What questions will they ask you in an interview? How to make a good impression on the hiring managers? And who will get the job at the end? Simply, how to prepare for this challenging experience and walk away with a new job contract?
I will try to answer the question. Welcome to FinancialAnalystInterviewQuestions.com, website that specializes only in financial analyst interviews. My name is Jeremy Hopkins, I have interviewed job seekers in a specialized finance and accounting recruitment agency for seven years, and today I will try to help you succeed in your interview.
What questions should you expect?
Typical FA interview starts with a few simple, screening questions. We will inquire about your goals, attitudes, abilities, motivation, and experience, trying to get a basic understanding of your personality and skills. We will use some of the following questions in the first part of an interview with you:
- 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?
- Tell us something about your experience.
- Why do you want to work for us, and not for some other company?
Behavioral & experience questions
Once we understand who you are, and what you want to achieve in life, we will progress to behavioral questions. Inquiring about your behavior in various work-related situations, we try to understand your attitude to work, how you deal with pressure, failures, successes. We will also ask some targeted questions regarding your experience with financial analysis, to understand better your knowledge of the job.
You should prepare for 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 or to a colleague.
- What was the worst financial forecast you made?
- Describe a situation when you were under pressure. How did you handle it?
Technical questions form the third part of a typical interview process with a financial analyst job applicant. Your answers to these questions reflect your readiness for the job and your true knowledge of financial analysis. The difficulty of questions depends on the level of job you try to get (entry-level, intermediate, advanced). In this part of an interview, we expect to hear precise and correct answers from you.
- 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 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?
In my experience, more than ten people apply for every single entry level or intermediate financial analyst job opening. Most likely you will face some competition in your interview. We will screen out some people right in the beginning–they just won’t be ready to do the job. But you can expect at least two or three other job candidates to have good knowledge of financial analysis, and to offer decent interview answers to the most difficult questions.
Only one person typically gets the job, however. It will be the one who offers great answers to our questions, and manages to somehow stand out from the other job candidates.
How can you stand out?
Try to show motivation and enthusiasm. Devote enough time to the pre-interview research, learn as much as you can about their company. Come up with the best possible interview answers. If you have strong people skills, you can try to build relationship with your interviewers, winning them over during the interview.
Seek help if you need
I hope that this website will help you to get rid of stress (if you feel stressed), understand what to expect in an interview, and prepare great answers to some of the most common interview questions for financial analysts.
And if you look for some advanced help, if you want to prepare better than your competitors, you can check my eBook, in which you will find brilliant answers to all difficult behavioral and technical interview questions, and a step by step guide on how to ace your interview.
Jeremy Hopkins, Your Personal Interview Coach