Discover the top interview questions for financial analyst positions and how best to answer them. Learn how to impress potential employers by articulating your skills, experience, and how they apply to the role in question.

Key Insights

  • Interviews for financial analyst positions can take various formats including one-on-one interviews, multiple rounds of interviews, or remote interviews. Recruiters look for skills in analytics, communication, and problem-solving.
  • Common interview questions for financial analysts cover hard and soft skills, work experience, and educational background. The interviewer will also assess if your personality fits their work environment.
  • Interviewers look for whether you have any certifications in financial analytics, what motivated you to pursue them, and how they apply to your daily work. If you lack such certifications, show an understanding of their value and express your long-term professional goals.
  • Financial analysts often face situations of conflict during meetings. In interviews, recruiters will assess your ability to handle stress and conflict in a professional and positive manner.
  • Successful financial analysts should be able to present financial data effectively. In an interview, be prepared to discuss your experience in presenting financial information and what you learned from it.
  • Noble Desktop offers courses such as the Financial Modeling Bootcamp and the Financial Analyst Training Program. These courses help students develop fundamental financial concepts and Excel skills necessary for a career in financial analytics.

When interviewing for financial analytics positions, you may not be sure what to expect or how to prepare. Interviewing for any job can be a stressful process, one full of variables. Should you brush up on complex financial modeling concepts or perform industry research to ensure you’re up to date? Should you expect to field general questions about your soft skills or personality or more specific inquiries designed to learn about your technical knowledge? The more you prepare for the range of questions you may be asked, the more confident you’re likely to feel on interview day. This article will cover some of the most common interview questions Financial Analysts are asked in interviews, as well as some answers you may offer to impress potential employers.

What to Expect in a Financial Analyst Interview

Interviews for Financial Analyst positions can take a variety of formats. Some positions, such as internships or Junior-Level Financial Analyst jobs, may require just one interview. On the other hand, more senior roles like Senior Financial Analyst may require a job applicant to interview in several rounds that ask general and technical questions. Certain positions may require onsite interviews, whereas other employers prefer remote interviews on Zoom or another platform. Regardless of the interview format, recruiters typically want to learn more about a job applicant’s skills in analytics, communication, and problem-solving, as well as their technical knowledge. That’s why it’s important to be prepared for a range of general and specific questions.

Top Interview Questions for Financial Analysts

Although there’s no way to predict exactly what an interviewer may ask when they meet with you for an opening in financial analytics, some question types are more common than others. Odds are the employer will want to learn about your hard and soft skills, as well as your prior work experience and educational background. They will likely want to make sure that you’ve acquired the necessary technical and financial training to succeed in the role and that your personality is a good match for their work environment. Therefore, their questions may cover a range of topics specific to finance, as well as more general questions about how you handle conflict or manage your time when working on a project.

The following paragraphs will explore some potential questions you may be asked when interviewing for a position as a Financial Analyst, as well as the kinds of answers you may offer. 

Do you currently have any certifications or licenses in financial analytics? If not, are you interested in pursuing any? 

Many certifications are available for Financial Analysts, such as the Chartered Financial Analyst, Chartered Financial Consultant, and Certified Fund Specialist. If you have any relevant designations in finance, they likely will be listed on your resume and LinkedIn profile. However, the root of this question may go beyond simply whether or not you’re certified; it may also seek to see whether you think these credentials will help you professionally. If you’re asked a question such as this at an interview, the employer may want to know what may have motivated you to pursue additional training, as well as whether you apply these skills to your daily work. 

How to answer

Instead of listing any licenses or certifications you have (which the interviewer likely already knows), a better answer to this question is to contextualize your credentials. Show the thought process behind why you were interested in CFA certification, for example. Let them know how much work went into studying for the exam, as well as how earning this designation has helped you in your career. It’s also important to express how the skills you learned studying for an exam or license have continued to help you professionally. 

If you’re new to financial analytics, you likely won’t have credentials like certifications or licenses. This isn’t necessarily a problem. In this instance, you may want to focus on expressing to the interviewer that you’ve considered your long-term professional goals. Instead, you can focus on the steps you’ve taken toward certification and why you think it’s important to earn them. 

How would you handle an unhappy customer or client during a business meeting?

Most Financial Analysts spend a significant portion of time in meetings with those within their organization, as well as others, such as clients. Because financial professionals are sometimes tasked with making unpopular decisions, there can be backlash or even conflict over these decisions. Sometimes, conflict can occur in meetings where a Financial Analyst must communicate a particular decision to a customer. When you interview for a job in financial analytics, the employer likely wants to know if you can remain calm and find a positive way to diffuse the situation. They want to see how you handle stressful situations, especially those that may be unexpected or happen in front of others.

How to answer

If you’re presented with this question at an interview, you may choose to qualify your answer. For example, your approach may be different if the meeting is one-on-one with the vocal customer versus a meeting with a dozen people in attendance. In instances in which a meeting is one-on-one, you may wish to reach a real-time solution with the unhappy customer. However, if it’s a group meeting with multiple people in attendance, it may be challenging to find a viable solution on the spot while also keeping the meeting moving forward. In this situation, it may be a smart approach to suggest the dissatisfied customer meets individually with you later to discuss the matter further. 

