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Five Tips for an Interview in the Finance Sector

Know your achievements, and don’t forget to unleash them!

It’s no good assuming that just because your interviewer has read your CV that there is no need to talk about the achievements you have on there.  Work ethic and teamwork capabilities are particularly (in fact massively) important to finance, and you need to flag up examples of these however and wherever you can, whilst also demonstrating your market knowledge.  Be sure of your achievements and the competencies and technical skills they represent before you go in for the interview, and let them flow when the appropriate moments come up.

Avoid coming across as over-confident, though, Confidence is great. Smarmy know-it-all attitudes, however, don’t go down well in interviews in the finance industry. Much as you might think that’s the stereotype!

Be clear on why you choose that firm over their competitors

Competitor knowledge is just as important as research on the company itself. Look at profits, developments of service lines, coverage in various geographical areas and notable deals and use this information to craft your reasons for choosing the firm you’re interviewing for over any other competing firm.

Be prepared for scenario (and just plain strange) questions

Okay, so these can be very difficult to prepare for as they are put in to test your nerve and problem-solving abilities under pressure. It’s likely that you will be asked to consider your actions in the role under different scenarios at some point. And there’s a distinct chance that you’ll be asked a question that seems incredibly random to test your mathematical skills or rational and logical thinking under pressure. You’ll be able to find examples of the kinds of questions you might be asked online. The best you can do is be aware that something of the like will come up, and have a crack at answering the practice questions you find. 

Don’t neglect to think about the position itself

Get an idea in your head of the things you’ll have to do on a day-to-day basis in the role you’re interviewing for. Embellish this with the facts! You can use those contacts you’ve been beavering away gathering up of the past few months, or even couple of years, to get a much more realistic idea of what the daily grind will be like. What’s more, if you’ve got as far as in interview, it’s highly likely you’ve undertaken some relevant work experience too. Don’t be afraid to give specific examples of things you’ve done that are similar and refer to this prior experience directly when you give your answer.

Remember that your interviewer is human

You may feel like you’re undergoing a serious grilling in a finance interview, but that doesn’t mean to say that you can’t use your dazzling personality to your advantage, smile, or stay ridiculously serious for the whole time. Obviously, your answers always need to pack a punch and demonstrate your knowledge and technical skills, but there could still be an appropriate moment to joke a little if the time is right. Within reason, of course! And a smile and laugh at a joke or smart comment from the interviewee too won’t go amiss! Don’t go overboard with paroxysms of laughter, though. That would just be awkward!

By Jos Weale, Editor, AllAboutFinanceCareers.com