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Difficult Interview Questions for a Financial Analyst Position

by Charles Crawford

Financial analysts -- also known as securities analysts and investment analysts -- guide companies and individuals in making investment decisions. Financial analysts work for mutual fund companies, investment banks, hedge funds, banks, insurance companies and other financial services companies. The competition for financial analyst positions is fierce. Candidates typically endure a challenging hiring process, including interviews that feature difficult questions. There might be several interviewers, one at a time, during a candidate's visit to a company. Typical interviewers in finance are interested in potential "fit", technical-financial knowledge and how much the candidates know about the company.

Manufacturer's Interview Questions

Financial analysts at manufacturing companies should be open to working with various department across the company. Common question include: What is your greatest weakness at work? What do you think is the most important financial control of a company? How would you explain net present value to someone who knows nothing about finance? If a company is the leader of its industry, with 80 percent of the market, what challenges do you think the company would face for being in such a position? Tell about a time when you faced a roadblock in your work and how you overcame it.

Investment Bank's Interview Questions

Those seeking jobs at investment banks should research the firms thoroughly and demonstrate to interviewers that they are truly interested in working there. Some question to expect: Why do you want to work at our bank? At what value is our stock trading? Why should we hire you? What questions do you have? What have been your greatest career accomplishments and challenges? How much do you read and which books do you prefer? What are some risks you have taken at work?

Technical Interview Questions

Interviewers who ask technical questions are trying to judge how deeply involved in finance the candidate is. Candidates should be comfortable talking about technical aspects of the job. You might be asked to: Describe a project in which you have used financial modeling skills. Discuss business casing and ad hoc analysis. Have you worked on a budget for a business-expansion project? If so, describe it. How do you monitor economic, business and industrial development? How do you prepare action plans for financial analysis?

Unusual Interview Questions

Some interviewers use seemingly meaningless questions to catch candidates off guard and see how they react. Will they freeze, show frustration or show flexibility and decisiveness? These questions run the gamut: If you woke up in the morning the size of a small bird, what would you do? How many people in New York City were on Facebook yesterday at 3:00 p.m.? How many traffic lights are there in Boston? How many basketballs would fit in your kitchen at home? If you could be any famous person from the past, who would it be and why did you make that choice?

About the Author

Charles Crawford, a former commercial banker, has been a business writer in New York since 1990. He has produced marketing materials for an executive outplacement firm, written the quarterly newsletter of a medical nonprofit organization and created financing proposals/business plans. Crawford holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Science in international affairs from Florida State University.

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