“So, do you have any questions for me?”
Both the School of Accountancy and the Harbert College of Business as a whole teach that one should enter an interview prepared to ask a few questions at the end. In fact, not asking questions is one of the biggest interview faux pas. The difficult part is figuring out what to ask to a) solidify your candidacy for the position, and b) glean helpful information for your personal decision-making.
Because the accounting recruiting process is so involved, it can feel as if there is nothing left to ask by the time you sit down for the official interview. While lots of guidance exists online for the oft-dreaded solicitation for questions, lists like this one often seem largely irrelevant to our unique position.
About a month ago, The Cut published an article with some good advice:
“Sometimes people use their turn to ask questions in an interview solely as an additional chance to try to impress their interviewer – asking questions designed to reflect well on them (by making them look smart, thoughtful, or so forth) rather than questions designed to help them figure out if the job is even right for them in the first place.”
Before formulating questions, think about what you want to know about the company or the individual sitting across the table from you.
I usually have two main goals in mind when it comes to interview questions:
- Get to know my interviewer and their experience with the company/firm.
The old adage “they’re not just interviewing you—you’re interviewing them,” is true! Remember that the interview is another opportunity for you to gather data on these employers. How a current employee describes their experience with a firm will give you a wealth of insight. No career paths are identical, and everyone’s perspective will add more to your understanding of the employer.
Possible questions to ask:
- How long have you been at the firm/company? What has made you stay at the firm/company?
- What has been your favorite part of working in accounting/for the firm/company?
- Ask for advice.
You have the full attention of an experienced professional who you could be working for in less than a year! Conversations with peers may have you thinking you know exactly what to expect from your internship, but have some humility and ask for guidance. The goal here is to get broadly applicable advice for the start of your career. Doing so shows that you a) aren’t over confident, and b) strive to exceed expectations.
Possible questions to ask:
- Is there anything that you wish someone had told you before you graduated college/started working?
- What have you found differentiates a good intern from a great one?
Interviews can be overwhelming, but remember: you have been interviewing since your very first interaction with these employers. Just keep on putting your best foot forward!