Common Interview Questions for Financial Analysts

Congratulations!!  You just got a phone call telling you that you have been selected for a job interview for a position as a Financial Analyst.  You starting thinking about what kinds of questions you will have to answer during the interview and you start to worry a bit.  So what are common interview questions for financial analysts?

One thing you need to remember is that interviewing for a financial analyst position is going to be very similar to interviewing for any type of position.  Possibly only 10% of the interview questions will be related specifically to financial analysis.  90% of the questions will possibly be education-oriented questions, goal-related questions, employer-related questions, experience-related questions, character-related questions, and behavioral questions.


Possible Education-Related Interview Questions

  • Why did you choose the University that you are attending or attended?
  • Why did you choose your major?
  • What is your favorite class and why?
  • What is your Grade Point Average (GPA)?
  • Tell me about your extracurricular school participation.

Possible Goal-Related Interview Questions

  • What are your short and long term goals?
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years?  10 Years?
  • How much money do you expect to be earning in 5 years?  10 years?
  • How will your career enhance your ability to achieve your goals?
  • What would you do if money was no object?

Possible Employer-Related Interview Questions

  • What do you know about our company?
  • What profits did our company declare last year?
  • What do you think it takes to be successful in our organization?
  • What do you see as the greatest challenges in our industry?
  • Why should we hire you versus someone else?
  • Why do you want to work for our company?

Possible Experience-Related Interview Questions

  • Why did you leave your last position or why are you looking to make a move from your current position?
  • What can you offer us?
  • What was your greatest frustration at your last or current position?
  • What is the toughest problem that you had to solve at your last or current position?
  • Guide me through your resume, explaining your experience and background.
  • Give me an example of work experience you had to perform under time pressure.
  • Describe a mistake or failure at work and explain to me how it impacted the organization.

Possible Character-Related Interview Questions

  • What are your strengths?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • How would you describe yourself?
  • How would others describe you?
  • What motivates you?
  • How do you evaluate success?
  • How do you manage your time?
  • What attributes make you believe you will be successful in business?
  • How do you deal with criticism?
  • What types of outside activities do you enjoy?  Why?
  • What is the biggest risk you have ever taken and what was the outcome?
  • Who has been your most important role model?  Why?
  • What makes you angry?
  • How would you deal with a rude co-worker?
  • By providing examples, convince me that you can adapt to a wide variety of people, situations, and environments.
  • Describe a situation where you were able to use persuasion to successfully convince others to see things your way.
  • What steps do you take when you have to make an immediate decision but you do not have access to all the relevant data?

Possible Behavioral Interview Questions

  • If you were an animal, what kind of animal would you be?
  • If you were a cereal, what kind of cereal would you be?

Possible Financial Analyst Interview Questions

  • How has your degree prepared you for a career in Financial Analysis?
  • Tell me about a financial analysis you completed on a case in one of your classes?
  • Describe a previous situation where you have demonstrated your analytical skills.
  • What interests you most about a financial analyst position?
  • What quantitative courses have you completed?  What were your grades in each of them?
  • How will you be able to handle working long hours and studying for the CPA exams at the same time?
  • How can the United States improve its competitiveness?
  • What stocks do you follow? Why?
  • What is a cash flow?
  • What is a present value analysis?
  • Describe at least three methods of valuing a company.
  • If you had a $1,000 investment that went down 40 percent and then up 20 percent, what would your investment be worth?
  • What is your opinion of derivative statements?
  • Describe EVA and how it can be used to determine the attractiveness of potential projects.
  • Describe the advantages and disadvantages of using EVA, NPV, discounted cash flows, and payback period as methods of determining the attractiveness of potential projects.
  • Explain activity-based costing.  What are its pros and cons?
  • Explain marginal costing and standard costing.
  • Explain ratio analysis.
  • How does A/R and inventory fluctuations affect the income statement?
  • Walk me through a DCF analysis.
  • How do you get to EBITDA from revenues?
  • When you are given a large financial analysis project to do, what are the first things you do?
  • Describe a decision you had to make on your own regarding the credit risk of a new client.  What was the outcome?
  • Tell me about a financial analysis decision you got wrong.  What was the outcome?  What did you learn from the experience?
  • Describe your level of experience with the software used in your position as a financial analyst.
  • What steps have you taken to improve your technical writing ability?

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