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, consultant at financial recruitment agency, and Matthew Chulaw, independent interview coach. Welcome!
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, where we analyze, explain and answer the question. However, we suggest you to read the entire page before clicking a particular question, in order to understand all the nuances of this interview, and what decides the winner at the end of it. Practicing answers to the questions without having this knowledge would make a little sense. . . .
- 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, especially in the US. Interviewers inquire about various work-related situations from the past, trying to foresee your behavior in similar situation in the future.
Recruiters may use the following behavioral questions in your interview:
- The biggest mistake you’ve made in your job so far?
- What profitability models have you used for forecasting a project? Which model do you consider the best one?
- Describe a situation when you had to meet a tight deadline.
- Describe a situation when you struggled to communicate something to your boss or your colleague.
- 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 successfully dealt with. It will help your confidence in a behavioral interview.
Note: Even though many applicants don’t realize it, recruiters also test your real working 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 any behavioral question.
Technical questions form the crucial part of every financial analyst interview. Your answers will reflect your readiness to do the job, and your true knowledge of financial analysis. If you want to succeed, you should have an answer ready to 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?
What to say at the end?
Ready to answer personal, behavioral and technical questions, your chances to get a job are quite good.
However, do not forget that other applicants also try and prepare for the interview, hoping to outclass you and get a job.
There are several ways how you can stand out from the crowd of these applicants and further improve your chances of getting the job:
- Show high motivation in an interview. You can be the one asking lot of questions, about their company culture, working environment, goals for analysts. Be interested in them, and they will be interested in you. . . .
- Try to make a good connection with the recruiters. Smile, pay compliments, listen carefully, show respect. . . .
- Bring something extra. Portfolio of your work, written recommendation from your past employers, you should try and bring something that others won’t bring with them to the interview.
- And finally, you can consider purchasing eBook I wrote, Financial Analyst Interview Guide, in which you’ll find brilliant interview answers to all tough technical and behavioral questions. The book also includes practical exercises with solutions, and winning interview strategies. Regardless of purchasing, I wish you good luck!
Jeremy Hopkins, Your Personal Interview Coach