No matter the size of the meeting, it’s important to express that you would listen closely to the individual’s concerns and ensure that you will work toward a solution. In addition, you may also want to mention that you would then communicate what occurred at the meeting with your manager for further guidance on how to handle this situation. 

Discuss a time when you had to present financial data. 

A question like this is designed to show the interviewer if you have experience presenting financial information. Although some Financial Analyst positions require regular presentations to stakeholders like CFOs or clients, other roles may not require applicants to have this skill. 

How to answer

The STAR method can be applied to a question such as this. STAR is an acronym for situation, task, action, and result. You may use this approach to explain the context of the presentation, communicate to the interviewer what your role was in presenting, list the steps you took to prepare, and discuss the outcome or results that occurred from those steps. Take a second to collect your thoughts before answering this question so you can be as specific as possible.

When asked a question about presenting financial information, you may wish to discuss one or more past presentations you’ve made, as well as how you prepared for them. You may also want to provide details about the type of data you presented and whether it was your own or someone else’s. You can also briefly mention whether you considered the presentation successful and anything you may have done differently in hindsight. Regardless of how the presentation was received, the interviewer will likely want to know what you learned from the experience and how you grew from it. The interviewer may have follow-up questions as well to further explore your presentation skills. 

Do you work better on your own or as part of a team?

When asked a question like this at an interview, it can be tricky to know how to answer. You may not want to say you work well on your own if the organization is team-driven, and you may want to play up your collaborative nature if the role is more individual in nature. Since no two positions are the same in financial analytics (even within the same organization), the interviewer may ask this question to see where you may fit in within their company, as well as where you can contribute the most to their organization. 

How to answer

Instead of second-guessing what the interviewer may be looking for by posing a question such as this, keep in mind there aren’t any right or wrong answers. Make sure to be honest when answering. A safe response to this question is one in which you can provide examples of both working alone, as well as working as part of a team. Some companies may place more value on those who work well in teams, whereas others organizations or roles might seek lone wolves to create data models largely on their own. After you provide examples of working as part of a team as well as on your own, you can specify which role you preferred and why.

What do you consider to be the single best evaluation metric to analyze an organization’s stock?

When presented with a question like this, the interviewer likely wants to understand more than your answer to this question; they also are interested in your thought process. The recruiter may also want to ensure that you understand a range of financial concepts for stock valuation, as well as the benefits and challenges of working with any type of methodology. They likely are interested in hiring someone who can compare and contrast valuation methods. A question such as this may occur when interviewing for a research firm or investment bank position.

How to answer

A strong answer to this question will include more than a simple answer like “Discounted cash flow.” You may also wish to demonstrate your thought process to the recruiter so they can hear you discuss what this metric says about a stock, as well as how this could help you evaluate a company. You may wish to briefly explain other metrics when answering so you can then talk about why the one you selected is a better option, as well as if there’s a secondary alternative you’d choose to support your first choice. Perhaps you’ll bring up the three most-used valuation methodologies, precedent transactions, discounted cash flow, and comparable company analysis, then select which is best across industries and companies, as well as which may be the best match for this particular organization. Be as specific as you can in your answer.

Learn the Skills to Become a Financial Analyst at Noble Desktop

Noble Desktop, an educational provider located in New York City, offers a range of classes devoted to financial modeling and analysis. Financial Modeling Bootcamp is a hands-on, 18-hour course that teaches students fundamental financial concepts, such as corporate valuation, accounting, and finance. Participants in this small class create their own discounted cash flow using Microsoft Excel. Over three days, expert instructors also help students develop a comprehensive financial model for an actual company. As a prerequisite to this bootcamp, students should have intermediate Excel proficiency.

Noble also has a Financial Analyst Training Program that provides expert instruction on timely corporate and financial concepts, such as making a full valuation model. Those enrolled in this intensive program receive instruction on fundamental Excel skills, such as using shortcuts and PivotTables. Advanced Excel techniques are also covered in this 30-hour program, like Goal Seek and cash flow projection tools. All learners also receive instruction on creating a three-statement financial model for a public restaurant company.

In addition to the Financial Modeling Bootcamp and Financial Analyst Training Program, Noble Desktop also has in-person and live online financial modeling training courses. The

Excel Bootcamp offers 18 hours of instruction on core business Excel skills like working with VLOOKUP, INDEX, MATCH, and What-If Analysis for Goal Seek. FinTech courses are also available, like Algorithmic Trading with Python, Python for Data Science Bootcamp, and FinTech Bootcamp. This course provides students with hands-on training from expert instructors in FinTech skills like working with Python and SQL for data analysis, creating machine learning models, and working with different data types like integers, floats, and strings. All students have the option of a free course retake for up to one year, as well as one-on-one mentoring.