Job Interviewing 101 – Part II

(Part Two of a Two-Part Series)Questions to Help You Pick the Right Candidate

An interview between a business woman and man.Last week we discussed preparing for job interviews in order to expand your business by hiring a support staff. Now that you’re prepared for the interview, you must question all the applicants in order to learn more about them and how well they align with your business plan and goals. It’s important to ask open-ended questions that allow each candidate to better demonstrate their experience, ability, and skill set. Also remember that you must ask each candidate the same set of interview questions in order to truly compare all the applicants.We could give you a list of specific questions to ask, but the truth is you need to craft questions that suite your objectives. But here are general interest categories with sample questions for each. They should help you get a well-rounded view of your candidates.

Break the ice

Start by putting the candidate at ease. Ask a question or two that will break the ice and set a casual tone for the interview. Consider the following:

  • Are you enjoying the summer?
  • Are you managing to stay cool/dry/warm in this weather?
  • Did you enjoy the holiday?

Note: Be careful! It is illegal to ask candidates anything discriminatory. Avoid all questions that address the following: race, color, gender, sexual preferences, religion, national origin, birthplace, age, disability, marital/family status.

Learn of past performance/Determine problem-solving ability

You want to know what kind of worker this candidate is, and the best way to determine that is to ask questions that will help you assess their past performance. It’s important that you include behavioral questions when appropriate. These types of questions help you to see how candidates would act given a certain work situation (or how they have acted in past work situations). Consider questions that demonstrate whether or not the candidate is proactive and has the ability to resolve problems independently. This is also a good time to see how well these candidates work with others. And remember that you want a well-rounded candidate. Interviewees who only describe themselves in a positive light may not recognize their weaknesses as well as their strengths; either that or they’re not being honest. Consider the following:

  • Describe your employment history.
  • Why did you leave your last job?
  • What would your last boss say about your performance?
  • Tell me about a time when you struggled with an assignment/project/task.
  • What was the most/least rewarding aspect of your last job?
  • Describe a situation where you . . . (were overwhelmed by multiple projects, had to resolve an emergency without supervisory help, successfully delegated tasks, contributed to a company/employer’s success, etc.)
  • What career accomplishment has given you the greatest satisfaction?
  • What mistake have you learned the most from?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to work with a team.
  • Do you prefer working alone or in teams?
  • How do you deal with conflict?
  • How do you react to difficulty and/or stress?

Learn of work preferences

It’s also important to discover the type of work environment your candidates feel most comfortable in. Equally important is determining which applicant is a good match to your company’s goals and objectives. The following questions will help:

  • What types of responsibilities have you found to be most rewarding? Why?
  • What type of management style do you most appreciate? (hands-on, regular supervision, minimal supervision)
  • In what ways will you contribute to this company?
  • Why do you want to work for X Company?
  • What do you know about X Company?
  • If you were hiring someone to this position, what qualities would you look for?
  • Why should we hire you?

Ask about the candidates’ future career goals

This will help determine their motives in working for you. The candidate who sees your position as an opportunity to learn and grow as he/she advances in his/her career is much more desirable than the candidate who thinks this will be an easy, sit-down job regardless of how it aligns with his/her long-term goals. Consider the following:

  • What are your short-term and long-term career goals?
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
  • How do you plan to achieve your career objectives?
  • What do you want in life?
  • Why did you choose this particular career?
  • How will this position help you advance your career goals?

It’s important that you determine what you’re looking for in a candidate before composing interview questions. If costumer service is important to you, craft questions that will help you recognize whether or not candidates will work well with your clients. If punctuality and a good work ethic are important to you, again you must craft questions that help you see how your candidates measure up to these requirements.As long as you take the time to thoughtfully compose your interview questions and ask each candidate the same set, you’ll be sure to find the perfect fit for your position.

Increase Your Career Options

Increase Your Career Options : Earn a Professional Designation

Accounting is the second oldest profession in the world. Since mankind began using money, they devised a way to count and track its comings and goings. And the accounting profession isn’t slowing down today. In fact, it’s growing at such a quick clip that the Bureau of Labor estimates that by 2008 accounting jobs will have increased by 20%. They say: “In addition to openings resulting from growth, the need to replace accountants and auditors who retire, or transfer to other occupations, will produce numerous openings in this large occupation.”

