What questions should you expect in your financial analyst interview? How to impress the interviewers? What decides the winner at the end? Simply how to prepare for this challenging experience and walk away with a coveted job contract?
We will try to answer these questions on our website that specializes only in financial analyst interview. Written by Jeremy Hopkins, recruitment consultant at financial recruitment agency HW Search, and Matthew Chulaw, independent interview coach.
What questions to expect?
Interview typically starts with few simple, personal questions. Recruiters will inquire about your goals, attitudes, abilities, and experience, trying to get a basic understanding of your personality and communication skills. They may use the following questions:
Note: Clicking a question will direct you to a separate page on which we analyze, explain and answer the question. However, we suggest you to read the entire homepage before clicking on particular questions. It is important to understand all specifications and nuances of this interview, before you start practicing your interview answers.
- Why do you want to become a financial analyst?
- What do you want to accomplish on this position?
- Where do you see yourself in five years time?
- What motivates you?
- Why should we hire you?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Behavioral interviewing has become very popular in recent years. Interviewers inquire about various work-related situations from the past, trying to foresee your behavior in the future.
Recruiters may use the following questions:
- The biggest mistake you’ve made in your job so far?
- What profitability models have you used for forecasting? Which model do you prefer, and why?
- Describe a situation when you had to meet a tight deadline.
- Describe a situation when you struggled to communicate something to your boss orcolleague.
- What was the worst financial forecast you made?
- Describe a situation when you were under pressure. How did you handle it?
You should try and recall the situations, especially those you dealt with successfully.
Note: Even though most applicants don’t realize it, recruiters also assess your real level of experience with behavioral questions.
An experienced analyst should easily remember a wrong forecast he made, or a tight deadline he had to meet. But someone who only pretended to have an experience would struggle to come up with an answer to their questions.
Technical questions form the crucial part of every financial analyst interview. Your answers will reflect your readiness for the job, and your true knowledge of financial analysis. If you want to succeed, you should have an answer ready to each of the following questions:
- Describe the processes you use to create reports.
- What systems and programs would you use to prepare illustrated technical reports using graphs, spreadsheets and draw charts?
- Can you explain financial models?
- Have you created month-end sales reports?
- How do you calculate a company’s cash flow?
- Which stocks do you frequently track? Why?
- What profitability models have you used for forecasting a project? Which model do you consider to be the best one?
- Are you familiar with developing business casing and ad-hoc analysis?
- When you are given a large financial analysis project, what is the first thing you do?
- Describe a project; what financial practices did you target in that project?
- What methodologies do you use in your financial analysis?
Standing out from the crowd
Your chances to get a job will be quite good, once you are ready to answer both behavioral and technical questions.
But you should not forget that many people apply for financial analyst job openings, and you’ll compete with a variety of people. You should try your best to stand out from the crowd, which is not easy to do….
You can try showing high level of motivation by asking questions about their company culture, working environment, goals, etc. Be interested in them, and they will be interested in you. You can also try to make a good connection with the recruiters. Honest compliments and humble attitude will help you to build such a connection.
Financial Analyst interview Guide
We suggest you to check the questions on this website, one by one (see them in the menu or in former paragraphs), and mock the answers. This will help you to relax, and feel confident in your interview.
If you want, you can also check the eBook I wrote, Financial Analyst Interview Guide, in which you’ll find brilliant interview answers to all difficult technical and behavioral questions, practical exercises with solutions, and winning interview strategies.
Regardless of your next step, I wish you good luck and hope you’ll succeed in your interview.
Jeremy Hopkins, Your Personal Interview Coach