Top 33 Financial Analyst Interview Questions (Sample Answers Included)

By Mike Simpson

The world of finance can be incredibly competitive. Many professionals aspire to land financial analyst opportunities, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that financial analyst interview questions can be surprisingly tough. After all, hiring managers have to separate the real top contenders from the so-so candidates, and that means asking questions that are designed to throw you off.

Now, it may not seem like you have to be at your best. After all, there are over 329,000 financial analyst positions, but only about 306,200 people are actively working in the field. That means there’s a shortfall, right?

Well, while it looks that way, that doesn’t mean you’ll get a job offer if you don’t impress. In most cases, hiring managers would rather hire no one than risk picking up a bad employee. That’s right; an empty seat is better in their eyes.

Luckily, shining during your financial analyst interview doesn’t have to be a challenge. If you want to show the hiring manager that you’re a great… no, exceptional candidate, here’s how to bring financial analyst interview questions to their knees.

How to Answer Financial Analyst Interview Questions

Alright, before we talk about the interview questions and examples, let’s take a step back. Knowing how to answer is at least as important as seeing samples, if not more so. By having a winning strategy by your side, you can handle the unexpected, and that can make a world of difference.

So, what do you need to do?

Well, step one in a winning strategy is always the same; it’s research. Usually, hiring managers have a perfect candidate in mind before they meet a single applicant. If you can figure out who that person is and what they bring to the table, you can showcase the skills and traits you have that align with it.

Certain skills and traits are going to be givens. You need to have an analytical mindset, math skills, and an understanding of micro and macroeconomics, for example. However, that isn’t going to be all the hiring manager is looking for. If you want to get the full picture, you need to do some digging.

Start by reviewing the financial analyst job description. There, you’ll find a list of all of the must-have skills, traits, and other credentials. If a capability is listed there, there’s a good chance you’ll face financial analyst interview questions about it.

But you also want to go further. If you take a trip to the company website, you can find its mission and values statements. Those provide you with a ton of insights about the organization’s goals, priorities, and even its culture.

The company’s social media profiles can do the same thing, especially if you want cultural insights. Plus, there’s a good shot they will feature posts about any recent achievements the company has had, and those can be great tidbits to reference if you want to stand out during an interview.

Alright, once you handle the research, it’s time for phase two: figuring out how to create great interview answers. One thing that’s important to remember is the role of a financial analyst is very numbers-oriented. Ideally, you want to be able to quantify your answers. Spend a little time reflecting on your career and identify accomplishments that you can quantify, giving you a few points you can discuss that will pack a punch.

When a question is straightforward – like, “Do you have skill X?” – that’s pretty easy. If you have it, you simply say “yes” and then follow that up with an example of where you acquired it or how you use it.

If you don’t have the skill, don’t panic. You can say, “no.” Just make sure you add a little more. For example, tell the hiring manager how you are improving your capabilities in that area or highlight your willingness to learn. That way, you can pivot toward something positive.

Okay, now for the hard part: those tricky behavioral interview questions. Here, you have to talk about your past experience or how you would handle a certain scenario. Since there aren’t clear “right” or “wrong” answers, they can be harder to navigate.

Luckily, you can shine if you adopt the right strategy. Try combining the STAR Method and the Tailoring Method. If you do, you can craft a compelling, relevant answer that is sure to help you shine.

Top 3 Financial Analyst Interview Questions

Now that you have an idea of how to answer financial analyst interview questions, it’s example time. That way, you can see what a standout answer looks like, giving you insights into how to create your own winning responses.

Here are the top three financial analyst interview questions that you may face and a sample answer for each:

1. Why did you choose a career as a financial analyst?

Often, this question allows a hiring manager to learn about some of your key traits as well as your core motivation for pursuing your career. Ideally, your answer should reference some of your relevant soft skills while also highlighting your enthusiasm for the field.

SAMPLE ANSWER:

“I decided to pursue a financial analyst career because I am a keen problem-solver with an analytical mindset. Additionally, my attention-to-detail is well-suited to review numbers, identifying patterns, and finding solutions when something appears to be amiss. I find the work engaging and appreciate the value I can provide to my employer by excelling in this kind of role.”

2. After working as a financial analyst, is there a specific role you want to pursue?

This question is similar to “where do you see yourself in five years?” but is a bit more discrete. Usually, hiring managers ask this to figure out where your grander career aspirations lie. That may help them determine if you view their opportunity as a “for now” job or as a critical part of the bigger picture.

SAMPLE ANSWER:

“Once I’ve gained some experience as a financial analyst, my long-term goal is to secure a senior analyst position. Ideally, I’d like to hone my skills while developing my leadership capabilities, ultimately leading to a chance to oversee a team of finance professionals. Beyond that, I may pursue a treasury manager, controller, or CFO opportunity after I’ve spent some time in management.”

