Interview Tips

Looking for better finance hires? Well, it may be time to send your trusty interview questions back to the drawing board.

If your interview process is lacking strategic thought, you’re likely to miss out on valuable insight — both positive and negative — on your finance candidates. This approach — or lack thereof — could lead to making the wrong hires and future retainment issues. Posing a variety of particular questions will help you uncover the passion, cultural fit, work ethic, and problem-solving abilities of your potential finance hires.

Get more out of your interview by posing stronger general questions. Here are 13 questions you should be asking your finance job candidates today:

1. What motivates you?

This is your chance to detect what drives your finance candidates. Dig further to find out whether it’s about the money or the finance industry itself. Keep in mind, the desire to make money doesn’t necessarily equate to a  sufficient drive to succeed or real passion for the business. It often comes with limitations.

2. What is your greatest achievement?

For some finance candidates, the answer may be related to a specific project they undertook or an award they received. If they don’t share insightful details about why they feel this was their greatest achievement, be sure to question further. Ask yourself: Is this relevant to the role they’re interviewing for?

3. What can you bring to this role that you’re certain other applicants can’t?

Get to the bottom of why this finance candidate truly deserves your attention. It could be their precise role-related experience, achievements within the industry, or even their unique personality. This question is also important for testing your candidate’s level of confidence — is it too much or just right?

RELATED: How to Answer ‘Why Do You Want This Job?’ in an Interview

4. What hurdles or obstacles have you overcome?

Posing this question will help you key into your finance candidate’s ability to overcome adversity or challenges throughout their career. If you’re particularly interested in a piece of information on their resume, like a layoff, ask them directly about how they overcame that situation.

5. What would previous coworkers and managers say about you?

Zeroing in on how others perceive your interviewee is essential to finding out whether they’re a match for the position and your company as a whole. Jot down what your candidate shares with you and follow-up with their references to see if the descriptions match.

6. Where do you see yourself in five years?

It’s important to understand whether your finance candidate’s career path is aligned with the position to which they are applying. Bringing on a candidate who’s just looking for a “here and now” type of position won’t do you any favors in terms of a long-term hire. Watch out for cookie cutter answers that end up sounding more like wishful thinking than actual long-term plans.

7. Are you willing to relocate?

This should be a no-brainer for candidates who are truly passionate about the role. Any hesitation in answering this question should lead you to question them further.

8. Are you willing to work all hours?

Depending on the available position and the company culture, it may be necessary for your potential finance hire to work late to ensure their responsibilities are completed. Their answer to this question will reveal if they’re dedicated and passionate about the role.

9. Do you play sports?

If a competitive spirit is crucial for thriving in the role you’re interviewing for, this question will do the trick. Playing sports, whether currently or previously, is a great way to determine whether your finance candidates have a competitive nature.

10. What other industries are you looking into?

Are your candidates really interested in the finance industry, or are they just exploring their options? Passion for finance is essential to staying afloat in this industry.

11. What was the worst class you had in college?

What would that professor say about you? These two questions will allow you to dig deeper into the potential weaknesses and challenges of your finance candidates. You’ll also be able to take a closer look at how well they handled this situation. While they may have hated their creative writing class, would their professor say they put their best foot forward in spite of it all?

12. If you could only pick one, what stock would you pick and why?

This is one the few industry-specific questions that will give you a better sense of your candidate. Are they a risk-taker, or do they play it safe?

13. What do you know about our company, our competition, and our industry as a whole?

Asking your candidates to sum up your company and their industry knowledge will give you insight into how much homework they did prior to the interview. Candidates who “blank” on this question may be unfamiliar with your company and the finance industry as a whole, and applying to this role on a whim. You don’t want an employee who lacks the ability or desire to research.

Better interview questions are a key component in landing better finance hires. Carefully track their body language and reactions to the questions you present, as these are also effective indicators. Remember, you want a candidate who is truly passionate about the opportunity and not just trying to “win the job.” Always read between the lines.

What do you think is the most effective interview question for finance candidates?

Author: Skiddy von Stade is the founder and CEO of, the leading career site for finance professionals. Connect with Skiddy and OneWire on LinkedIn. Image: Shutterstock

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