Important Tips for a successful interview : By CA Nitin Nanda
This article is mainly meant for CAs and CA students. It includes the learning that I got from the best faculties of ICAI, during my GMCS training. In today’s scenario, CAs are getting tough competitions from MBAs. Searching for jobs and giving interviews had become the most difficult task for CAs. Now-a-days lines like, “ Jo bhi job mile grab kar lo, pata nahi kal ye bhi mile ya na mile” have become very common. Then the question arises that why the MBAs are getting jobs easily than the CAs? The answer is that they have great communication and presentation skills. They know how to present themselves in front of the interviewer.
There is a great saying, “Jo dikhta hai wahi bikta hai.”
This article can help you to come out of this situation. It includes do’s and don’ts before and during an interview and also includes certain interview questions with their answers. These tips can help you to pass the interview and get a job with a great package.
PART I: BEFORE AN INTERVIEW
- For this, spend few days in knowing the company. Study the vision and mission of that company. Have knowledge about –
- Products & services offered by that company
- What that company is famous for?
- What CTC the company pays on similar posts. This can be your package too.
- Your motive is to prove yourself the best candidate for the job.
- Check the job profile & then evaluate whether can you perform at your fullest on this post? If yes, then you deserve this job.
- At least spend 2 hours a day to add your knowledge. Read newspapers, watch business channels, magazines & other knowledge items. I also recommend to watch programs other than wild life on discovery, national geography & history channels. These are international channels through which you comes to know the lifestyle of people around the globe, their ideas, their cultures etc. Remember, “THE MORE YOU KNOW, THE MORE YOU GROW”
- Make several ppt presentations on topics from taxation, audit, AS, stock market, etc & carry them with you in hard and soft copy as well.
- During interview, most of the technical questions are from the following topics-
- AS, IND-AS, introductory knowledge of US GAAP & IFRS
- Stock market and other theory questions from finance (prepare them from your CA-final SFM study material)
- TDS, online return filling & other simple questions from taxation field
- Excel, word, PowerPoint etc
- Depreciation rate as per companies act & IT act
- Bank audit, cash audits (collect knowledge on these topics from various websites of ICAI)
- If you do not have knowledge of online filling of service tax, income tax returns, then go to the website, prepare fake returns with assumed figures & validate them. Although you will not be able to upload them. Bravo! You have learnt online filling.
- If you feel nervous in speaking to public or you feel uncomfortable in expressing yourself to the opposite person, be it the interviewer, then try this : Think about 10 items of your choice
- Pick a topic & speak about that thing for 10 minutes. Record a video of yourself in mobile phone, etc
- Then watch the recording & notice your mistakes & write them on a paper. Try not to repeat those mistakes the next time.
- Continue this activity for at least 2 months
- Have current knowledge of your hobby. For eg. If your hobby is playing cricket, then have its current knowledge like—What is the current ranking of Indian cricket team? And so on…
- Arrange your papers & documents in the folder in such a way that you can take out any documents as and when asked by the interviewer. This shows that you keep everything in well arranged manner & you are not a confused person.
PART II: DURING AN INTERVIEW
- First question arises that what should be the dress code for interview.
- For male candidates the dress code is-
- Conservative two piece business suit (Dark blue is best)
- Conservative long sleeved shirt (white is best)
- Polished black shoes
- Well groomed hairstyle
- Trousers should always be darker than shirt
- Tie should not go beyond the belt level
- Belt color should match with shoes
- Socks matching with trousers
- No rings other than wedding ring
- Mustaches should be neat and trimmed
- And for female candidates-
- Conservative two piece business suit
- Conservative long sleeved blouse
- Shoes with conservative heels
- Small size purses or briefcase
- Light colored nail paint
- Minimal use of makeup
- For male candidates the dress code is-
For women traditional wear is also acceptable for interviews in many sectors. If you are not comfortable in western wear, you can always opt for traditional wear. A saree or suit is perfectly acceptable as long as it looks professional and not like party wear.
Both male and female candidates should keep care of the personal hygiene. Use light body deodorants. Fingernails should be clean and trimmed. You should not be sweating when you enter the room.
- Before entering the room, ask permission & then greet everybody with a smile on face, looking at all the persons in the room. But do not greet them individually.
- Keep standing unless you are offered a seat. Also, never ask for a seat even if they forgot to offer you the same!
