How to research a company for a finance job interview

Fail to arm yourself with sufficient research on a company for a finance job at your peril! If you manage to reach the interview stage in banking, finance and accountancy then you’ve done incredibly well.

Your interviewers are going to be on the lookout for some genuine knowledge and understanding of who the firm is and what they do at this point, and unfortunately if you fail to demonstrate this side of things in the interview then you won’t be in with a shot. You might even end up feeling like a bit of a doughnut if you can’t give an answer to a question related to this. So how do you go about your research on the firm before your interview?

Step-by-step on how to research a finance firm

A fair bit of this may seem like common sense. But you’ll be surprised how many people fall short of these aspects of interview preparation!

  1. Check out their website as a first port of call (but this shouldn’t be your only research source by any means). What service lines do they cover? How many offices do they have, and in which locations? What are their specialist areas? Are there statements they make which stand out to you as particularly impressive? So many questions… but things you need to know!
  2. Know the industry they work in. What kinds of challenges are facing the firm? What are the strengths of the industry?
  3. Gain an understanding of the firm’s clients where possible. How big are they? Which service lines did they utilise?
  4. Check out the company’s financial position by searching for recent sales/income figures too. It’s always good to demonstrate an understanding of these elements of the business.
  5. Be sure to glean information from beyond the company website. Look at what’s going on in the business and current affairs news, as well as industry press. Search the company on Google News and talk to your connections! Hopefully by the time you’ve got round to applying for a role, you’ll have already done some work experience. It’s not just about what the company is doing; it’s about displaying an understanding of their culture and ethos too.
  6. What are any notable deals in the press recently? How might this affect your reasons for wanting to work for this company?

You won’t always be asked directly about these aspects in the interview; the trick is to quite naturally weave your research findings and knowledge into your answers—and that takes practice! However, if you do your research in good time and make the effort to learn the facts, then you should be able to formulate your opinions and answers to questions using your research findings as a basis.