You can have advantage in this powerful shift in the Accounting and Bookkeeping profession! The opportunities are endless for those who have been properly trained. Here are just a few possibilities.

Get a New JobThere are four basic types of accountants and bookkeepers: public, management, government, and internal auditing. And while those descriptions lack luster, consider that jobs within those areas can include anything from a payroll clerk to a treasurer to an underwriter to a collections specialist to a personal financial planner to a chief financial officer, and the list goes on. Of course, experience and training play a role in the type of accounting or bookkeeping job you can get, but it’s important to realize all the options an accounting background can offer you. Here’s a list of jobs you might find:


  • Partner

  • Director

  • Manager

  • Staff Accountant


  • Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

  • Treasurer

  • Controller

  • Assistant Controller and Assistant Treasurer

  • Tax Manager

  • Accounting Manager

  • Senior Accountant

  • Accountant (General, Cost)

  • Internal/EDP Audit

  • Manager, Financial Analysis

  • Senior Analyst

  • Analyst (Financial, Budget, Cost)

  • Credit Manager

  • Assistant Credit Manager

  • Collections Specialist

  • Full Charge Bookkeeper

  • Bookkeeper

  • A/P Supervisor

  • A/P Clerk

  • A/R Supervisor

  • A/R Clerk

  • Assistant Bookkeeper

  • Accounting Clerk


  • Data Entry Operator

  • Payroll Manager

  • Payroll Clerk

Earn a PromotionAs always, with proper training you could advance in your current position where you work. Even non-accounting positions can be enhanced with accounting knowledge; a professional designation illustrates your willingness to continue your education and increase your value as an employee. Look for every edge you can have when it comes to getting that next promotion. Universal’s designation and training has what it takes for you to earn your desired spot in the company.

Start Your Own BusinessOnce you receive proper training, when you have received concentrated instruction and the practical hands-on experience you receive with Universal Accounting, you could actually work as a freelance accountant/bookkeeper, supplementing your full-time income. Some of our graduates have found that all they need to do is get two or three clients on the side to bring them from dreaming about their goals, to achieving them.

Better still, our training has enabled many of our graduates to have the confidence of running their own business full-time. We are dedicated to giving our students what they need to be successful in their accounting pursuits. All you need to do is apply them correctly, and this could fulfill your longtime dream to being your own boss, enjoying financial freedom, and spending more time with your family and friends.

A Four-Year Degree is Not requiredBut wait, you’re thinking, how long will it take to earn that professional designation? Less than you think. In fact, you can earn and be experiencing the benefits of your training in less time than a semester at your local university! Most universities require 4-years of your time and teach you corporate accounting, which makes up about 2% of accounting opportunities out there. Universal Accounting Center’s Professional Bookkeeper Program will take you less than 60 hours and train you in small business accounting, which makes up 98% of accounting opportunities.

Order a Free, Informational Video Today!But why tell you about the program here when you could order a free video that will explain the program to you in detail from the comfort of your own home. Don’t wait to learn how you could change your life by increasing your career options. Learn more about the Professional Bookkeeper Program and how that professional designation could be much closer than you think.

You’ve waited long enough to make the move to getting for your future the difference between success and mediocrity. The easiest decision you can make is enrolling in The Professional Bookkeeper’s Course. Make the difference in success, the PB designation, work for you. Don’t delay!

Improve Your People Skills

7 Tips That Will Boost Your Professional Exchanges

A group of professionals interacting.Accountants are stereotyped as introverted bean counters who don’t feel comfortable interacting with others. Thankfully that image is changing for the better. But some of us still struggle in social situations primed for profitable networking. Your business depends on your ability to put current and potential clients at ease, to communicate in a way that builds stronger professional relationships while getting you the information you need to secure new customers and do the best work you can for current costumers.If your people skills are lacking, here are 7 quick tips that will improve your interactions:

1. SmileNo one needs a smile as much as a person who fails to give one. -UnknownWhen all else fails there’s one thing you can do: smile. Regardless of what the other person does, a smile won’t damage your image or spoil a networking opportunity. This is especially important to remember if you’re feeling a little nervous. Chances are you’ll get lots of smiles in return which will put you at ease and make it easier to connect with others.2. ListenI think the one lesson I have learned is that there is no substitute for paying attention. – Diane SawyerWhile listening you will discover how your services can best fulfill the needs of those you’re talking to. The more you can get them to share about their business the better prepared you’ll be to illustrate how your expertise will improve their profitability.3. Remember namesWhen you remember names you’re communicating that the people they belong to are worth remembering. You should always strive to make the people you speak with feel important; remembering their names is an easy way to accomplish that.4. Remember common talking pointsAt the bottom of things, most people want to be understood and appreciated. – The BuddhaSometimes it’s a matter of knowing what you can talk about when there’s a lull in the conversation or you need to break the ice. Fortunately there are certain topics nearly all individuals love talking about:

