How to Successfully Navigate the Phases of the Interview Process
As a senior-level accounting or finance professional, you may be seeking a consulting position. Having a flexible schedule and being able to work on a variety of challenging assignments is appealing. Many employers need highly skilled accounting or finance talent on an interim basis to handle a range of business challenges. To land a consultant role, you need the proper skills, experience, and qualifications.
Fit General Qualifications
General qualifications must be filled to interview as an accounting or finance consultant. For instance, although you need at least a bachelor’s degree in your field, an MBA or graduate degree in a related discipline is preferred. Strong verbal and written communication skills also are necessary. If you want to be a financial consultant, you need financial planning and reporting analysis experience along with certification. To become an accounting consultant, you must have analytical and problem-solving skills, strong math skills, Excel proficiency, a CPA or CMA credential, and additional certification. If you want to be a business systems consultant, you need strong research and organization skills. Include a description of your accounting or finance experience and work ethic in your resume.
You could potentially face several interviews before being offered a consultant position. You may begin with a phone screening to review your resume and experience and ensure you meet the basic qualifications. If successful, you should have a situational/behavior/fit interview focused on past experiences and how they may relate to situations you could encounter. For a strategy-type consulting position, you may participate in a case interview where you are given a fictional client’s problem and asked to analyze the information, draw conclusions, and make recommendations. You also could be given a skills interview to assess your technical or functional qualifications. You might end with a confirming interview with the group/department lead to demonstrate how your skills and personality fit with the team and company.
Be prepared to ask questions throughout each interview. For instance, when being given information about a case, listen carefully, take notes, and summarize the situation. Ask questions to clarify information and demonstrate your listening skills. Then, ask a question that puts the case into context and gets at the bigger picture. For instance, if the case involves a private equity firm deciding whether to acquire a given company, you could ask whether the firm is looking at additional acquisitions in the industry and is evaluating that target versus others.
Find a Consulting Role with Marco & Associates
Marco & Associates, Chicagoland’s leading accounting and finance recruiting and consulting boutique, invests the time needed to understand your experience, what motivates you, and what you are looking for in a consulting position. We use our vast networks to help find a consultant role best suited for your needs and interests, then provide coaching and guidance to help reach your career goals. Get in touch with us today.