Five Star Worthy Interviews

In our last blog, I discussed the All In Intensive Program we’ve participated in, and what qualities bookskeep feels make an excellent employee for us. While these qualities are an important piece of the hiring puzzle, finding candidates with the aptitudes and skills necessary is equally crucial.

There are several fields, accounting roles especially, that offer the opportunity to use skills tests to find knowledge and proficiency. Of course, testing for accounting terms and 10 key speed is important, but there are also traits important for your business that you can’t test for. So, if there’s not a test, how can you find these traits?

The answer is interviews and well-thought-out questions. Good questions will come from your important attributes. So write up a list beforehand. Here’s ours:

  1. Analytical Skills
  2. Assertiveness
  3. Customer Focus
  4. Energy
  5. Excellence Standards
  6. Independence
  7. Integrity
  8. Intelligence
  9. Organization/Planning
  10. Passion
  11. Resourcefulness
  12. Rule Follower/Checklist Lover
  13. Self-Awareness

Other things, like taking risks and persuasiveness, may be important for other career fields, but they’re not as well suited for bookkeeping roles.

When you’ve figured out about a dozen attributes that fit your business, you’ll need to decide the level of importance each one has on a scale of 1-5. On our list, integrity is a top trait, so it rates a 5. Since Resourcefulness and Independence are also important for us as a remote team, we put them as 4s or 5s.

The next step is to come up with some questions that will allow you to quiz candidates on their “skill level” for each attribute. Questions like, “Tell me about a time…” or, “Give me an example of…” are good because they’re open-ended.

These kinds of questions don’t signal the results you want, which is important when interviewing. Ask your questions and then allow the silence work in your favor. I can promise that it’s more uncomfortable for them than you. Make sure you’re really listening to how candidates answer. This allows you to question in more detail and better understand the confidence candidates have in themselves and the attribute you’re testing for.

As we have worked through creating our interview processes, we’ve asked questions about the qualities we’ve been discussing as well as aptitudes and attributes. We’ve changed our process to include doing multiple interviews to allow us some time to get to know our candidates. Of course, we ask interview questions, but we also set a little bit of homework and ask a candidate to navigate a spreadsheet during a call to make sure they know how to use the tools. Efficient employees are vital in a bookkeeper role.

While you’re defining the processes, be sure you’re taking “quality” time to get to know your candidates. You can get to know them on a more personal level and better determine their fit on your team in their role. This isn’t a “shortcut” process. You have to take the time to get to know the candidates, so make the most of the process.

If you’re looking for a better hiring process and don’t know where to start, I encourage you to try the program and let it help you. Please reach out to me at and I can send you in the right direction.


Interested in Profit First?

profit first for ecommerce sellers If your ecommerce business isn’t where you’d like it to be in terms of profitability, check out my book, Profit First for Ecommerce Sellers. It answers important questions about how to implement Profit First in an ecommerce business. Take control of your money and your business, and put Profit First to work for you!

You can also sign up for the Profit First for Ecommerce Sellers Online Course. As a Mastery Level, Certified Profit First Professional, I will teach you why Profit First works so well for ecommerce businesses and the particular challenges for businesses that have physical products requiring inventory management. You will learn how your behavior drives your money management habits for your business and how you can set up your business bank accounts to work with your habits.

Check out all our ecommerce accounting and profit advising services here!


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Post Author Cyndi Thomason

Cyndi Thomason

Cyndi Thomason is founder and president of bookskeep, a U.S.-based accounting, bookkeeping, and advisory firm for ecommerce sellers worldwide. She has a passion for data analysis and process development. She uses that passion to educate her clients and help them structure their businesses to maximize profits.

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