Going to an interview for a finance director position can be daunting, particularly as you are likely to be asked some in-depth and complex questions because of the nature of the job. You need to make sure that your expertise and experience comes across well in the interview to show them that you deserve the role.
Preparing for a finance director interview
Recruiters say the best candidates are those who can demonstrate a thorough understanding of the company and its goals. Therefore, it is vital you research your potential employer in advance.
You should have a good level of knowledge about the service or products it offers, its market position and wherever possible, its financial position as well as an understanding of the wider industry.
The technical side of finance interviews is also growing and you will need to have in-depth knowledge of different financial models and how they could be applicable.
Practising case studies is also a good idea as there is a good chance you will be presented with one to assess your problem-solving and analytical skills.
Potential interview questions
You can expect the questions you are asked to be a mixture of broad and technical. Here are some examples:
Describe in your own words our company and ethos
If you have researched thoroughly you will be able to elaborate on this, picking out key areas of importance and notable news or company changes.
Why do you want the job of finance director?
The company wants to know you are passionate, enthusiastic and good fit for them. Describe some key attributes such as your experience in finance and how that experience would help further the company’s growth.
What financial challenges have you overcome?
A hiring manager will want to know about any issues you have faced in previous roles and how you have dealt with them.
How do you manage a successful budget?
This is your chance to demonstrate your skills as a finance director, how you run day-to-day operations and what you have done in previous roles.
Why should we hire you as finance director?
This is your chance to reiterate your skills, qualifications and showcase your personality. You need to be very familiar with the job description and the skills required and you should be able to demonstrate how you meet all those particular skills.
Potential interview scenario questions and how to answer them
Hiring managers increasingly like to use case studies so candidates can demonstrate their ability to problem-solve, analyse information critically, and think on their feet. Case studies will vary enormously but could be things like:
- The company wants to expand with a new product line. Should they do it through existing channels or launch a new company?
- The business has noticed a decline in profitability. Can you identify why and work out a cost-effective solution to improve it?
You won’t be expected to give all the right answers straight away but you will need to demonstrate understanding and how you would tackle the issue.
Generic interview questions
On top of the financial questions you will no doubt get asked more general ones:
What is your biggest weakness?
This is always a delicate one to answer. Pick a small problem that you can easily correct such as being overly concerned with details, or something which is actually a strength as opposed to a weakness e.g. I am overly conscious about checking my work repeatedly to ensure it is perfect.
Name your biggest accomplishments
This question isn’t always work-related and can cover other achievements such as sporting prowess, charity work or volunteering you’re involved with. However, if you are showcasing your abilities and have a really good success story from your work with a previous company then this is a great opportunity to bring that up in detail.
How would you best describe your personality?
The recruiter wants to understand your values and beliefs and how you would fit into the company.
What sort of leadership style do you have?
As a finance director is a senior position you might be asked how you manage people and persuade them of your arguments to best achieve your objectives.
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