Job Search Snafus

Survey: Job Interview Trips Up More Candidates Than Any Other Step in Hiring Process

TORONTO, April 2, 2014 /CNW/ - Navigating the job application process can be tricky, and no area has more opportunities to go off track than the interview, according to a new Accountemps survey. Thirty-eight per cent of chief financial officers (CFOs) polled said the job interview is where candidates make the most mistakes, up 6 percentage points from a similar Accountemps survey conducted in 2010. Another 17 per cent of executives felt applicants most frequently slip up when writing their resumes.

The survey was developed by Accountemps, the world's first and largest specialized staffing service for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on interviews with more than 270 CFOs from a stratified random sample of Canadian companies.

CFOs were asked, "In which of the following job application areas do you feel candidates make the most mistakes?" Their responses:

Interview 38%
Resume 17%
Cover letter 10%
Interview follow-up 8%
Phone interview/screen 6%
Reference check 6%
Don't know 16%

*Responses do not total 100 per cent due to rounding

"Employers recognize that a hiring mistake can be costly, and they're becoming increasingly cautious to avoid hiring someone who is a poor fit for the job or company culture," said Dianne Hunnam-Jones, Canadian district president of Accountemps. "The job interview can help businesses identify someone who will not only have the right skills for the job, but will also be the right match for the company."

Hunnam-Jones points out that because employers place great value on the job interview, candidates should be well-prepared for the process, including being ready for various interview scenarios that deviate from traditional formats.

Here are five increasingly common job interview scenarios, along with tips for handling them:

  1. Behavioural interviews. When asking behavioural-based questions ("Can you tell me about a time when you increased productivity at your last job?"), employers are looking for insight into your past work experiences that could relate to the open position. Be prepared to offer compelling anecdotes that illustrate how you delivered positive results or solved problems.
  2. Video interviews. Skype and other video chat services make it easy and cost effective for employers to meet with job candidates regardless of location. Conduct a tech check before the virtual meeting, dress as you would for an in-person job interview, make sure the background is free of clutter, and remember to look at your computer's camera -- not the screen.
  3. Multiple interviews. Employers may ask a candidate to go through multiple job interviews because they want every assurance they're making the best, most informed decision. View follow-up interviews as an opportunity to elaborate on your most pertinent skills and highlight your in-depth knowledge of the company.
  4. Panel interviews. Companies conduct panel interviews because it's an efficient way to get candidates through several job interviews in a timely fashion. These meetings can be intimidating; help yourself by making a connection with each interviewer. Make eye contact with everyone, use peoples' names when answering their questions, and request business cards so you can send each interviewer a customized thank-you note.
  5. Group interviews. While less common, some employers conduct group interviews with multiple candidates simultaneously to observe their interpersonal skills. Assert yourself respectfully by making sure your voice is heard, but never by interrupting others. Even though you're competing for a job, treat your fellow interviewees in a professional, diplomatic manner.

About Accountemps

Accountemps is the world's first and largest specialized staffing service for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. The company has more than 345 offices worldwide and offers online job search services at Follow Robert Half on Twitter at, and gain insights on the latest financial hiring and salary trends at


Image with caption: "According to recent survey from Accountemps, job interview trips up more candidates than any other step in hiring process. (CNW Group/Accountemps)". Image available at:

SOURCE: Accountemps

For further information:

Contact: Naz Araghian
416.350.2330 ext. 62132

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