Career Advice Career Guidance and Counselling

Want to become a finance and accounting business leader? First you have to know how to interview with one

With the Hong Kong finance market maturing over the past 25 years, the earliest batch of Big Six or Big Four professionals can be traced back to the late 1980s. Most of them are now working as regional CFOs or finance directors at multinationals or local listed companies, or are senior partners at CPA firms.

For up-and-coming finance leaders faced with someone from this highly skilled group of professionals in a job interview, there are several pieces of advice I can give you so that you gain an edge over your competitors. 

For interviews with multinationals and listed companies, it is worthwhile for candidates to emphasise any project management experience. Finance professionals usually have some experience leading ad hoc projects, and those who possess strategic leadership qualities tend to come out on top.

When interviewing for analytical roles, such as financial planning and analysis or business control, in-depth industry knowledge is required. If you cannot analyse the industry you are in, it will be extremely difficult to convince the interviewer that you could be a good partner to drive the business.

If you took leadership to complete a task, say “I led the team to achieve” instead of “we achieved”. If you were just a team member, don’t worry – there is no shame in this and sometimes the interviewers are observing your team-working capabilities. 

Treat all potential interview opportunities as a task. Practice when the opportunity presents itself, and when the perfect job opportunity arises, you will be more than prepared to lock down the job opportunity.

This article appeared in the Classified Post print edition as Gaining the edge.