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Top 5 interview questions to ask to hire the best candidate for the job

hiring advice, video interview

In today’s market, employers are starting to find each job advert gets thousands of applications. When you’ve sifted through and found your top candidates it’s important to ensure you then pick the right one. Honing your interview skills with these useful interview questions will mean you draw out the right finance and accounting hard and soft skills from your candidates – and ensure you hire the right person for your finance and accounting role!

Shortlisted candidates will be able to do the job, but whether or not they work out in your organisation means ascertaining their suitability beyond mere technical skill. You want to find out who they are as a person, how they operate, think, interact with others (peers, subordinate to or leading), their cognitive ability, any innovation they may bring and how they respond to challenging times.

Interview questions should seek to identify all of the above in some way or another, but it might be useful to segregate by type:

  1. Hard skills

  2. Interpersonal skills

  3. Creativity and cognitive ability

Irrespective of which of the above three criteria the question is tackling, make sure you are detailed enough to warrant specific, tangible information. Open questions (i.e. that incite more than a yes or no answer) are always recommended. However, make sure they are not too broad, which might return a vague, even waffly answer you later realise didn’t reveal much at all, or allow a candidate to say what they think you may be looking for, given they don’t need much evidence to back it up (e.g. what motivates you, what are your weaknesses).

Strategic interview questions to ask candidates in finance and accounting

Ensure a mix to include their abilities, soft skills and how they might fit in and add value to your organisation:

  1. If an organisation is in x (healthy)/y (unhealthy) financial position, what steps would you take to expand and grow/restore it to financial health? Why?

  2. At what stage and financial position would you consider an organisation ready to acquire or merge with another, and how do you justify that position?

  3. What organisation would you personally invest in right now and for what reason/s?

  4. Describe a time when your position was challenged and what you did to overcome that? What was the outcome of that situation?

  5. If x problem scenario emerged, how would you respond?

Comprise your own unique interview questions to ask candidates, if they are interviewing with multiple organisations then questions that really stand out will improve their perception of you and your organisation.

Best practices when hiring top finance and accounting talent

When receiving multiple job applications, it can be tempting to perceive the recruitment process as working entirely in your favour, leaving you time to make decisions and believing top talent will be chomping at the bit to join you. However, challenges to hiring employees still remain. Employers need to act decisively to attain the best talent, and must also consider their employer brand and the experience from the candidate’s perspective.


Candidates, understandably, feel frustrated when they don’t hear back after sending their CV for a job opportunity, or – even worse! – not hearing back after an interview. Automated systems will make rejection emails much easier, especially in the face of multiple applications, so there is no reason not to let someone know their application has been unsuccessful.

After the interview stage this becomes even more important; not communicating rejection at this stage runs the risk of you damaging your employer brand. Rejected candidates may share a bad experience with peers, who are themselves potential candidates. Public review platforms like Glassdoor and LinkedIn have made this a very pertinent consideration.

Provide all relevant information prior to interview

Enabling candidates to prepare as much as possible means you will get the best out of them and avoid potential pitfalls that could damage your employer brand. Let them know:

  • What’s required of them during the interview, including specific prep, presentations etc

  • Instructions on how to get there and what to do when they arrive (especially important with Covid safety measures)/what equipment to use for a virtual interview

  • Approximate length of interview

Don’t prevaricate

Interested in a candidate but need more time to decide, so you got them to see x, y, z individuals or teams? Be careful when doing so, if you’re interested in a candidate there’s a strong chance someone else will be too - don’t let time or indecision be the reason you miss out on talent.

At Edward Mann, our database and deep networks within the finance community means we are able to source high-calibre candidates to suit the specific needs of your business goals, ensuring you don’t miss out in the future. We actively look for the most technically proficient candidates and have an international mindset, to make sure you get the best possible skillsets to suit your needs.

Get in touch today to find out how we can help

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