How to prepare yourself for interviews in finance

job interview, recruitment, diversityThe thought of leaving university and entering the workforce can be nerve-wracking.

But don’t panic, it’s just the next step. You’ve scored your first job interview in the financial sector, but now what? How can you best prepare yourself for the interview and potentially land that first job?

The second part of this series shares top tips from two talent team representatives at a top investment firm on the different types of interviews you may face when seeking a job in the finance industry.

The importance of interviews

Interviews are really important, no matter what type.

They help introduce the company and people you might be working with to the interviewee so both sides can find out whether you’re a match. Don’t forget that interviews are an opportunity for you to find out more about the company to see if you’d like to work for them. You are gathering information about them just as much as they are finding out about you. You’ll also be expected to have done some research about the company. So go prepared, do some research and come up with some questions that are relevant to the role you’re applying for.

You landed the interview, yay! What’s next?

You’ve made it through the first hurdle, landing the interview. But what should you expect? There are multiple types of interviews: phone or Skype interviews, face –to–face and assessment centres are the most common.

  1. Phone interviews

Some employers may use a phone interview to do an initial assessment of candidates. Phone interviews help recruiters get a sense of the candidate, and help the candidate to ‘feel out’ the employer. The phone interviews may last around 20-30 minutes. If successful, the applicant will be invited to the next stage which may be a face –to–face interview or an assessment centre.

  1. Face-to-face

If you progress to a face –to–face interview, it can take place with one individual or a panel and usually lasts up to two hours. It may also involve some kind of written test. When thinking of your answers, try to frame them using the STAR technique (situation, task, approach, and result). It will help you form your answers effectively.

  1. Assessment centres

Some employers use assessment centres, which may feel a bit overwhelming at first, but they allow you to show your skills and strengths in more detail. Assessment centres are conducted by employers who employ a large number of graduates. Recruiters will assess candidates in a range of situations such as group work, written tests, and presentations. The assessment day usually lasts one working day.

  1. Video interviews

Video interviews are slightly different as everything is managed online. Some employers may ask for a Skype interview, while others may ask you to make a creative video for YouTube or be composed of 20 questions you’ll need to answer in 20 minutes. If you have to answer questions, you will usually have the opportunity to have a practice test. Take advantage of the practice test; it will help with your time management for the real thing.

So remember…

An interview is your opportunity to make a great impression. Make the most of your unique selling points and why you’re the best candidate for the job. Anticipate possible interview questions and decide in advance how you’ll answer them.  Remember to be enthusiastic and friendly but professional.  Dress to impress; be engaging and always make eye contact with everyone in the room. Don’t be afraid to show your warm and personable side as employers want to recruit people who get along with each other.

One last thing

You’re now CV and interview ready but here’s one final top tip. Before sitting an interview make sure you check your social media for any inappropriate posts! Your potential future boss may check your Facebook or other accounts.  You don’t want anything to ruin the chance of landing your dream job. Good luck!

About the author

Hema Tank is Associate Dean at The London Institute of Banking & Finance, a registered charity and leading provider of financial education. It’s a specialist university college providing undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in banking and finance; and an awarding body for professional qualifications in the sector.

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