CFO's Favorite Interview Questions
April 2011The resume helps land the interview, but when it comes to making hiring decisions, employers are looking for less-obvious clues that an applicant is right for the job, a new Accountemps survey reveals.
Forty-two percent of chief financial officers (CFOs) polled cited their "go-to" interview questions as those related to personal attributes -- for example, "What are your strengths and weaknesses?" and "Describe your work ethic." Thirty-four percent of executives prefer to ask about qualifications, such as "Tell me about your previous experience" and "Why should we hire you?"
The survey was developed by Accountemps, the world's first and largest specialized staffing service for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on interviews with more than 1,000 CFOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies with 20 or more employees.
CFOs were asked, "When interviewing job candidates, what is your favorite question to ask?" Their responses fell into three basic categories: Those questions designed to learn more about the applicant's work style and personal attributes (42 percent of responses fell roughly into this category), those addressing the candidate's qualifications (34 percent of questions landed here) and job or company-specific questions (24 percent of CFOs picked these as favorites).
"During the interview, employers are interested in learning what a resume won't tell them -- if the applicant's personality and work style are right for the job," said Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps and author of Job Hunting For Dummies®, 2nd Edition (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.). "When preparing for these meetings, job seekers should perfect a brief summary of their qualifications, achievements and professional goals, but also be ready to have a more open dialogue about their personal strengths."
While standard interview questions may seem passe to some, CFOs still like the following "oldies but goodies":
Here are interview questions designed to learn about the person behind the resume:
Ethics and personal values remain important to executives surveyed, judging by many of their favorite questions. Here are some examples:
Not all CFOs stick to the standards, however. Executives occasionally like to throw curveballs like these:
"Job seekers should rehearse responses to common interview questions, but also be able to think quickly on their feet so they can best answer whatever a hiring manager may ask," Messmer added.Source: Accountemps