Finance Job Interview Tips (1/3)-Self Introduction | Why apply | Behavioral Questions

How to deal with interview questions like Self Introduction/ Why do you apply for this job?/ Behavioral Questions/ Tell me you weaknesses



4/19/20233 min read

After having your CV polished, the next step you are going to impress your potential employer is, of course, an interview.

Given a wide variety of finance jobs in the market, ranging from equity research analyst, economist, credit analyst, investment banker, private banker to auditor, it’s impossible to discuss all types of interview questions for these different jobs.

But you should prepare for these frequently asked questions in any interview for a finance job
  • Introduce yourself (Now we’re here!)

  • Why do you apply?(Now we’re here!)

  • Behavioral questions/ Tell me your weaknesses (Now we’re here!)

  • Case scenario

  • What was the most difficult situation you faced at work and how did you tackle it?

  • Do you have any questions for us?

Besides, you also have a tactic in mind about —

  • How to impress your interviewers by showing your financial skills and experience in a subtle and humble manner?

  • what should you avoid doing in an interview?

As a finance veteran who has experienced >100 interviews as an interviewee and an interviewer, I’d like to share my views on these one by one.

Self introduction

In my opinion, this is the fairest part in a finance job interview — every candidate gets 1–3 minutes to give a self-introduction to leave a first impression (while some interviewers are taking the time to glance through your CV and improvise what to ask next). This is where you can get most thoroughly prepared and fluently present yourself.

  1. Start with a greeting and thank the interviewer for taking the time to meet with you (to show your humbleness and gratitude).

  2. Introduce yourself by stating your name and a brief summary of your background and experience (don’t hurry to describe your whole CV at once. Keep it concise, state the highlights, and give a hook for the interviewer to ask further later — or else they’ll have very little to ask!).

  3. Explain your interest in the job and the company. Research the company beforehand and mention a specific aspect of the company that you find appealing (to show your enthusiasm about the role and the company).

  4. Highlight your relevant skills and experiences that make you a good fit for the job. Mention any achievements that demonstrate your expertise (again, keep it concise!).

  5. Conclude by expressing your excitement about the opportunity (show your enthusiasm).

Keep your self-introduction concise and focused. You don’t want to overwhelm the interviewer with too much information, but you also don’t want to be too brief and leave out important details. Practice your self-introduction repeatedly to sound confident and professional.

Why do you apply?

It’s important to demonstrate your knowledge and interest in the role, as well as your alignment with the company’s goals and values. For example,

  • Your company has a reputation for being a leader in the field of equity research and I’m excited about the prospect of working alongside such a talented team and learning from experienced professionals.

  • After researching your company and the position, I was impressed by your commitment to innovation and using technology to enhance financial performance. I’ve always had a passion for risk management and I believe my skills and experience in this area would be a valuable addition to the team.

  • I’m interested in this role because it provides the opportunity to work on complex financial projects. I’m excited about the challenge of analyzing financial data and identifying areas for improvement.

Behavioral Questions

Rule of thumb: Be honest and genuine. Focus on the positive sides.

Do you prefer working independently or on a team?

This is a trap — you can’t say either one side as most work environments require both individual and team aspects. You should say how you enjoy both. Let’s say, on one thand, you enjoy focusing alone to maximize your efficiency in writing research or some detail-oriented tasks. On the other hand, you would love a team where you can brainstorm and obtain diverse opinions and feedback.

Have you ever made a mistake and how did you handle it?/ What are you weaknesses?

Don’t say ‘I’m detail-minded person and never made a mistake at work’. Be honest and genuine. We all made mistakes. As an interviewer, I just want to know (1) if you can keep a cool head in face of adversity, (2) what steps you have taken to efficiently minimize its adverse impact at scene and (3) remedy the mistake afterwards.

More importantly, ‘never waste a good crisis’. We want to know (4) what you learnt from the mistake, and (5) what steps you have taken to prevent similar mistakes from happening again in the future. Even when you are talking about a disaster, you can always focus on the positive sides like efforts made and lessons learnt.

Good luck with your interview!