Are Your Finance and Technology Interview Skills Letting You Down?

Are Your Banking and Technology Interview Skills Letting You Down?

by Mark Nancarrow in career
Your CV has won you an interview, which means it’s time to get serious about maximising your chances of landing the role.  

In the ever-changing banking and technology fields proof of results are all that truly matters, and the same rule applies for interviews in this sector, where you need to show that you’ve researched the company in detail and are ready to prove your worth with data and concise, hard-hitting examples of your past success.  

In truth, if it’s taking you less than a full day to prepare for your interview, you’re probably not sufficiently ready to win the role against other top-tier candidates.  

Here’s a four-stage plan to thoroughly prepare you for your upcoming interview.  

Stage 1: Communicating Your Relevant Strengths 

1. The first step is to sit down with your CV, and take a walk down memory lane, searching for times you’ve succeeded/met challenges/used initiative/led a team. Refresh your memory on each of your old jobs and its core skills, and where they overlap with what’s required in the new role.  
2. Scour the job spec to decode what the employer wants. Print it out and match the skills with your own– this is a step you should have already carried out while writing your CV and talking to your recruiting partner. By doing this you will know and understand which skills and attributes they’re homing in on, so you can practice answers that demonstrate your skills in this area.  

Stage 2: Gather Your Intel 

3. Conduct an intelligence-gathering mission. Start with the company website, but go further and dig up everything you can on their industry, from competitors to challenges to critical employees to what they post on social media websites. 

You’ll probably only use a small fraction of this information in your interview, but this kind of background research makes you stand out as a candidate, especially if you can frame your experience in a way that fills a company need. This level of analysis will also make you more confident in the interview.  

4. Look at social media for clues on what it’s like to work there. Remember, you’re also deciding if the role is right for you, so look for indications of culture (are their posts about team successes or days out?). You might also come up with some excellent talking points for the interview. 

Stage 3: Prepare For Questions 

5. Prepare loose answers to specific questions, with strong examples of your past success, and carefully selected examples of any development areas. Many interview questions in a banking interview will be behavioural, such as ‘Tell us about a time when you enjoyed success or lead a team’. Remember, they’re looking for an example that shows the skills they’re looking for in the job description. Always use data and specific examples to prove your competence. 
For example, if you consistently surpassed targets to bring on board new wealth management prospects, have the data ready to prove it (on paper if you can). If you were able to cross-sell products and services to clients consistently, what were they? 
6. Know how to answer the question ‘Why do you want to work here?’. This is a chance to show off your company knowledge and reveal how working for the company excites you because it fits with your goals. You have the chance to show a bit of yourself in this question and show you’ve done the company research and genuinely see the role as a long-term opportunity.  
7. Have your questions ready. Do not, I repeat, do not pass up the offer to ask your questions at the end of the interview. The majority of candidates squander this golden opportunity to learn more about the role and show their initiative and keenness.  
Have 2 or 3 questions ready about the role, the company culture, and any training and career development schemes.  We have written a couple of long posts here you can reference.  
You’re looking to impress that you’re seeking a long-term career opportunity where you can grow, while also learning enough to determine whether the role is the right fit for you. 

There are so many intelligent questions you could ask (that’s where all your research comes in handy) but don’t ask about salary at this stage.  

Stage 4: Rehearse For The Win 

8. We strongly suggest you meet with a friend and give them a list of questions to ask you-you'll be surprised how helpful it is in making you edit and streamline your responses. You might feel strange for the first few minutes, but it’s an extremely valuable exercise.  
Remember, it’s ok to have a small notebook with you in the interview, with a few notes prepared. Just don’t make the mistake of reading off them like a script! 

9. Work on your body language. Check that you’ve mastered the art of the firm handshake, think about posture and eye contact, and practice power postures in the bathroom before you go into the interview to flood your body with confidence-boosting hormones. (Don’t believe us? Watch this TED talk by Amy Cuddy.)  
Above all, when you enter the interview and meet the panel, remember to smile!  

Practice makes perfect, and anyone who goes into a banking or technology job interview unprepared is dramatically reducing their chances of success.  

So, set aside a time and get preparing! 


About Flow Banking & Financial Technology  

The Middle East is a dynamic and growing market where identifying top talent and world-class professionals for the banking and financial technology industry is highly competitive.   

Flow provide an executive search service led by industry experts, geared to any level of role within the Banking and Financial Technology Industries. This service is driven by innovative, established and proven research teams who customise each requirement from our clients.  

To find out more get in contact with one of our team here.
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