Chapter 6: Careers tips for Canadian University Students January 19, 2013 admin 0
Financial Analyst Interview Questions & Tips
**UPDATE: Note: Please see Peter Dunkart’s new seminar videos here: Ace The Financial Analyst Interview Success Seminar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HixdCw7STuE
I found a highly informative video regarding Financial Analyst Interviews. In this video a Senior Financial Analyst at a Fortune 100 company outlines some tips and goes over some questions and answers for Financial Analyst Interivews.
Transcribed video begins here: Hi Peter here from FinancialAnalystInterview.com, if you are watching this then you are a part of the Ace Your Financial Analyst Interview program that I have created.
Being a Financial Analyst can be a very rewarding career option, however getting the job can be a difficult process. Trust me, I know – I was rejected from numerous Financial Analyst positions simply because I didn’t know how to prepare for the interview.
In this video, I will be walking you through some potential Financial Analyst Interview questions that you may be asked and review the core competencies that the hiring manager is looking for.
I also want to take this moment to congratulate you on being a step ahead of all the other candidates who are probably sitting at home confused, and surfing the internet for information that essentially may or may not be relevant to a Financial Analyst Interview.
Right now you are ahead and you have an advantage so don’t give up your lead.
One of the most important questions asked in a Financial Analyst Interview, and one I ask every single candidate I interview is:
Give me an example of a problem you faced on the job, and tell me how you solved it?
This is a problem solving question that tests your critical thinking skills. This is a great question for showing that you are a creative and capable problem solver. I go over this question in-depth on page 23 in the Ace your Financial Analyst Interview guide. But, here is how I would answer it:
“That’s a great question. At my last job I frequently had outstanding invoices that would throw off my accounts receivable. I was responsible for getting out weekly revenue reports to my VP, and we regularly made a lot of important decisions based on these reports, so it was of utmost importance that my reports were as accurate as possible. First of all, I always made sure that I had great relationships with the Account Managers so I always knew that I could write a quick email or make a quick call and the Account Managers would help me out with issues surrounding client payment. Also, I would research the problem thoroughly so I had all my “ducks in a row” before I started asking questions and taking up other people’s time. I would try to solve the problem on my own at first, with the information available to me. Also, I would start to create the reports on Wednesdays. That way I made sure that I would have plenty of time to get to the bottom of things in case any issues happened to come up. That way I was able to solve the frequent problem of accounting discrepancies.”
During your Financial Analyst Interview you may be asked some questions specifically to do with what you will be doing in the role. For example:
What do you know about Variance Analysis? and tell me about a time that you used Variance Analysis to come to a conclusion
Here, the hiring manager does not really care that you can talk for 20 minutes defining Variance Analysis. This is just a lead in to the ultimate question, which is give me an example of how you have used Variance Analysis to come to a conclusion. BEWARE, do not start rambling incoherently – it is extremely important that you provide a structured response. I go over the Winning Interview Combo secret to do just that on page 10 of the Ace Your Financial Analyst Interview Guide book. For this question it is important to identify the problem; discuss the variance analysis, its cause and impact and a proposed corrective action. Here is how I would answer it:
“Variance Analysis is the evaluation of performance by means of variances, whose timely reporting increase the opportunity for remedial action. FOR EXAMPLE, in my previous role as a “Y Analyst” I conducted a variance analysis on our sales figures to determine the cause for our lacklustre performance in the prior quarter. I analyzed all the sales drivers and compared them with their budgeted requirements and their values in the same profitable quarter the year before. In due process, I realized that the marketing department had a positive variance of “X dollars”, which means they had not spent their entire marketing budget. This was good news for the marketing executives as they received a bonus tied to the amount of money they saved however resulted in lower sales values. We corrected this problem by tying the marketing executive’s bonuses to the sales numbers. As a result, our sales figures went up in the next quarter and my manager was very pleased with my contribution on this project.
I go over this question and questions like these on pages 16 and 17, It would be helpful to review those pages so that you know exactly how to structure the answer to really hit the competencies that the hiring manager is looking for.
On page 7 I go over one of the most fundamental aspects of acing the Financial Analyst interview and that is the core competencies that you must hit to ensure that you get the job offer.
The First is Work Orientation and Stamina:
Financial Analysts are an integral part of the team in any organization. Therefore, it is imperative that the manager knows that he or she can rely on you to come through when deadlines need to be met.
Therefore you have to show that you can handle the mental intensity and hard work that is required to get the job done. More importantly in your answers indicate the high tempo and speed at which you work and your capacity for endurance. Show that you invest the time and energy necessary to get the job done right the first time.
Take a look at page 20 in the Financial Analyst Interview book where I provide an excellent sample answer you can use in your interview.
The Second is Analytical ability:
This is your ability to visualize, articulate, and solve both complex and uncomplicated problems and concepts and make decisions based on available information. As a Financial Analyst you will have to create forecasts to determine certain future conclusions. To do this you will need to use assumptions that must be logical and reasonable. Therefore, it is imperative that you demonstrate analytical ability during your interview. I go over a Forecasting question that showcases analytical ability on page 19 of the Financial Analyst Interview book, also make sure you review the Technical Prep binder that came with this course.
The third is Commitment:
Commitment is essentially your capacity for being dedicated to your work. You should demonstrate a strong belief in what you do or what you want to do.
Demonstrate that you are willing to make a sacrifice for people, for work, and for the company when appropriate because you are a committed person.
Show a strong responsibility to not only the hiring manager and the company, but more importantly to customers and clients.
You can demonstrate commitment by speaking about times where you went above and beyond the call of duty.
Take a look at page 26 in the Financial Analyst Interview book.
For the rest visit FinancialAnalystInterview.com.