  • The traffic
  • The weather
  • New movies
  • Their business
  • Their children
  • Family pets

5. Acknowledge things you have in commonThe more you have in common the more connected you will feel. Pointing out the similarities you share will help strengthen your bond and forge a solid professional relationship.6. Avoid gossipGossip needn’t be false to be evil; there’s a lot of truth that shouldn’t be passed around. – Frank A. ClarkAvoid gossip like the plague. While it may be easy to talk about someone else it certainly puts your character in question and causes the individual(s) you’re talking with to consider what you might say about them when they’re not there.7. Be positiveAttitudes are contagious. Are yours worth catching? – Dennis and Wendy ManneringNegativity will repel more contacts than you can imagine. Whether or not people recognize it they are drawn to individuals who are positive and affirming. Regardless of the topic of conversation, stay positive; it will leave a good and memorable impression.

And above all, remember that it takes time to develop good people skills, especially if it doesn’t come naturally. Just make an effort to work on one thing at a time and soon you’ll recognize an improvement that will not only put you more at ease with others but positively impact your business.

Increased Demand for Accounting Talent Means Increase in Pay

Gain the right skills and you will earn a better income. Bookkeepers can anticipate a 6.8% rise in base compensation in 2006. That’s great news provided you have the right skills.The 2006 Salary Guide is based on an analysis of thousands of job placements managed by Robert Half International Inc., and predicts that heightened competition for accounting and finance professionals will lead to increases in base compensation next year.

Companies are Recruiting Accounting Staff

Max Messmer, Chairman and CEO of Robert Half International says, “Organizations are actively recruiting accounting and finance staff to support business expansion initiatives and corporate governance efforts.””To attract and retain skilled financial professionals, firms are reassessing their hiring practices and enhancing compensation packages for current staff.”

Bookkeepers are Doing Better than Average!

Robert Half International forcasts an increase in starting wage for bookkeepers and accountants of 3.1%. An increase of 3.1% is OK, but according to the Salary Guide, bookkeepers can anticipate a 6.8% rise in base compensation in the year ahead. Over twice the average. What a great time to consider a bookkeeping and accounting education.The opportunities for you have never been better in accounting. Click on the link below and discover the potential for you to earn a great income and enjoy a stable, recession free career.Show Me a Stable Career With a Great Income

The Accounting Department Has Always Offered Great Opportunities

For hundreds of years accountants have contributed to the profitability of businesses all over the world. And they have been well paid to do it. With the right skills you will not only find the right job or enhance your present career, you’ll also enjoy the benefits of increased competition in the marketplace and can expect a bigger paycheck.

Where Can I Find the Right Skills… I Don’t Have a College Degree?

You don’t need a college degree. You do need a specialized education. And you can find it at Universal Accounting.For the last 25 years, Universal Accounting has taught thousands of people the profitable and exciting skills of small business bookkeeping and accounting. We’re the small business experts and we can teach you to be too.You don’t have to take my word for it, let’s look at what some of our graduates have said:”I was amazed how practical this course was, and surprised how much I learned. Having an accounting degree and over 17 years experience in accounting, I didn’t realize how much I didn’t know. This is well worth the time and money, and you will be benefited from this class for years to come.”-Philip Lufkin”This was an excellent course. I have a B. S. in accounting, and this class taught me stuff I never learned in college.”-Catherine Ferguson”Universal’s accounting course is a very thorough approach to learning small business accounting. The materials and work sets are presented in a professional learning atmosphere. …I felt this class really helped my confidence and mastery of the accounting principles.”-Bradley JensenYou don’t need to be a math wiz to enhance your career. Calculus and algebra aren’t necessary. Basic math skills are the building-blocks to a successful career in bookkeeping and accounting. With your basic math skills and a willingness to learn, you’ll be on your way to an incredibly rewarding and satisfying career.

