The Best Questions To Ask At Your Next Financial Services Job Interview


The questions you ask – or don’t – can say a lot about you.

Preparation is key. Students who conduct extensive research prior to an interview will be able to ask better, more informed questions, says Tang Choy, career counsellor at Ryerson University’s Career Development and Employment Centre in Toronto.

Familiarize yourself with the industry, company and position. Scan the news, know the company’s stock price and review its past financial performance. Do not ask a question if its answer is easily obtainable online. And stay clear of questions pertaining to salary, employee benefits or vacation time, Tang suggests.

Students should ask one or two questions – but prepare more – on the company, the position or the next phases in the recruitment process. Evaluate the interviewer’s verbal and non-verbal cues to assess their willingness to respond to your questions, she says. “Quality questions matter more than quantity.”

Learn more about the employer, its people and the position by tailoring any of these counsellor-recommended questions in your financial services interview. And read on for tips from a recent graduate and industry professional.

Financial services job interview questions: What should you ask?

Tips from a career counsellor:

What created this vacancy?
How the employer responds could reveal high turnover, unrealistic expectations or speak to the firm’s culture.

How can I exceed your expectations in the first three months?
This question will reveal what the manager values and how performance is measured. It suggests that you are goal-oriented, a key attribute in the financial services industry.

What are some of the key traits exhibited by top performers?
You want to thrive in this position and emulate the behaviour of the company’s best. It is an opportunity for you to reinforce the qualities and skills necessary to achieve performance metrics, Tang says.

How long have you been with the company? What motivates you to stay here?
This question addresses the personality of the people working at the firm and the character of the organization. Do you share the same values and beliefs? Assess the company’s culture through the interviewer’s response. Is this somewhere you would want to work? Is this someone for whom you want to work?

Are there opportunities for professional development and career advancement?
Will management offer frequent feedback on your performance? Does the company promote from within? Are mentoring programs available for new hires? If professional growth is a priority for you, ensure it is also a priority for your future employer.

Tips from a Corporate Banking Analyst:

Networking with industry professionals can help address some role-specific questions prior to your interview, says Martin Danaj, a Corporate Banking Analyst at one of Canada’s big 5 banks and a recent graduate from the Schulich School of Business at York University. Attend information sessions, engage in meaningful conversation and exchange business cards.

“My most successful interviews were the ones where I spoke the least,” Martin says. “The more the interviewer speaks, the more likely they are to agree with everything that was said and leave the interview feeling good about how things went.”

The key is to be genuinely interested in the company and financial services in general. “It’s even better when you ask open questions regarding their business and you land someone who loves to talk about what they do.” This reinforces the importance of gauging the interviewer’s willingness to speak through their cues, as previously suggested by Tang.

“An interview is a two-way process,” Tang says. “The firm chooses the student the same way the student chooses the firm.”

Make your questions count. They could leave a lasting impression.

Which interview questions would you add to this list? Share your suggestions in the comments section below!

Financial Services Week

Photo credit: Questions by Tim O’Brien on Flickr

About the author

Christina Pellegrini has recently completed her BBA in marketing and organizational behaviour at the Schulich School of Business. She is studying for her Master's of Journalism at Ryerson University and looks forward to a career in business journalism. Follow her on Twitter at @chris_pelle.