So, you’ve got to interview? Congratulations—you’re closer than ever to securing that position. But, hold your horses; the biggest test is yet to come. The interview is one of the hardest parts of the whole process, but here about AllAboutFinanceCareers we’ve found out some common questions and how to answer them. So, without further ado:
Every interviewer will want to find out how you work both as a leader and as a team player, so a combination of these two questions is a universally-accepted fact.
1. Tell us about a time when you led a team.
A lot of jobs these days require leadership at some point in the process. It shows you have the potential to manage a group and that you’re comfortable with responsibility. Use a recent example that shows off your full range of skills—tell the story in an interesting and concise way, while making sure you show what you aimed to do and how you achieved it.
2. When did you work as a member of a team and what role did you play?
It’s also important to be able to work as part of a team and therefore not try and muscle in on leading every project. You don’t have to prove your leadership abilities if they ask you this, just your interpersonal skills. Show you can listen and fulfil instructions independently for the good of a project, as well as how your part of the job helped the team as a whole.
Interviews are about selling yourself, so your competencies are extremely important. Think carefully about these, as there are loads of potential trip hazards in competency questions, but remember they’re also a perfect opportunity to showcase yourself.
3. Tell us about yourself.
This is the eternally tricky question. Everyone struggles with this, so don’t worry—you’re not alone. We recommend getting this one straight in your head before any interview, so you’ll be set if it does come up. Think about characteristics that you possess that are relevant to the job and then work them into an answer that demonstrates your experiences. Don’t get too personal and start talking about your family history—you need to show your employability and professional skills here by working them into a friendly dialogue. Problem solved.
4. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
The employer will want to hear your key skills that you can bring to the table when they ask this. Make sure your strengths are backed up by relevant examples and obviously give them far more weighting than your weaknesses. When you do have to talk about your shady side, show how you have learned from making mistakes before and that you know how you are going to sidestep them in the future.
5. Where do you see yourself in five years?
This is another one that requires a bit of thought and a bit of research. Make sure you have delved into the company and the role and that you know the trajectory of where you’re going. Be ambitious without being ridiculous (no-one is going to take you seriously if you tell them you’re going to be the CFO within your five-year plan). Set out a clear path and let them see how determined you are to get to where you want to be.
People want to see a keen interest in the industry you’re working in and that you’re interested in their firm in particular. This section is all about the groundwork—do your research, prepare well and you’ll stroll through no problem.
6. Why do you want to work for this company?
Here your motivation is being assessed. The company are looking for people who actively want to work for them, rather than just for any company in the industry. Demonstrate your research into the employer and talk about anything you’ve found, including its competitors, culture, and projects if you really want to nail this question.
7. What do you think caused the financial crisis?
Unsurprisingly, this one is a fairly recent addition to the interview circuit, but what they’re trying to glean here is a sense that you’re interested in the industry and have been connected to it for a while rather than as a spur-of-the-moment decision. Show some depth and give a sensible answer and you’ll be fine—just try to not blame the people you’re trying to work for!
For years I have studied American finance regulations. All the information in this blog is sourced from official or contrasted sources from reliable sites.
Salesforce Certified SALES & SERVICE Cloud Consultant in February 2020, Salesforce Certified Administrator (ADM-201), and Master degree in “Business Analytics & Big Data Strategy” with more than 13 years of experience in IT consulting.