the name of the CEO and the year the firm was established, but at least research on basic information e.g. the spelling and proper pronunciation of the company’s name, brief history, field of specialty and its competitors. No excuse not to do it in this age of the Internet.
Also, think hard on how you can fit into the firm and the industry in general. For example, if you are interviewing for an accounting position in a hospital, in additional to demonstrating your ability as an accountant, it is very helpful to show an interest (better yet, a passion) in working in the healthcare industry.
#2. Not Trustworthy / Dishonest
I always ask my readers to give their experience a positive spin, or to reframe the experience to better reflect what the company is looking for.
Note that while repackaging or even some exaggeration is fine, an out-right lie is not. Ethics and integrity is the core of accountancy. On a practical note, it is difficult to keep lying as the conversation builds on after several rounds of interviews.
#1. Brash, Arrogant and Downright Stupid
Imagine an accountant holding a can of Pepsi when pitching for business at Coca Cola. No one would be stupid enough to do anything close to that right?. You will be surprised.
When I worked at Morgan Stanley, I once interviewed a senior in college who brought along a Goldman Sachs bag to show off. I remember he had good grades and presented himself quite well, but nothing could have changed my first (and very bad) impression of him.
The Bottom Line
- Be Likable. Think of the most popular professionals you met in the current job. What are they like? Why are they well liked?
- Be Confident. Be well prepared with a unique story, then present in a way that is both friendly and professional.
You can easily beat 95% of the candidates with these tips alone. Good luck!