Interviews can be daunting, no matter what industry you’re interviewing in. If you’re interviewing for a job in the financial sector, you’ll want to spend some time preparing answers centered around why you want to be in that particular industry–what is it about finance that you find fulfilling, and how can your experience and knowledge benefit your employer?
To help you prepare, here are five tips for interviewing in the financial sector.
You’ll need to know more than the basics of what the company you’re interviewing with does and how long they’ve been in business. Look into things like the chairman’s most recent statement about their accounts and annual report. Read news stories about the company, especially ones that highlight people you’ll be working with.
Focus your research on areas that genuinely interest you to make it easier to remember what you found and also to increase your level of enthusiasm and excitement about the company. Your authentic energy will shine through during the interview.
The role is separate from the company. When you research the role you’re interviewing for, you need to determine what the skills and qualifications are. You’ll want to know if the role is new to the company or if it’s a role that has been recently vacated. If you’re working with a recruiter, you should be able to get all of this information upfront so you can better prepare for the interview. If not, then you might not get all the answers until you’re in the interview.
Think about how you personally will fit into the role. What strengths do you bring to the table? How will your past experiences help you fit into the role? You’ll also need to think about your weaknesses. What will be the most challenging thing about coming into this role? Where will you need help and support? Thinking through these questions ahead of time will keep you from coming up blank during your interview.
It can be easy to talk about what you did, where you worked, who you worked for, and when you worked for them. But talking about your “why” can be harder. Talking about why you chose this career path or why you decided to leave your current job gives your interviewers more insight into who you are as a person and how you operate. It brings your resume to life and can make you stand out among other candidates who simply give an in-person rundown of their resume during their interview.
It sounds cliche, but you really only do get one chance to make a great first impression. Show up for your interview on time (a few minutes early is OK). Dress professionally and make sure you’re well-groomed. Stand up straight, and look your interviewers in the eye as you firmly shake their hands and say hello. Relax (as much as you can) and smile. If you’re interviewing for an external-facing position, it’s especially important to present yourself in a way that makes your interviewers feel comfortable in putting you in front of their clients.
Your exit should remind your interviewer of why you were brought in to begin with. Make sure you let the interviewer know that you’re interested in the position. Don’t go over the top–keep it simple with something like “From what I learned today, this is exactly the position I’m looking for,” or “After talking to you today, I’m more excited than ever to work for this company.” Your genuine enthusiasm for the company and the position will help the interviewers remember you and let them know that you’re excited at the prospect of working with them.
In addition to the above tips, make sure to spend time preparing for standard interview questions. You’ll want to have concise, well-thought-out answers to questions about your experience and credentials, along with why you want to work for this particular company in this particular role. Your recruiter can help you with any questions you have before the interview happens.