Businesses Have to Do Accounting… It’s Required By Law

It doesn’t matter what type of business, it has to keep financial records and has to have bookkeepers and accountants. Follow the link below and find out for yourself how an education in bookkeeping and accounting will enhance your present career, increase your paycheck and provide personal and professional satisfaction.Show Me Why Becoming a Bookkeeper or Accountant is Right For Me

Give Service All Day Long

Squeeze the most out of every moment to find time for what’s really important!

No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave. Calvin Coolidge 1872-1933 I must admit, I am very lucky. I really like what I do. I get to sit down at my little computer, think good thoughts, and talk to you. Fortunately, it doesn’t stop at thinking good thoughts. I actually have to put words on the page that help you, or we don’t get to talk to each other today.

Every morning starts with a plan.

One of the first things I do when I sit down at my desk in the morning, is look at the day, what I need to accomplish, and map out a plan for what I’d like to get done that day. I know this sounds pretty basic. Not much to it. And, I have to admit, there isn’t much to it. It’s pretty simple, but the time I save more than makes up for the time I spend organizing my day. It gives me the mandate to focus on what’s really important.If I don’t go through this ritual every day, I find that before the day is over, I lose steam. Have you ever noticed that most people start the morning all fired up and ready to take on the day, however, as the day wears on and they start to get tired; sometimes, their get-up-and-go, does just exactly that. Stephen Covey said, “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “Many people die with their music still in them. Why is this so? Too often it is because they are always getting ready to live. Before they know it, time runs out.”In other words, we can’t afford to wait for opportunity to come to us, we need to create our own opportunities. Today, more than ever, it’s important to look ahead with an easy-to-follow plan; follow the plan and discover how truly simple it really is to find the success we’re looking for.

I’m glad I don’t have to wear the Speedo anymore.

When I was in High School I was on the swim team. Swim work-outs started every morning at 5:30am. I used to dream about my first length in the pool swinging an ice pick and chopping up the ice that was in my way so I could swim my workout. It was tough, but when I look back, I kind of miss those workouts.I know this will kind of date me, but in 1976, Olympic backstroker, John Naber was one of my heroes. In the Montreal Olympics he set two world records, won two gold medals and was the first man in history to swim the 200 meter backstroke in under two minutes.Like most hero worshipers, I was really excited to hear him speak in person the following year. He talked about how he knew how fast he would have to go to beat the East Germans. He put down a definitive, concise, and quantifiable, time in seconds and tenths of seconds, as his goal.With only two years to get ready, John knew how much faster he had to be every year. He also knew how that would effect every month, every week, and every day. He went so far as to determine how much faster he had to be on every set within every workout. I think it was something like 1/100 th of a second and he said, “I can do that.”

The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. -Lao Tzu

Let’s take a minute and look at the big picture. What do you want to accomplish with your life? Believe it or not, working 30 hours per week at $30.00 per hour, you’ll be earning over $40,000.00 per year! (By the way, $30 per hour is a very reasonable goal. Many of our graduates us the billing techniques taught in the Professional Bookkeeper Program to bill as much as double that!)Ask yourself, what can I do this month, this week, today, even this morning, to make my dream a reality?Focus on your “big picture” goals. Put them into smaller, easier-to-accomplish pieces, just like John and you’ll be able to say, “I can do that.” Best of all, you’ll be able to end the day the same way you started it. Excited about what you do. Excited about where you’re going. And excited about your future.At Universal Accounting, we’re excited about your future. Today, more than ever, owning your own Accounting and Tax Preparation business may be just the ticket to help you accomplish your financial goals. With the finest course material anywhere and a terrific value, the Professional Bookkeeper and Accounting Program will be the perfect, “first step” to your journey of a thousand miles. Make this moment count… order your Bookkeeping and Accounting program now!

Get Started By Learning the Accounting and Bookkeeping Portion of a Financial Services Business

Having a solid understanding of the Accounting and Bookkeeping methods and procedures is a great first step in learning the concepts behind Financial Business Analysis. You will learn to do books for small to mid-sized companies and how to analyze the books to prepare reports. You will learn to interpret reports so that you can advise your clients how to reduce costs and to better understand their financial standing and profitability. Your clients will look to you as an invaluable source of information about the financial health of their organization.

If you are considering adding Tax Preparation/ Planning services to your Financial Services business at some point, you get a great price by purchasing both programs as a bundle.

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