You may be most at home analysing numbers, preparing financial forecasts and working with spreadsheets but if you want to actually get a financial analyst job in the first place, then you need to nail those interview questions.
information for financial analyst candidates
A financial analyst is responsible for assessing the economy within the context of a business or industry and making recommendations. It’s often their advice which will help a company’s management team decide whether to buy or sell shares, make capital investments and manage budgets for existing or future operations.
It’s a highly skilled and specialised role which means you need excellent commercial awareness and a thorough understanding of the industry you’re in as well as first class technical skills.
Going for a financial analyst job interview can be a daunting prospect but with a bit of clever prep you’ll not only be able to answer confidently, you’ll sail through and create the right impression.
experience-based questions for financial analysts
You can expect a few questions around your existing work experience – interviewers will want to know what you did, what responsibilities you had and what experience and knowledge you gained.
tell us about any financial analyst work experience or any relevant work experience you have.
This is your chance to explain any previous positions you have held, your responsibilities and key skills you have acquired as a result that would add value to the position you’re applying for.
do you have experience in…?
Specific financial modelling software If you do, then great. Explain how you have used that software. If not, don’t panic, you might not have specific experience but you can point out the software you do have experience in as well as your willingness to learn.
what would you say is your most successful project and why?
Use this question as an opportunity to wax lyrical about your achievements. If you can, use an example where you can demonstrate tangible results.
describe a time when your financial advice helped the management team make a better decision.
Again, this is your chance to shine and provide a firm example of how your work has benefitted a company.
describe a time you made a bad financial decision. How did you learn from it and how would you stop it happening again?
This isn’t a trick question and interviewers accept you’re not infallible. The trick with this one is not to hide any bad decision you made but rather to focus on how you learned from it and how you can use that knowledge to make a more informed decision in the future.
Interviewers will ask these sorts of questions to discover whether you have the right skills for the position.
explain financial modelling.
There is a high chance you will be asked this question if applying for a financial analyst role. Practise a succinct answer in advance and if you can, use a specific example related to the company you’re hoping to work in.
describe and explain a cash flow statement.
This should be basic stuff for a financial analyst but it still pays to have an answer prepared that covers what it is, how it functions and how it differs from an income statement or balance sheet.
what is NPV and where would you use it?
Explain what Net Present Value is and make sure you have one or two examples of where you would use it in the course of your role.
what programmes do you use for creating monthly, quarterly and annual sales reports?
Explain the software you would use for carrying out these functions and why you use them. Describe any advantages you gain as a result of using those programmes.
do you have experience in annual planning processes?
This isn’t just a yes or no answer. You’ll need to expand on what experience you have and how it’s beneficial to business.
great answers for general questions in financial analyst interviews
Interviewers will ask general questions to gain a sense of who you are, what your ambitions are and whether you’ll be an asset to the company.
what do you know about our company?
Make sure you do your research before the interview and find out all you can about the company in question. Look at the company website and search out financial reports if they’re available. Check for any recent news, announcements or innovations the company might have made.
what makes a good financial analyst?
Think of all the attributes that you think make a good analyst and why.
what do you do in your spare time?
There is no specific right answer though there are plenty of wrong ones! Share something that gives a potential employer a sense of who you are without revealing something that disqualifies you from the job. For example, a hobby that keeps you physically active or any volunteering work.
what are your career goals?
Again, there is no one right answer. Focus on your short-term goals before moving to long-term goals. Don’t be too specific and focus on how your goals fit with the company you’re applying to – the interviewer wants to know you’re not planning to jump ship soon after you join.
do you have any questions you wish to ask us?
Don’t make the mistake of thinking you’ve already given great answers so don’t need to ask a question or two. Coming up with something forward-thinking about the job is a big bonus but don’t be afraid to ask simple questions such as what they really want from you apart from the job description or how they see the role developing.