Hannah Dinsdale started at RSM in August 2017 as a Trainee Chartered Accountant, having previously worked as a Recruitment Consultant specialising in Finance roles.
Looking for a job is seen by many of us as a stressful and time-consuming process. However, I do not believe this has to be the case!
From the experiences gained in my previous employment there are a few hints and tips which I would like to pass on to anyone about to commence the interview process as they search for a new role. These reflect key points I have learnt from my experience as a recruitment consultant, and should help you reduce your stress levels and make the interview process a more enjoyable and rewarding one.
Firstly, I think it is important to remember that an interview is a two-way conversation and is as much for your benefit as it is for your potential employer. It is a great opportunity to meet your potential colleagues and to ask the questions which are important to you and may be difficult to answer for yourself from internet research.
For me, though, one of the most important characteristics to have is confidence and a spark so you make a great first impression. You need to show your desire for the opportunity. But too often candidates do not even know what they are applying for, and an otherwise promising meeting fails to fulfil its potential simply through a lack of preparation.
Here are my top tips to help you appear more confident:
Know your CV
Employers will have assessed your CV and will have questions about it. Your CV will have helped you win the interview, but now is your chance to talk about yourself and who you are. Know your CV inside out and be able to talk about your background and recent experiences. Talking about yourself can be surprisingly difficult, so try to anticipate questions an interviewer might ask you about your CV. This will help you present a well-considered response.
Know what you are applying for
Employers are looking for enthusiasm and a sense you have considered the opportunity and applied because you have a genuine interest in the role. Demonstrate an understanding of what you are letting yourself in for. So research the ACA training requirements, talk to friends and family who already work in the profession and look at a variety of firms’ website training pages. Try to know as much as possible about the employer and the opportunity that’s on offer.
Know who you are applying to
Each accounting practice is different. Firms have different cultures and client portfolios or offer a different training environment. Jersey’s finance industry is blessed with many great employers, so choosing the one that suits you best is essential when committing to a three year training contract. Some candidates take up a summer work experience placement with us to give them an insight into both the work and office environment, and I recommend anyone thinking of pursuing an accounting career seeks out placement opportunities. Jersey Finance’s Life in Finance programme is a great example of the opportunities to meet prospective employers.
Don’t be shy
Interviews can be intimidating, but don’t let nerves get the better of you. If you know your CV and have researched the role then be confident in yourself. Speak clearly and take your time to answer questions. Make sure you smile, and make eye contact.
Nothing demonstrates your desire for a role more than asking well timed and informed questions. Showing that you have thought about a position allows you to showcase your research and present yourself as a confident candidate with an enthusiasm for the role.
And finally, good luck! You might not get the first job you apply for but don’t let that put you off. Finding the right role for you is important, so meeting different employers and finding out about some of the great opportunities Jersey has to offer is time well spent.
RSM Channel Islands is an Approved Employer with both The Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales and The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and expect to increase our training intake this year. Individuals wishing to apply for training positions should submit a covering message/letter and full CV by email to [email protected].
RSM Channel Islands invest significantly in its team's professional development. Their approach to continued staff development for all team members ensures the highest level of technical and professional standards enables us to meet client needs both now and in the future.
RSM is the world’s sixth largest provider of audit, tax and consultancy services, encompassing 120 countries, 800 offices and more than 41,000 people. All member firms remain independent legal entities within the RSM international network, but trade as RSM.
This article was published in the Spring 2018 Jersey Evening Post Careers and Employment Review supplement.