BANKING: Common Questions


This covers general interview questions encountered in most job interviews. While these are generic questions, the answers should still remain relevant to the position being sought and should reflect a desire to work in the specific industry.

1. Tell me about yourself. The most common interview and probably the hardest to answer. This is a chance to give the interviewer a very brief rundown of your past including education, previous job titles, goals and experiences all specifically related to the position in which you are applying for.

2. What specific goals have you set for yourself/where do you see yourself in five years? Striking a balance between honesty and ambition is key. Honesty is important as interviewers can often tell when a candidate is lying to them, but keep the goals relevant to a professional career and most importantly, to the job you are applying for. For example: “I hope to stay at the company and expect that in five years, I’ll make a significant advance in the organization.”

3. How has your college experience prepared you for a career in business/finance? Discuss the key skills you have developed during your four years at the university in addition to the experiences you have had outside the classroom such as positions in clubs, organizations, etc. Make sure to keep these experiences related to the industry. Anything in a leadership position is usually a safe bet.

4. What has been your most rewarding accomplishment? This is a great time to impress the interviewer with professional accomplishments. Demonstrating success through use of quantitative data is usually the best way to go. For example: During my time at Investment Bank X I was able to increase the rate of return by 10% for one of my private wealth client’s portfolios.

5. Describe what you’ve accomplished toward reaching a recent goal for yourself. Employers want to see that you are proactive. Highlight a past experience in which you created a plan of action for yourself to achieve a goal. Ex: Going back to school or taking a training course, forming a team, etc.

6. Tell me about a major problem you’ve had and how you handled it? This is the part of the interview where the interviewer is looking for problem solving/conflict management skills. Describe an instance in which you had to take an immediate plan of action to alleviate a situation. Try to keep names out of the story such as former employers and companies, and don’t play the blame game. This is also a way for the employer to see how you handle pressure. Finance is a very stressful, high stakes industry and your manager needs to know that he/she can count on you to remain calm under a variety of situations. Remember to mention the end result (using measurable data again is a great way to demonstrate progress/improvement)

7. What are Your Weaknesses? Turn a negative into a positive. Pick out qualities that can be seen as both good and bad and no matter what, always give examples of how you are working to improve your behavior.

8. What is your desired salary? Prior to the interview, conduct thorough research on the salaries of those in related positions with similar work experience. While salaries will vary due to location, experience, size of firm, etc., having a relative range shows your employer you are prepared.

9. Why did you decide to seek a position in this field? Researches the company first so you have a good idea of what the firm offers its clients and employees, and then match those to your own personal goals and values. Employers also want to see passion. They don’t want to hire someone that just wants a job, so prove you’ve done your research on both the position you are applying for an the industry.

~Catherine B.

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