Banking and Finance interviews questions can be very diverse and this is what makes questions that much harder to predict and answer. Finance interviews can range from corporate finance technical questions to strength and behavioural competencies. Therefore we have put together the top X banking and finance interview questions and answers for you. In addition for all you aspiring and experienced investment bankers out there, we will cover common investment banking interview questions.
1) How do you Deal with Stress?
The banking and finance world can be amongst the most intense and stressful in the work. Burnout is common and managers want to know whether you’re going to be able to last in their organisation. Therefore it’s common for employers to explore how you manage to stress levels. Usually when answering this question don’t only talk about what you do at work, also mention what you do outside of work to de-stress. i.e. in work, making sure you have regular breaks: outside of work: meditation, working out, cycling, reading etc.
2) Tell us about your knowledge of financial regulation and compliance?
Since banking and finance is a heavily regulated industry, a firm understanding regarding, financial regulation and compliance is important. The degree of knowledge you will be required to showcase in your finance interview will vary from role to role. If you’re in risk management, the level of regulatory knowledge you are to demonstrate at interview will be greater than say someone who works in relationship management. The way to prepare for a regulatory interview question is to make sure that you’re up to date with the latest developments beyond just the standard which is to be expected.
3) If you saw a colleague do something possibly unethical, what would you do?
This is an important question that comes up in financial interviews, in particular if you’re working within investment banking, where it is possible to fall out of the parameters of the law or ethics in the pursuit to make the biggest windfall. Therefore banks and investment firms make it a necessity to ensure that they recruit personnel who are on the right side of the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) boundaries.
When this question comes up, it’s always important to include a mixture of common sense and understanding of ethical, legal and moral boundaries and be able to differentiate them. For example if the question of legality then it’s important to, document and escalate to a senior manager. However if it’s on the ethical side, with no legal foul play, the answer has to be far more nuanced. From talking to the colleague to convince them to change their ways, to raising it with their line manager less formally, making them aware of it and discussing ways to resolve it i.e. a chat, further training etc.
4) Provide an example of where you’ve had a colleague from another department disagreeing with you on a particular financial matter, how did you resolve the issue?
If you are going for a finance interview for a role with strategic and operational importance to the organisation or client, then a question regarding disagreements is likely to come up. If you’re know what type of finance companies are in the finance field that you’re interviewing for such consultancies such as EY (Ernst & Young), Delloitte, PWC (PricewaterhouseCooper) or KPMG this question will be related more to your interactions with clients rather than it being internal. In both situations within a finance interview what the interviewer is interested in assessing is your ability to find a resolution in a diplomatic and amiable. The key with answering this question is to utilise emotional intelligence in your answer, this means how you listened intently, how you understood their feelings and motivators beyond surface levels and finally how you were able to work in partnership to find a win win solution.
5) Tell me about a time where you’ve had to make a difficult decision, that could have strategic or operational impact?
In the field of corporate finance and banking there are many types of finance roles from risk management and financial controller to investment banking and financial analysis. In these interviews they are assessing your ability to make good decisions under pressure. Therefore it’s important to give a full and complete answer. In this behavioural question it’s critical that when using the STAR technique (Situation, Task, Action, Result) that you breakdown the various components i.e. the different types of KPIs, Data, Bigger picture issues, internal politics etc. When making a decision and it’s strategic or operational importance. By systematically going through each components and weighting up each ones worth to the strategic or operational objective you’ll be able to present a complete overview and in-depth answer which many people find tricky.
What are the basic questions asked in a finance interview?
There are four basic finance questions that you should always be prepared for.
- Talk me through your CV?
- What do you know about us?
- Why you?
- Tell me about a time where you’ve had to deliver to a tight deadline?
How do I prepare for a finance interview?
There are three key things that you need to consider when preparing for a finance interview, firstly to research the organisations secondly research their finances and finally develop your competency stories.
Researching the organisation is important, it gives you an idea company’s values, mission and ethos. Additionally most finance interview are multi-phased and usually have a presentation or written exercise, in these type of situation, being able to integrate your knowledge and research about the company will give you the edge in terms of making your presentation or written exercise. You will be able to show a deeper, more nuanced understanding about the organisations finance problems and answers which will help separate your from the competition.
Researching the company’s finances in important, if it’s a public company with shareholders you will be able to access all this information online on the company’s website. If it’s a smaller firm you will be able to do it by going to companies house and reviewing their annual accounts. The reason why this is important for your finance industry job interview is obvious but overlooked by many, consider this… if you’re in finance surely you should know about the company’s finance, this innumerable benefits. It will allow you to gain an in-depth understanding of the organisations historical and current financial performance which you can then integrate in to your interview answers or presentation. Also it gives you some discussion points at the end of the interview, which will show your considerable high level knowledge of the organisation. Also it will give you a considerable advantage over the competition, even if it’s an entry level role such as a NHS finance placement interview.
In finance the interview is mostly likely to be behavioural and situational. Therefore having compelling example stories is critical. The important thing here is to combine your knowledge and research about the organisation and finances in to your answers so that they are more empathic and relatable to the interviewers.
Which company is the best for finance?
Below are our list of some great companies to work for if you’re in finance :
- PricewaterhouseCooper (PwC)
- EY (Ernst & Young)
- Citi Group
- Barclays Bank
- Bank of America
What are the basic questions of corporate finance?
Corporate finance is definitely the arrow head of the financial world. Therefore corporate finance interviews are particularly focused on whether you have the right organisational fit and commercial acumen.
Questions to be prepared for include:
- What motivates you?
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
- Provide an example where you’ve been proactive in developing a business improvement solution?
- Tell me about a time where you’ve identified potential growth opportunity with a client, how did you seize the moment?
- What are you currently doing as part of your own professional development?
Where will I find finance internships?
There are three avenues that you use to find a finance internship. This includes reaching out to your university career centre, they will be able to provide you with the latest list of internships. Second avenue is to visit organisational websites, job boards and LinkedIn and see if any opportunities listed. Thirdly is to network, with LinkedIn it’s easier than ever before, why not send a message to a particular senior finance manager or HR within the organisation and they will be able to point you in the right direction.
Are banking interviews difficult?
The finance interview process is definitely more demanding than most other industries. They generally compromise of multiple stages with different line and HR managers, including written exercises, psychometric tests, interview presentations and a situational interview.