How to answer your finance job interview questions better than anyone else

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There are three main ways for a graduate to make a great impression with their answers to a recruiter’s finance job interview questions. They will serve you well whether you are looking for finance internships or entry level finance jobs in London.

Many of the skills required for a career in the financial services will be learnt on the job and they will differ from job to job. Employers understand that as a graduate you are unlikely to have a great number of these skills so they tend to look for following when recruiting for entry level finance jobs:

The first key to answering finance job interview questions: Numeracy skills

It is very likely you will have done well at maths. You enjoy working with numbers. You may also have what is termed ‘numerical intelligence’ which means more than simply being good at adding up and subtracting: you will understand the language of numbers well so that you can interpret what they say.

The second key to answering finance job interview questions: Social skills

Even if you do not have much finance experience on your CV all is not lost. As we have said, finance skills can be learnt. However, if you can show a wealth of extra curricular skills you will stand a good chance of getting an interview – employers will expect you to show potential through your involvement in clubs and society especially if you have taken a role in the club or society. This could be sports, music, debate or anything else that shows a rounded and well developed character, good social skills and the ability to work well with other people.

The third key to answering finance job interview questions: Current affairs

There is a third way to stand out in for a graduate job in the finance industry, and that is to show that you have a real interest in the job and the industry.

A general understanding of what is going on in the market, basically current affairs in finance, is key. You will be up against many other graduates looking for a career in the financial industry. The best way to stand out is to show you know what you are talking about – so keep up with the movers and shakers and major events in the industry.

Finance students are always told to keep an eye on the FT. Reading the paper is standard interview prep. Follow the main stories and then choose one, though not necessarily a main story. The reason for this is that everyone will know about the main stories anyway, so choose one that is less well headlined, then study and know it inside out. An interviewer may ask you if there is anything in the news taking your interest. When you talk about your story the interviewer will think, ‘This person isn’t just aware of the stuff everyone else knows but even those they don’t.’ He or she will think you’re a real expert!

Familiarise yourself with the main things that happen in the local or global economy or in politics that impacts on finance. Employers will want you to have a general idea of these things.

As well as the FT, a great resource for helping you to sharpen your awareness of events in the financial industry is the website headlinemoney. It reports on news in the finance sector and also lists the public relations departments of most of the top finance companies.

The site also has a calendar, produced in partnership with the retail stockbroker The Share Centre. Use this to find dates for industry reports, conferences, market surveys and media events, and also valuable insight and information about forthcoming corporate results from a much wider variety of companies.

Make use of the analysis and predictions from Sheridan Admans. He is an investment adviser based at The Share Centre who writes and comments on what to expect as a result of economic announcements.

If you can demonstrate that you possess numerical intelligence, great social skills and an awareness of current affairs in finance, you stand a greater chance of standing out from other candidates as you answer your finance job interview questions.

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