Prepping for a successful interview in financial services

Being qualified is just one part of landing the job you want

There are a few givens when it comes to job interviews – like, for example, showing up on time, dressing appropriately, being confident and speaking clearly. But interviewing for a role in financial services comes with its own challenges. The more you prepare for these challenges, the better your chances to land that coveted financial services job. Here are five quick tips to help you prepare.

  • Research, research, research. The more you understand what the job entails and its day-to-day responsibilities, the more prepared you’ll be to answer the interviewer’s questions about your suitability. If you want to work in the back office of a dealership or wealth manager, for example, talk to people you know who have worked in (or with) that area. As part of your preparation, be sure to jot down some questions to show that you made the effort to prepare.
  • Get to know the company. Beyond having a good idea of the role you want, it’s also helpful to be familiar with the company’s products, services, executive team, history, philosophy and even financials. Most of this information appears on the company’s website, but don’t hesitate to dig deeper. You might even discover that you know someone at the company.
  • Understand the industry. Financial services is a massive, complex industry. When you take the time to learn about the different companies, their areas of specialization and particular strengths and weaknesses, it’ll help you put into context the company where you’re applying. As a result, you’ll be more prepared and confident in your interview, and can ask better questions.
  • Prepare for specific questions. Many people are nervous in formal interviews and have trouble thinking on the spot. To help you prepare, try to anticipate questions you might be asked and think about the answers. Common questions include: What makes you right for this role? What’s your biggest strength and area for improvement? How do you handle criticism? What are your longer-term career goals? Why did you leave your last job?
  • Be ready to discuss compensation. Most employers will probably want to broach the compensation topic to make sure that you’re both on the same page. Compensation comes in many forms. Depending on your role, you may receive some combination of salary, performance bonuses, commissions and company shares/stock options. Then there are health benefits, pensions, registered retirement savings plans and other considerations. If you’re already in the industry you have an idea of what to expect. If you’re not, ask people you know in the industry or check out online job sites for general guidance.

Good luck and, remember, (6) never give up on your dreams!

To help you find the roles that are best suited for you, please go to: Job opportunities in the financial services industry . And, once you get the role, be sure to keep building your knowledge and skills. To learn how, visit ifse.ca.