Job Applicants Make Most Mistakes During The Interview, Survey Finds

MENLO PARK, CA -- Acing the interview is no easy feat, a new survey shows. Nearly one-third (32 percent) of chief financial officers (CFOs) polled believe job applicants make more missteps at this stage of the hiring process than at any other. Twenty-one percent of those polled said the greatest number of errors occur on resumes.


The survey was developed by Robert Half Finance & Accounting, the world’s first and largest specialized financial recruitment service. It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from more than 1,400 CFOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies with 20 or more employees.

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


Interview.. ..    32%..
Resume.. ..    21%
Cover letter.. ..      9%

Reference checks.. ..      9%

Interview follow-up.. ..      7%

Screening call.. ..      6%

Other.. ..      2%

Don’t know/no answer.. ..   14%



“Not knowing enough about the company or position, displaying a bad attitude or inquiring about compensation prematurely can all leave a negative impression with hiring managers,” said Max Messmer, chairman of Robert Half Finance & Accounting and author of Managing Your Career For Dummies® (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.). “For job seekers, the interview represents a time to shine. Thorough preparation -- including researching the employer, rehearsing responses to common questions and understanding appropriate topics to discuss -- is the key to avoiding potential pitfalls.”


According to Messmer, how candidates behave during an interview is often viewed as a barometer of how they will perform if hired.  “Accounting professionals must be able to present complex data and concepts to senior executives, clients and colleagues in other departments, many of whom may not have financial backgrounds. By effectively delivering information in a challenging situation such as the job interview, accountants can prove they possess the communication skills required to be successful.”


The resume also is a critical job search tool, Messmer added. “The most fail-safe method for ensuring all application materials are error-free is to have a friend or family member review them before they are submitted.”

Founded in 1948, Robert Half Finance & Accounting, a division of Robert Half, has more than 330 locations throughout North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, and offers online job search services at www.roberthalf.com.


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