Are you about to have your first job interview for a financial advisor position and don’t know what to expect? Don’t despair; you’re certainly not the first person to go through this.
A financial advisor job comes with so many responsibilities and duties that the number of possible questions that can come up during the interview is endless. However, some of them are way more common than others. Being able to give an effective answer to the most popular Financial Advisor Interview Questions is crucial to enhance your possibilities to get the job.
Today I’m going to discuss exactly that! Moreover, I’ll take a look at all the requirements and skills that you must have if you want to nail the interview!
What Does a Financial Advisor Do?
Let’s start by summarizing what a financial advisor does. Make sure you don’t overlook the importance of this information, since the first question of the interview might be exactly this one.
A financial advisor helps clients to achieve their short-term and long-term financial goals. To do that, they provide advice on a large variety of topics: investments, savings, taxes, insurances, retirement plans, and even more.
Extensive knowledge is essential…
Depending on their specialization or on the company they work for, they might focus on only one or two of these aspects. However, most people that look for a financial advisor desire to have a comprehensive strategy that covers any areas of potential saving and investment. Therefore, the more extensive the knowledge of a financial advisor is, the more appealing they will be to new clients.
Here are the main responsibilities and duties of a financial advisor:
- Assessing the client’s financial situation
- Studying the correct strategy to reach the client’s goals
- Following up with the client to evaluate any change in their financial status
- Researching the market for new opportunities
- Recruiting new clients
- Keeping themselves up to date with the current regulations
The purpose of the majority of questions in a job interview is to assess whether your skills match the job requirements. To do that, the interviewers will test you on your educational background, your hard skills, and your soft skills.
Let’s find out a bit more about each one of these aspects…
A bachelor’s degree in finance, business, mathematics, or economics is required for any generalist financial advisor. If you want to specialize in any of those areas, a master’s degree could help you to get access to higher-paying positions.
Some employers demand their advisors to have a license or a certification from an accredited organization. Holding one of these certificates will set you apart from other candidates when the time for the interview comes.
Hard skills are related to the specific job you’re applying for. They are those competencies that you acquired through education, internships, or working experience.
What are the most important hard skills that a good financial advisor should possess?
- Wealth management
- Risk assessment
- Understanding of the financial market
- Mathematical and analytical skills
- Proficiency in the main relevant software, including Microsoft Excel
Soft skills, on the other hand, are those qualities that relate to your personality traits. They are highly transferable between different jobs and, because of their nature, they are difficult to measure. Expect a few questions to revolve around the following soft skills:
- Verbal and written communication
- Attention to detail
- Time management
- Customer service
- Selling and negotiating skills
How to Get Ready for The Interview?
Now that you know what you need to be a successful financial advisor, what steps should you take to be ready for the interview?
Research the company
Knowing a bit more about the company you’re applying for can give you useful clues about what kind of questions you can expect. Start your search with the official webpage, but don’t limit yourself to the ‘About Us’ section. Social media are always a great source of information, and so are customers’ review platforms.
What should you be looking for?
Find out what specific market they’re targeting, what services and products they’re offering, and which area they are specialized in. If the company has a strong focus on promoting investments in the stock market, expect that to be the main focus of the interview.
Read the job listing
Whenever we prepare for an interview, the job posting should be our bible. It contains all the information that we need to narrow down the list of potential questions.
The list of skills and requirements, along with the job responsibilities, are all the topics that we will be tested on. At least when the job posting is professionally written by a recruitment agency, which is what you would expect for a financial advisor position.
Prepare your answers
When you start to prepare your answers to the most popular questions, the first thing to keep in mind is that they always have to be relevant to the job. There is rarely a right moment to talk about personal life at a job interview.
Try to include one of the top skills that define you as a perfect candidate in any answer. Plus, provide practical examples from your working experience that prove that you can effectively use those skills when it’s needed.
The S.T.A.R method works…
If you want to describe a situation where you accomplished something, use the STAR method: describe the Situation, define your Task, explain your Actions, and highlight the positive Results. Practice your answers a few times without trying to memorize them. The more natural you will sound in front of the recruiters, the more effective your answers will be.
The Most Frequent Financial Advisor Interview Questions
It’s finally time to take a look at the most common interview questions. As a financial advisor, you’ll be expected to answer any of these questions without hesitation.
How do you assess the financial situation of your clients?
This is one of the most important aspects of your profession. The first action you will take when you meet a potential new client is to analyze his financial status and determine the most appropriate strategy for the situation.
The recruiters want to make sure that you have an effective method that will give you a broad overview of the needs of your client. Moreover, you have to show flexibility in your judgment. Not every client is the same, and according to the market you’re targeting, your approach could be different.
I don’t know anything about binary options. Explain to me what they are and why I should invest in them?
The ability to explain a complex concept with simple words is crucial for a financial advisor. Most of the time, you will meet people that have no idea of what you’re talking about.
If they end up trusting you, they might decide to accept your suggestions without fully understanding the potential benefits and risks. This would be a major mistake! Because if the investment doesn’t go as planned, they will blame you for a decision that they should have taken, and you will certainly lose a client.
When answering this question, focus on the most important aspects of the financial product that you’re offering and make sure you highlight both the benefits and the risks.
What we are offering is a commission-based role. How do you feel about that?
Working without a fixed salary is a common practice in this market. Therefore, this question should never come as a surprise to you. Show the recruiters that you’re well aware of the situation and you’re completely fine with it.
You should take into account the possibility that for the first couple of years, you might need to dip into your savings. For privacy reasons, the recruiters will never ask you about your financial situation, but if they suspect that you wouldn’t be able to support yourself without a fixed salary, they will not offer you a job.
What was your biggest achievement with one of your clients?
This question is your great opportunity to show the recruiters that you will be an invaluable addition to the company. When possible, choose a situation where you proved your versatility. The client you talk about should have ideally benefited from your guidance in many different areas: investments, taxes, retirement plans, etc.
Moreover, use numbers and statistics to illustrate how much you and your previous company made from that client (without violating any privacy policies).
Don’t Feel Quite Prepared Yet?
That’s what we’re here for; we’ve put together guides to a great interview to help you prepare. Take a look at Answering Tell Me About Yourself in Interview, Why Do You Want to Work Here, Why We Should Hire You, How to Answer What is Your Greatest Strength, or best of all Answer Why Best Candidate Position.
For your more highly academic positions, I would suggest books such as Answering Tough Interview Questions For Dummies or Interview Like A Pro available in 2023.
Of course, your resume needs to land you that interview first, so check out How To Write An Introduction Letter, How Long Should A Cover Letter Be, How To Write A Letter Of Interest, Most Important Skills To Put On A Resume, How To List Education On A Resume, How To List References On A Resume, and Job Titles On Resume for a resume that will stand out from the rest.
Lastly, for further in-depth job descriptions in finance, I recommend the following to read up on. Financial Advisor Job Description, Senior Financial Analyst Job Description, Financial Manager Job Description, Budget Analyst Job Description, Loan Processor Job Description, as well as Accounting Specialist Job Description.
A financial advisor can have a strong impact on people’s lives. Therefore, a job interview for such a position tends to be quite challenging and selective. However, if you have the necessary expertise and skills, it’s only a matter of a bit of preparation before you finally get a job.
A crucial part of this preparation is to be ready to answer the most common interview questions. If you use the guidelines provided in this article, you’ll be able to respond effectively to all of them.
All the very best for your interview!