15 “Tell Me About a Time” Interview Questions Top Accounting Firms Ask

Published: Mar 14, 2018

 Finance       Interviewing       Job Search       
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It’s tax season, which means tens of thousands of accountants across the country are working overtime to complete various forms so individuals and organizations can file their taxes on time, by Tax Day, April 17. 

Speaking of hardworking accountants, some 8,800 of them recently took our annual Accounting Survey. The results of this survey will be used to create our new Accounting 50, a ranking of the best accounting firms to work for. We’ll be releasing our new rankings on the aforementioned all-important Tax Day. So check back then to see which firms topped our new rankings. 

In the meantime, while we continue to compile all the quantitative results, we went ahead and pulled the most common behavioral interview questions that accountants told us their firms are asking these days. These types of questions (which often begin with the phrase “Tell me about a time…”) are essential ones to prepare for if you want to work for a top accounting firm (these questions are also frequently asked outside the accounting industry). And so, here are 15 of these so-called behavioral questions, all pulled straight from our latest Accounting Survey. 

1. “Tell me about a time when you provided excellent customer service.” 

2. “Tell me about a time (or times) you worked on a tight deadline.”

3. “Tell me about a time when you made a mistake and had to fix it.” 

4. “Tell me about a time where you had conflicting responsibilities (home, school, work) and how you prioritized and worked through those conflicts.”  

5. “Tell me about a time you had a difficult conversation with someone you worked with and tell me about the result.” 

6. “Tell me about a time you faced an extremely challenging situation on the job and what you took away from it.” 

7. “Tell me about a time when you worked with a team to achieve a common goal, including the specific role that you held within the team. 

8. “Tell me about a time when you were faced with a decision and had to research a number of possibilities—how did you approach the situation and ultimately determine a conclusion or outcome?

9. “Personal ethics is critical to gaining commitment from a team. Tell me about a time you were involved in a team-based situation where the resolution clearly reflected your level of integrity.” 

10. “Tell me about a time when your listening skills allowed you to exceed the expectations in the delivery of a task or project.” 

11. “Tell me about a time when you were required to complete extensive research for a project, and what was the end result?"

12. “Tell me about a time you handled stress and what you did to help manage the stress.” 

13. Tell me about a time when you had to make a difficult decision in a meeting with a customer or manager.”

14. “Tell me about a time when you were in a group project and had to take initiative.” 

15. “Tell me about a time you were on a group project, something wasn't going well, and how you resolved it.”

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