MIKE'S TIP: Generally, the only bad way to answer this question is to discuss a position that has nothing to do with working as a financial analyst. For example, if you tell them that you’re working in finance but what you really want to do is… well, anything that isn’t finance- or accounting-related, that’s going to be a red flag in their eyes. So, stick with jobs that you can connect to this role in a clear manner when you craft your answer.

3. When you spot an inconsistency in a company’s financial records, what do you do?

Hiring managers want to know that, if you spot something odd, you will take appropriate actions. This question lets them gain insights regarding how you react to potential problems and what you’ll do to resolve the situation.

SAMPLE ANSWER:

“In my last position, this exact issue occurred. I noticed that there was an inconsistency between the company’s income statement and some of the other data sources, making it seem as if some money had essentially vanished. I began by reviewing the available records to identify where the funds may have gone. It was a major undertaking to reconcile the data. Ultimately, I discovered that a record had been duplicated, causing the same amount of money to be removed twice. I was brought this to the attention of my supervisor and was able to get the income statement corrected.”

30 More Financial Analyst Interview Questions

Here are 30 more financial analyst interview questions you may need to answer:

    1. Why do you want to work for our company?
    2. Which of your weaknesses hold you back as a financial analyst?
    3. Which of your strengths serve you best as a financial analyst?
    4. Given the choice, would you rather work independently or as part of a team? Why?
    5. What is a cash flow statement?
    6. What is NVL, and why is it critical?
    7. Can you tell me about your greatest accomplishment since you began working in finance?
    8. What is the biggest mistake you’ve made at work? How did you overcome it?
    9. Do you have any relevant certifications?
    10. When conducting an analysis, which financial methodologies do you favor?
    11. What are the four financial statements companies use to monitor their finances?
    12. Tell me about the financial ratios you are familiar with. How do you use them to monitor and evaluate the financial health of a business?
    13. Can you explain the concept to solvency to me as if I had no financial knowledge or experience?
    14. What factors would you discuss if you needed to convince a stakeholder that a company is healthy?
    15. How is a company’s cash flow impacted by an accounts receivable increase?
    16. If a company’s debts increased, how would the income statement be impacted?
    17. If the same amount of money began disappearing each month, and there was no record of where the funds were going, what would you do?
    18. What is EBITDA? What isn’t included in EBITDA?
    19. Are there any financial trends that have caught your attention?
    20. What steps do you take to create a financial analysis report?
    21. When it comes to forecasting project, which profitability model do you prefer, and why?
    22. What steps do you take to maintain collaborative and functional work relationships?
    23. Describe the limitations of the CAPM model.
    24. Why are dividends excluded from income statements?
    25. Can you tell me about a time when you disagreed with a colleague? What steps did you take to remedy the issue?
    26. Tell me about a time when you had to think strategically on the job.
    27. How do you react to constructive criticism from your manager? What about if it is given by a coworker?
    28. Tell me about a time when you went above and beyond in the name of exceptional customer service.
    29. Which is better: increasing the customer base by 1 percent of increasing the price by 1 percent? Why?
    30. What is the most critical part of your role as a financial analyst? Why?

5 Good Questions to Ask at the End of a Financial Analyst Interview

When your financial analyst interview draws to a close, you’ll usually get a chance to turn the tables and ask a few of your own questions. Having a few ready is incredibly important. If you can ask a few smart questions, you’ll seem more enthusiastic about the job. Plus, you’ll be able to learn some details that help you figure out if the role is right for you, and that’s also important.

If you don’t know where to begin, here are five good questions to ask at the end of a financial analyst interview that you can hold in reserve.

    1. What traits do your best financial analysts have in common?
    2. What is the biggest challenge financial analysts in your company face?
    3. Do financial analysts here spend more time working independently or collaboratively?
    4. Are certain methodologies favored here over others? If so, why?
    5. Are there any continuing education or professional development opportunities available to financial analysts here?

Putting It All Together

Ultimately, learning that you get to come in for a financial analyst interview is always exciting. While you’re probably going to be at least a teeny bit nervous, that doesn’t mean you can’t shine.

Just use the tips above and spend time reviewing the financial analyst interview questions. That way, you can create engaging, thorough, and relevant answers that will help you stand out in the eyes of the hiring manager. After all, you are an exceptional candidate. Now, all you have to do is show it.

And as always, good luck!

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About The Author

Mike Simpson

Co-Founder and CEO of TheInterviewGuys.com. Mike is a job interview and career expert and the head writer at TheInterviewGuys.com. His advice and insights have been shared and featured by publications such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, CNBC and more as well as educational institutions such as the University of Michigan, Penn State, Northeastern and others. Learn more about The Interview Guys on our About Us page.