- Sit still and do not do chair dance.
- Do not place your documents/bags etc on the table. Rather keep them on the side of your chair or on any extra table or chair. Placing them on laps is also not recommended.
- Basic things to remember –
¨ Never say that you worked under pressure during your article ship, and there were loads of work.
¨ Never say that you are from a small or mediocre firm.
¨ Instead of calling yourself as ACA or FCA, call yourself as “member of ICAI”.
¨ Never say “sorry” in an interview. Rather accept your mistake, if you made any, but not by saying sorry.
¨ Don’t use words like, “basically, actually, frankly speaking, don’t get me wrong”, etc.
¨ Listen the interviewer very carefully & never let him repeat his questions.
¨ Be confident in whatever you are speaking.
¨ Pronounce words clearly.
¨ Use professional language. Use specific words to describe things rather than using general words. For e.g., never say “I have knowledge of filling normal returns”. Rather say, “I have knowledge of filling income tax & service tax returns”.
¨ “Apne saare patte ek sath mat kholo rather thode thode time baad apni specialty/achievements batate raho”
¨ Never touch your face, nose, hairs etc. This shows lack of confidence.
¨ Also do not look here & there while answering the questions. Rather answer by looking at the interviewer.
¨ If you know his name, then you can call him by his name, like “ Vipin sir, AS 16 is all about…”
¨ Never beg for job. I.e., by no means or by your communication etc, never give an impression that you are in urgent need of job. Never use such words which convey that you are begging for job.
¨ Never concentrate on your weakness. Rather concentrate on your strength & present it in the best possible manner.
¨ Keep your position at least 12 inches away from the interviewer.
¨ Never sit cross legs. Rather keep your legs on the floor.
MOST COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS & THEIR POSSIBLE ANSWERS
Q1. Run through your CV.
Give your brief introduction, your qualifications, your achievements, your hobbies etc. But everything should be in brief. After giving your introduction, add these words, “That was all about me; thank you.”
Q2. Tell me something about you.
The answer can be same as above together with your areas of specialization & the work you had handled previously during article ship or during job.
Q3. What are your areas of interest?
Tell your favorite areas like international taxation, audit etc. But never use sentences like, “ sir you can ask me any type of questions from audit.”
Q4. If he asks a question from a field in which you have very little knowledge.
Simply say that, “sir I am working on it.”
Q5. How far have you worked?
Name the area of which you have some knowledge & let him ask the questions from there. Answer whatever you know, but do not remain quite. Start your answer with, “ although I am not very sure, but I think that……..”& so on. If he says that your answer was wrong, then say, “ that’s why sir, I told that I am still working in this field.”
Q6. What if he asks a question from a field of which you have no knowledge.
Say, “ sir, now I am feeling that I should have prepared in this field also. Sir, I assure you that I will start working in this field as soon as possible.”
Q7. What is your priority, Company or money?
Q8. OK, then we will pay you 1 lakh p.a.; are you ready?
Thank you sir for selecting me. But by such low package, prestige of the organization will be at risk then.” Or
“Sir, don’t you want a motivated employee to work in your organization?”
Q9. Then how long will you work with the company?
“As long as the management finds my efforts fruitful for the organization & I am rewarded for the same.”
Q10. What is your current CTC?
(Being bold) “Till yesterday, my CTC was 18000 p.a.” (your stipend)
Q11. And today you are applying for the CTC of 800000 p.a. Justify the increase from 18000 to 800000 p.a.
“Sir, what was paid to me till yesterday was the stipend of an article & what will be paid to me today will be the package of a CA.”
Q12. You took so many attempts to clear. So why should I hire you?
“Sir you called me from very far away, from another city. You must have seen something in me.” Or
“We all CAs stand on the same ground. When ICAI considers all of us equal, then why should I treat myself differently.”
Q13. There is a rank holder standing outside and you are a constant failure. Why should I give you the job?
Sir, he is also having a good knowledge base. He is a rank holder & therefore there is no doubt on his knowledge base. But I during my articleship, sharpened my knowledge. I had much more practical exposures than him.
Or “Sir, you should select whoever you find more knowledgeable. And I had more practical exposures than him.”
Note: When he asks you if you have any questions. Then do not hesitate, rather you can ask any questions.