Interview Preparation

(study guides at bottom)


Behavioral Questions

Often dubbed fit questions, the behavioral portion of an interview is almost guaranteed in any interview setting. They are called fit questions because HR is trying to gauge how well you will fit in with your coworkers. Many of these questions can be found online and are standardized across industries. By asking behavioral questions, the interviewers are trying to indirectly figure out your core drivers, personality, and values. These questions will generally be asked before any technical questions because it is easier to weed out poor candidates through interacting with them on a more personal level. It is important to keep in mind that there aren't any wrong answers (except for a few) to these questions but there are outlines and methods to help you think through effective answers which will ultimately help you land that coveted offer letter. The following are some examples of behavioral questions and how to best answer them:

Tell me about yourself. 

Arguably the most common question in an interview, this question is designed to give the interviewer a chance to get to know you outside of your resume. Your answer should be rehearsed and you should have no problem answering this. It is important to keep a few things in mind while answering this question: Introduce yourself and your background (why you chose your major, school, etc.), then go into how you decided on wealth management. Describe a couple of relevant skills you've learned at past jobs or interests that led you to either the industry or the firm. The most important thing you're trying to convey with this answer is why you're sitting across from the interviewer. Your answer should not be too long (roughly 1-2 minutes). This is why the answer to this question is often referred to as an elevator pitch - essentially, selling yourself to someone in the time it takes to ascend several stories in a building. 

Why do you want to work at this firm?

A variation of this question is also inevitable as the interviewer wants to ensure that your enthusiasm for the job matches their expectations. While each firm is generally identical in their products and offerings, there are always a few talking points here that you can hit on. For example, firm size, company culture, prestige, ability to make an impact, opportunity for real client work, unmatched training programs, and global reach are all safe answers. Keep it at two or three reasons. This question requires some research on the firm and potentially an inside source who knows the ins and outs of the firm (see professional resources for networking guides).


Why wealth management?

This question will weed out those who are hesitant about the industry. Always have an answer prepared for this question regardless of the industry and always tell the interviewer that this is the only industry you're looking at if the question is brought up. Interviewers want interns and employees that are passionate about the industry because those types of people lead to the best hire for the firm. In answering this question, keep a few things in mind: If your major is relevant (finance, accounting, economics), think about why you chose that major in the first place. If not, think about why you are genuinely interested in finance. If you parents or extended family have jobs in this industry, this would be a good time to bring it up. A safe answer is mentioning how your skills (detail oriented, analytical, problem solving, etc.), interest in financial markets, and love for helping people led you to this industry.  

What are some of your strengths?

A good rule of thumb for this is going back to the job application and looking at the job qualifications portion. This section of the application will usually list things that applicants need to be good at (communication, critical thinking, working on teams, etc.). Pick two or three of these and find a way to tie them into a scenario. This is the most important part because you need to be able to back up these characteristics with specific instances from either past jobs or classwork. 

What is your biggest weakness?

Often thought to be one of the most difficult questions in an interview, this question will reveal your ability to be humble about your shortcomings. Keep a few things in mind when answering this question: Always give a weakness that is easily malleable or that isn't crucial to the job description. Example of good answers include having difficulty balancing priorities when two partners give you work with conflicting deadlines, or getting lost in the details and forgetting the big picture. Bad answers would be work ethic or mental computation. A failsafe answer that can be paired with this answer is that you haven't worked for this company (or maybe in the industry or maybe not even in an office setting), and so you aren't sure what is going to be expected of you in the first couple of weeks. Therefore, it will take you a bit to get up to speed. Lastly, it is most important to say how you are working toward fixing this weakness. 

Tell me about a time you failed. 

Situational questions like this will come up frequently in phone interviews with bigger companies or first round interviews. They aren't the best litmus test for quality candidates in some people's opinion but they do have long standing in early round interviews so they should be expected. Come to the interview prepared with three to four scenarios that you can rely on for any of these tell me about...  questions. Much like the weakness question, the interviewer is trying to see how you approach and handle difficulty. One thing to keep in mind while answering this question is how you attempted to remedy the situation after the failure occurred. Also make sure the failure isn't one that is catastrophic and might make the interviewer question your competence. 

Tell me about a time you showed leadership. 

Similar to the question above, the interviewer is trying to figure out if the candidate is driven and can take control in a given situation. Accordingly, they want to know specific instances when you showed leadership. This can be in a work setting, classroom setting, or organized team setting. The structure of this answer should follow the STAR method: Situation, Task, Action, Result. This is a good method to keep in mind for all of your answers, but for this one especially because the action portion directly speaks to your ability to take leadership. This question should be expected and you should be able to easily answer it if you've prepared three or four scenarios. 

What's your biggest achievement?

It's often difficult to answer this question because many of us haven't had many considerable achievements in our lives. Nonetheless, the importance of this answer is in the impact it made to you and/or others. Answers such as getting into an esteemed university, achieving all A's in a year, running a marathon, or starting a business are all acceptable answers. In describing such events, keep in mind key characteristics that helped you achieve this goal and how it will benefit you in your career going forward. 

How do you prioritize multiple projects?

A variation of this question is generally asked to dissect the candidates methods for time management and communication. In this answer, interviewers are looking for definitive routines that show how you manage everyday stress as well as how you communicate with coworkers when facing conflicting deadlines. Mentioning your organization methods (notes, Outlook, etc.) as well as how you'd delegate or defer work would aid in a great answer to this question. 

How would you handle a disagreement with your superior? 

This question is designed to measure your confidence and problem solving skills. Having the ability to know you are right amidst dissenting opinion from a senior colleague demonstrates a veteran sense of confidence but having a constructive debate with this colleague is the key to answering this question correctly. A few tips to answer this question are to bring up a few of the following: make the conversation private so as not to embarrass the other party in front of coworkers, or worse, a client; be clear about agreements and disagreements; offer alternatives. It is quite useful to give specific examples of this scenario but hypotheticals can also make your case. 

How do you manage your time?

Describe a time when you worked on a team. 

Technical Questions

After you've proved to be a good fit for the team, the technical portion of the interview will test your aptitude for the industry, ability to think on your feet, and overall competence on the job. These questions vary across industries by nature but always have the same goal in mind. The best way to approach answering these questions is to study, study, study. There's no two ways about it. The only exception is with brain teasers. To answer these effectively you'll need to prep slightly differently. Below, you'll find several study guides for acing technical questions in the wealth management space courtesy of the Money Management Institute as well as some sample questions and how to best answer them:

Study Guides