Most of the job interview questions that we may find difficult to answer are neither scenario questions nor those that require a quantitative response. Interestingly, the most challenging banking interview questions are often those that make you take a real, hard look at yourself.

Having to deal with large amounts of money on a daily basis is a big deal. This is why banks and financial services institutions take the extra step to ensure that their candidates are highly compliant and equipped with the right professional skills and qualities that they are looking for. In addition to highlighting that you have the experience and technical skills required for the banking job, you will need to demonstrate strong emotional intelligence as well as exceptional communication and problem-solving skills to secure a role with your ideal employer.

banking candidate advice from our recruiters

Rick Chung, associate director of the banking and financial services team at Randstad Hong Kong shared, “It is a very fast-paced industry and employers are often very straightforward about the business requirements during the interview process. Candidates who are as forthcoming during the interviews tend to stand out more than others.”

“Many firms are also hiring experienced professionals who understand the value of customer experience and who can personalise comprehensive portfolios that best suit their client’s financial plans and ambitions. Therefore, employers may also connect with your ex-colleagues to gain an understanding of your attitude and working style. We encourage candidates to present solid client testimonials to gain an advantage in this competitive environment.” Chung adds.

banking interview questions and answers

Our banking and financial services recruitment specialists share other tips on how to handle some of these tough interview questions posed by employers from banks and financial institutions:

1. “why did you resign from your last position?”

Be truthful about why you resign, but refrain from spilling all the details with regards to the circumstances that have led to your resignation. For instance, if you chose to leave because you no longer fit into the team’s dynamic or have a different working style, it is best not to talk about how terrible your co-workers have been towards you.

Instead, explain how the culture was not the right fit for your personality and working style. Do your best to bridge the interview to discuss the type of corporate and team culture that you are looking for.

2. if I were to ask your co-workers of your negative traits, what do you think they will say about you?”

Stay calm as it is highly unlikely that they had reached out to your colleagues to dig the dirt on you. All of us have traits that do not necessarily appeal to everyone, such as the lack of empathy or simply being too aggressive during meetings. For instance, there might be times that you’ve strongly defended your idea, which may have created some temporary friction within the team.

You should take the opportunity to explain how some of your traits can be important to the work environment. An example of what you can say is, “I think it is important to accept different perspectives and opinions during a decision-making process. This will ensure that any decision made will be a well-thought-out one and has a higher chance of success when you have the buy-in from the team.”

3. “we’ve shortlisted six other candidates, what makes you think you’re ‘the one’?”

This question calls for a thorough understanding of the position on offer so that you can respond to specific  focus areas on what the job scope entails. You should also demonstrate that you are the candidate with the right culture fit, and have the knowledge and experience to excel in the role.

Always connect with your recruitment consultant before the interview as part of your preparation. Interviewers are always impressed with candidates who know more information than what is already available online. Ask your recruiter about the size of the team, the responsibilities that each of them has and how well the team works together. You should talk about how your own experience and aspirations can complement and deepen the team’s capabilities - which will give you an advantage over other candidates.

4. “what motivates you at work?”

This question seeks to understand what keeps you motivated and challenged throughout your career. Employers want to ensure the company can provide the right platforms and working environments for their workforce, such as rewards and recognition systems and inclusive policies to keep you motivated and engaged.

During the job interview, you can voice the tangibles and intangibles rewards that you are seeking in an ideal employer, depending on the role that you are applying for. For example, if you are applying for a sales role in a bank, extrinsic rewards such as performance bonuses will motivate you to work harder and stay loyal.

Last but not least, give solid examples of how your capabilities and expertise can make a difference to the team and why you think the role can offer you the opportunity to succeed in your career.

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