inhousetax.co.uk - Talentpool Selection
About In House Tax

About In House Tax

This weblog is a news and views site for tax professionals within the UK and international in-house tax community.  You will find information about appointments and people moves in and around the in-house tax market, issues affecting the in-house tax professional, opinions on the state of the tax job market, updates on tax technology, and other general thoughts of the day.

Hope you find it useful.

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Location: St Albans, United Kingdom

This site has been developed by Simon Godley, who also runs the niche tax recruitment company Talentpool Selection . Simon spends a lot of his time placing tax specialists into FTSE companies, large in-bound groups and some professional services organisations. He also recruits and is well networked around the UK tax technology and VAT markets.

Tax News

Interviewing for in-house tax positions: 5 Do's and Don'ts

Tuesday, 29 March 2011


By Simon Godley

Interviewing for a job opportunity is not something that will come naturally to most people. It can be quite an intense and uncomfortable experience. Ultimately, like a lot of things, it gets much easier with practice and training. And it's no different when interviewing for an in-house tax position, either with a Head of Tax / senior tax manager or with a company's FC / Head of Finance.

Here are some basic Do's and Don't to help to set you on the right track:

5 DOs:

1. Do some research, but not too much. Of course, this is much easier these days, as you can click around on LinkedIn to view the interviewer's profile and the company profile. Have a look around the company's website, and most definitely have a good look through their financial statements, if these are publicly available. Have a close look at profit level, how it has changed over last 2-3 years, and how much tax has been paid etc. This will give you a better understanding of the business, and potential scope of the tax department and role.

2. Found out as much as possible in advance about the role (e.g. level of compliance vs planning, does it include VAT or employee taxes work). Better still, find out if there are any pertinent projects that will need tackling in the short term (e.g. transfer pricing position). Then, you must prepare in your mind how your experience relates to these needs, and explain (to yourself) how you can apply this experience to the job role. Of course, looking at the role through a specialist recruiter that is 'in the know' with the client will enormously help on this point.

3. You need to be clear in your mind before the meeting as to why you are looking at the opportunity, and more generally why you are looking for a job move. Again, talk this through with yourself, and have a 'script' for if this common question crops up.

4. Review your CV again, and talk yourself through all the job moves you have made, and why. Also, does the content of your experience on the CV accurately reflect the work you have actually done, or does it 'talk up' your experience? If it does, beware, because a good interviewer will expose this.

5. Either during the interview, or more likely at the end, have some questions prepared to ask the interviewer. Probably 2, or 3 at the most. Probably not more questions about the role (as this will have been covered), but maybe questions about the company's sector, or more on the business activities, or about the person's background. Remember the old adage that if people are talking about themselves to you, this will reflect very well on you.


5 DONTs:


1. Don't dress casually, unless it is expressly suggested that you should. First impressions count for a huge amount in an interview. Remember that the interviewer will, in most cases, only remember about 10% of what you say, but will have a strong image imprinted in their mind as to what you look like.

2. Don't think it's going to be only an informal chat. It may well be, but don't assume that's the case. When you are going to talk to someone about a job role, which will be working for them, they will always be assessing your skills and strengths for the job, irrespective of how informal it feels.

3. Don't be nervous. I know...I know this is much easier said than done. But just remember that the person that is interviewing you is just a human, with their own faults and weaknesses. You're just going along to discuss how suitable you may be for a job, so try not to get too wound up beforehand. If you look and sound very nervous, this will count against you, and you are much less likely to get the job.

4. Don't find yourself waffling on, and getting off the point. Try to give shortish and concise answers to most questions, apart from where it is obvious that you need to expand. After you have answered the question, STOP talking. If there is a long pause or silence, that's good, as you created a 'powerful silence'.

5. Don't try to look 'cool' or play hard to get. This could easily come across as you are not very interested in the job, in which case you are unlikely to get a 2nd interview. If you are really interested in the job, then at the end of the meeting, say so. Tell the person that you are really interested to progress further, and would welcome another meeting.


I'd welcome any comments or feedback on this.

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posted by Simon Godley

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