Week 5 Discussion Post

Several weeks ago, I interviewed for an internship for next summer. The interview process was different than I expected and much different than any other process I’ve ever experienced. However, I had a good experience and I think other companies, especially those of similar size, should consider implementing something similar.

At my initial interview, I had a chance to sit down with the hiring manager and chat casually about what the job would look like. I expected it to be much more formal, but it was basically just a get-to-know-you. At my second interview, I met with two groups of two people. They were all CPAs who actively worked in accounting, which was a change from my first interview. It was closer to a formal interview, but it was still laid back enough that I felt comfortable asking questions and being my authentic self. I also got a tour of the office from two girls who were close to my own age.

Despite the informality, I do find this to be a fairly reliable method of interviewing. The same people interviewed all the candidates, so there was consistency in that aspect. The more casual attitude also allowed interviewees to let their guard down and be more authentic, which means you get to see more of their real personality. I could also tell that they had a list of questions that they were pulling from, so it was more of a structured interview than not. However, they also asked follow up questions and let the conversation flow, so it wasn’t a strict script.

Most accounting firms expect you to know next to nothing about accounting when you come in as an intern, so what they’re mostly looking for is a good attitude and a willingness to learn. I think the less formal interview has a high level of validity in this sense, because you’re able to get a good idea of an applicant’s personality and flexibility. A lot of the questions they asked were related to dealing with unexpected situations and surprises as well. This demonstrates to me that they were trying to up the validity of the process by specifically asking questions to gauge the qualities they deem most important.

Especially for entry level positions, where attitude is more important than hard skills, I think this interview method is very effective. It gives candidates a chance to meet lots of people from the company and be more authentic than they would in a more formal setting. This helps companies determine who could best grow into the position and within the company.

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