Succeeding in Your Financial Hiring Interview

Job interviews can be intimidating and nerve-wracking for even the most accomplished finance professional. However, being prepared goes a long way in curbing those nerves. Below are a few tips to help you navigate the interview process with poise and confidence.

Do Your Research

As a finance professional, you need to research before any interview. No matter how busy you are, spend at least 30 minutes learning as much as you can about the company – its financial performance, clients, culture, history, mission statement, values, competitors, etc. The first few questions that will be asked in an interview are, “What do you know about us?” and “What did you do to prepare for the interview today?” Candidates who take a little time to prepare can set themselves apart from those who don’t.

Review Your Resume – And Then Have Someone Else Look At It

Proofread your resume repeatedly to ensure there aren’t any mistakes or typos. Be sure to review it both on screen and paper – different errors may stick out depending on how you look. When you’re confident it’s ready to go, have someone else proof it and make sure everything makes sense and nothing is misspelled. A fresh, outside perspective may catch something you missed. Your resume is your opportunity to make a positive first impression, and it is important to demonstrate your attention to detail. Know how to make the best resume at

Show Off Your Communication Skills

In a finance position, you’ll need to be able to translate a company’s numbers into a clear and insightful story. Go into the interview with examples of how you’ve done this. If you don’t have that experience yet, still be ready to show your communication skills by offering thoughtful, articulate responses. Try to avoid the overuse of jargon and acronyms.

Brush Up On Excel

You need to be able to navigate Excel proficiently if you want to grow your career in finance. Even for entry-level positions, you should be able to build models using tools like macros, Vlookups, table arrays, discounted cash flow analysis and pivot tables. Have examples of how you’ve used Excel in the past, and don’t be surprised if the interviewer asks you to complete an Excel test. If you’re already an expert, explain how so with confidence (but not arrogance). If not, find ways to develop your skills in a classroom setting or on the job.

Prove Your Industry Knowledge

Part of having a job in finance means staying current on industry updates. New accounting standards and financial technology are being introduced, and mentioning some recent anecdotes in the context of an interview can demonstrate that you’re following the news. The interviewer may even ask you about recent news and how it could impact the company. Demonstrating awareness of the changing landscape can be a differentiator for you.

Find Something That Sets You Apart

One of the most complex skills in finance is financial modelling, so having that on your resume and being able to talk about it knowledgeably will make you stand out. If you don’t have that experience, find something else to set you apart from your competition. Perhaps you have great presentation skills and the ability to create advanced charts or graphs. Or maybe you’ve been a part of a team that led a multi-million dollar acquisition. Whatever it is, make sure you highlight it on your resume and find an opportunity to discuss it during the interview.

Have Examples Ready To Use

You should have a few examples of work experience ready in your mind that can be tweaked to answer any number of questions. You want to put your best foot forward in the interview, so think about work you’ve completed or different anecdotes you have that will make a great story during the interview. Quickly diving into a story will show your confidence and experience. Be yourself and tell your personal experiences to prove you have what it takes to do the job and allow the interviewer a chance to see your personality shine.

Don’t Forget About Community Involvement

Do you volunteer in the community? Do you like to network or keep in touch with former colleagues or bosses? Are you on a basketball team? These might seem like irrelevant details, but they show how you interact with others and your community. You don’t just need to fit the job description; employers also need to understand how you might fit into the company. Share these experiences during your interview to prove that you’re a well-rounded candidate – both professionally and personally.

What Makes This A Tricky Question?

This straightforward question—” why do you think you’ll be successful in this job?”—asks you to consider three separate things that may be more complex than you expect.

First, why do you think you will be successful in this job? What special talents, experiences, passions, or attributes mark you as an outstanding candidate?

Second, what does ‘successful’ mean in the context of the job for which you’re applying? Would it mean hitting sales targets, generating breakthrough research papers, solving technical problems, or something else?

Finally, why are you particularly well-suited to this job instead of similar positions at other companies or entirely different professions?

What Is The Interviewer Asking?

On the surface, the interviewer asks you to show off a bit: this is a golden opportunity to talk yourself up and draw attention to the qualities that will make you a valuable employee. However, that won’t be enough because the interviewer is also trying to gauge how serious you are about the role you’re applying for.

Serious candidates, the reasoning goes, will know as much as they can about the role, and their answers will possess the two qualities that often get successful applicants over the line: specificity and relevance. Therefore, the question could be rephrased: “What are your best specific attributes, and how are they relevant to the specific demands of success in this role?”

Here are some other things the interviewer will consider when evaluating your response:

  1. How informed are you about the position? Do you understand what it involves? Do you know who you’ll be working with? Do you have a good sense of what your performance criteria will be?
  2. Are your goals congruent with those of the company? Will you aim for a measure of success that benefits both you and your employer?
  3. Do you care enough about the job to know what distinguishes it from other similar positions? Is it the people? The focus on a particular field of research? The training opportunities?


The best opportunities in finance will have many interested, qualified candidates. However, if you are ready for a move and meet the basic qualifications for the role you want, don’t hesitate to go for it. These tips and your experience and accomplishments can give you the edge you need to accelerate your career.