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Taking on AAT Level 3 apprentice

Interview questions

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I am interviewing candidates for a Level 3 AAT apprenticeship next week - this is the first apprentice I've taken on.

I would like to ask others that have employed apprentices-

Is there anything in particular you would ask at interview stage for this (or a similar) role? I was thinking of talking through their CV, future plans and maybe asking a few basic bookkeeping or IT questions.

I am interviewing a mix of people with and without 'real' work experience.

Many thanks in advance!

Replies (7)

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By Moonbeam
10th Aug 2017 18:46

"Poissonality" is everything. Prepare beforehand by working out some open questions based on what they've said in their cv. What's been their most difficult moment so far in their academic/personal life and how did they overcome it. Can they give you examples of how they've coped with pressure to date? Then sit back and listen.

Thanks (1)
Hallerud at Easter
11th Aug 2017 11:05

From one interview I attended a long time ago, and depending on expected existing skills, setting a little incomplete accounts exam type question (sole trader or partnership) should be considered.

(To prepare a P&L and B/S using last year TB,cash analysis for current year, debtors, creditors, stock, depreciation, bad debt adjustments etc)

It is not a bad way of checking, in a short time period (20 min-30 min), that they know their debits from their credits, have a semblance of understanding re accounts layouts, and can work under a "little" pressure.

Supply a quiet room,analysis paper,pencils, rubber, calculator and a PC with Excel, and see how they deal with it.

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Replying to DJKL:
By SteLacca
11th Aug 2017 12:38

I'd go with this. I attended an interview once (though it was exclusively a tax role) where they'd put together a little exam that they asked me to complete before I even got to speak to anyone.

I passed the test, but still didn't get the job. Not that I was too upset, it was in a lovely little picturesque village that was a nightmare to get to.

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By mrme89
11th Aug 2017 11:22

People often comment that the lack of written and mental arithmetic skills apprentices have. You could have a short test (15/20 mins) that has a few questions on debits / credits, some arithmetic and some questions such which word fits into the sentence ... effect vs affect type of thing.

The questions for the interview could include:-
1. What made you choose accountancy as a career path?
2. What interested you in the role at XYZ Accountants?
3. What do you think a typical day is in the life of a practice accountant?
4. After studying the AAT, where do you want your career to go from there?
5. What do you like to do outside of work?

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By accountantccole
11th Aug 2017 17:40

Our new apprentice (starting at level 2) did a week's work experience at Easter, if they have no experience at all, they might be prepared to do the same and then you get a real feel for what they are like, before you make the offer. They also get to see if they really like it/you.
Might be harder for someone in practice already.
Principles of double entry type test seems like a sensible idea if they are supposed to have experience or relevant training

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By Carl London
15th Aug 2017 14:57

Thanks all for your help. My candidates didn't have a great understanding of journals but perhaps my expectations were too high!

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Replying to Carl London:
By Cheshire
15th Aug 2017 15:02

Carl London wrote:

Thanks all for your help. My candidates didn't have a great understanding of journals but perhaps my expectations were too high!

Such are only covered at level 3, although for some reason appears to be the hardest module for most students.

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