How to: Prepare for a Payroll Interview
Prepare & know your CV
Be clear in your processes & how you can/have improved them
Know how you affect the bottom line
Finding a payroll position within a progressive business can significantly enhance your career trajectory, so it is imperative to do everything in your power to prepare effectively to increase your chances of landing that all-important next role.
That’s exactly why I’ve put together my advice on how to prepare for a payroll interview. Firstly…
Prepare & know your CV
It feels like a blatantly obvious piece of advice to start with, but there is no getting around the fact that 99.9% of the time, your CV is the first impression you make on a potential employer. And first impressions count.
Ensure your CV is clear and concise. Keep to the points which are relevant to your position and make clear the number of people you were processing payroll for and the regularity of that. By doing this, you will instantly be showcasing whether or not you are suitable for the position, saving both yourself and the business time.
Whether or not you should include personal interests on a CV can be a contentious topic, but I’d recommend doing so. The reason being…
Having a positive personality is so important for payroll professionals within the recruitment sector and is often a key differentiator between candidates.
Payroll professionals are often the brand ambassadors at the cold face of a recruitment business and the role can take on an element of customer service. Therefore, it is important that you can demonstrate in an interview that you will be able to effectively represent their brand and handle any queries in a personable manner. Clear communication and having a friendly personality will help set you apart.
Another important reason to display your personality is that recruitment businesses are looking for somebody who can fit in with the whole business, not just the finance team. It is important for payroll professionals in the recruitment sector to be able to communicate with the consultants - it’s their contractors who you’ll be dealing with!
Be clear in your processes
In the vast majority of payroll interviews, the client will run through your CV and ask about your experience in each previous role as well as asking about the nuances between each role. Make sure you prepare your answers here as this will allow you to be as clear and concise as possible. Be thinking about the basics, the payroll process, how you deal with timesheets and payments, etc. These factors can really set you apart from the competition in the interview process. This is effectively the client’s way of distinguishing how much training you will need if you were to join their business and how quickly you will be able to hit the ground running.
Recruitment payroll is extremely specialist and having experience within the sector is incredibly advantageous. If you do come from a recruitment background, make it very clear and prepare examples of how you’ve handled potentially tricky situations in the past.
How do you add value?
Central to the payroll department is process and efficiency, and recruitment is all about commerciality. Therefore, having the ability to demonstrate that you have an ability to improve processes is a fantastic way to demonstrate your commerciality and this will resonate with both senior finance professionals and business leaders.