Are you prepared for these 11 finance interview questions?
If you’re looking to ace your next finance interview, you need to know the core finance interview questions. How you answer them will determine your success or failure.
While finance is a broad field, covering investment banking, retail banking, insurance and other financial services, certain behaviours and skills are key to success in almost any role in the sector, at any level of seniority.
That means you can expect questions on these competencies. Read on to discover what you’re most likely to be asked – and how best to answer each question.
Finance Interview Questions and Answers
1. What motivates you at work? (Or: What motivated you to choose finance?)
When you’re asked about your motivation, it’s not enough to demonstrate that you’re motivated. You need to show that you’ll be a good motivational fit with the role and the company, so make your motivators relevant to what the role provides.
For most finance jobs, those might include:
- Managing challenges
- Achievement and recognition
- Getting the required results
2. What has been a major achievement in your career?
When you discuss your achievement, explain the challenges you faced on the way, how you overcame them to succeed, and why it was important to you. Make the reasons relevant to the role you’re interviewing for, and emphasise how your achievement can translate into success in the role.
3. Tell me about a time when you dealt with a difficult client successfully.
This question assesses your resilience and persistence in the face of a challenge as well as your problem-solving and people skills. Difficult clients are part of working in finance, and you need to show that you can deal with them. In your answer, give an example that clearly shows how determined you are and the people skills you used to succeed.
4. How do you persuade other people to your point of view?
Persuasiveness is a key quality in most finance roles. Good answers here will focus on determining needs, choosing the most suitable approach and getting the right interpersonal style. Back your statements up with a recent example.
5. Tell me about a time you negotiated a win-win outcome.
This is about a specific kind of persuasiveness: your ability to communicate a plan or options in a way that gets people on board. Demonstrate how you can look at other people’s positions, present them with alternatives and reach an agreement that’s positive for everyone involved.
6. What’s your approach to teamwork? (Or: How have you had to adapt to work effectively in a team?
The teamwork question is about your ability to build relationships and contribute to the team’s success. Adaptability is key here, so demonstrate how you’ve assessed each person on the team and chosen the best approach for their individual needs.
7. Tell me about a time you dealt with a high-stress situation.
Here, the interviewer wants to know that you work well under pressure. The nature of the situation isn’t that important – just demonstrate that you’re capable of staying calm and planning to reduce stress.
8. Describe a tough financial analysis problem you’ve faced.
When you get this question, demonstrate your analytical skills by explaining clearly what you did to solve the problem and why. You need to show that you can break down, organise and analyse information and identify key issues.
9. How can you add value to this organisation?
Notice the wording here. You’re not just being asked how you can add value in general, you’re being asked why you’re a great fit for this specific organisation. This is the moment to show how well you’ve researched the company and developed an understanding of its goals, achievements and challenges. Give examples of the skills and ideas you could bring that would boost profits and growth.
10. What are the biggest challenges and opportunities for finance professionals today?
Here, you’re being asked to demonstrate your knowledge of the state of the industry and the current economic climate, including:
● The impact of COVID
● Recent innovations
● Regulatory changes
● Tax changes
● Reputation and trust issues
● Credit availability
● Cost reduction
● Staying current with new technology
● New online competitors
11. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
This is nobody’s favourite question, but the interviewer isn’t trying to catch you out – they’re assessing your self-awareness and insight.
Whatever strengths you give, make sure you also give examples of how you demonstrate them at work. And when it comes to weaknesses, you don’t have to say “perfectionism”. Don’t be afraid to mention areas where you genuinely struggle, as long as you explain how you’re successfully working to overcome them.