Should I stick to generalities in interviews or do I need to quiz them on specifics of the roles?

I’m about to hire my first accountant and sales person. However, I don’t know much about the skills needed in either role, other than I need them. Should I stick to generalities in the interview or do I need to quiz them on specifics of the roles?


Imagine a candidate sitting in an interview and the business owner says, “I don’t really know what skills I’m looking for but I know I need someone.”


Not really a confidence builder for a potential employee to want to join the company.


Businesses differ and where one business may require a qualified accountant, another business may only need to employ a bookkeeper.


The starting point with any role you are going to recruit is to put a job analysis together.


A job analysis steers you in the direction of what is required to fill the gaps in your business. Start by setting up a document with the following headings and then fill in what the business requires:

  • What is the main purpose of the job? For example, manage all accounting functions of the business.
  • What are the main accountabilities for this position? There should be between three and eight main accountabilities (what is done in the role). For example, company accounts, BAS, taxation.
  • What are the main tasks that must be performed under each of these accountability areas? For example, weekly payroll, banking, monthly profit and loss statements.
  • What levels of education or tertiary qualifications are required? What technology and level of experience is needed? For example, Diploma of Accounting or CPA, specific accounting software or advanced spreadsheets and a minimum of five years experience.
  • What are the skills and aptitudes required for the position? For example, complex formulas, highly detailed, ability to work autonomously.
  • What style of personality will fit with the cultural environment? For example, results driven, fast paced.


The job analysis also provides the information you need to construct a position description, which should be provided to all candidates at interview.


It allows you to write your recruitment ad with specific responsibilities that will attract the right candidates and help you efficiently screen resumes.


A final note, prepare your interview questions from the job analysis or position description to ensure the candidate you appoint meets the requirements of the role.


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