The Most Common Finance Interview Questions and How to Prepare for Them

Interviewing

This week our spotlight is on the financial services sector.  While this article may be a bit more relevant for new grads entering the finance sector it never hurts for a seasoned professional to brush up on current hiring trends.

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The Most Common Finance Interview Questions and How to Prepare for Them

If you’re in your final year of college, or you’ve recently graduated, chances are you’re dedicating a good portion of your life to searching for jobs, polishing and distributing your resume, and preparing for the ultimate nerve-test: the job interview. Interviews come with inherent pressure, stress, and mystery. Unfortunately, they’re a necessary part of the job hunting process. The good news is you don’t need to love job interviews to be successful in them. You just need to know how to prepare.

We talked with Clay Skurdal, COO of Advisors Ahead, about the most critical and commonly asked finance job interview questions. Advisors Ahead provides a bridge between finance students and the financial services industry, ensuring recent graduates come into the business with the training and background it takes to be productive on day one. Clay has sat across the desk from thousands of job seekers, and he knows what it takes for an applicant to stand out from the pack.

Here are Clay’s top four finance interview questions you should be prepared to be answer.

1. Why do you want to start a career in the financial services industry?

The worst thing you can do when you’re asked this question is to deliver a safe, meaningless answer. The interviewer is trying to figure out what makes you “you.” Telling the interviewer that you want to help people won’t make you stand out. If you say you want to help people, the interviewer might ask you why, and might continue to ask you why until they get to the core of your motivation.

The best way to prepare for this question is to write a “passion essay” on why you want to get into the business. Write your real story. Did your family go through a tough financial period that inspired you to learn about money management? That’s the kind of honesty the interviewer is looking for. There are as many answers to this question as there are applicants for the position you’re interviewing for, so the only wrong answer is a non-answer.

2. What are you most proud of in the last 12 months, and why?

This question is intended to get a better idea of who you are as a person, and find out what you’re passionate about. It could be an exam or paper that you worked hard for and did exceptionally well on. It could be a problem you solved in your internship or your night job. It could also be an example from your personal life. This question helps the interviewer understand who you are and what you value. It also shows them that you have the ability to set and accomplish goals.

3. Tell me about a time someone asked you to bend the rules or do something unethical. How did you handle that situation?

In a finance career, there are unlimited opportunities to go astray and abandon your moral compass. This question helps the interviewer better understand your capacity to do the right thing, even in the face of extreme pressure. They want to know if you have a strong ethical center, or if you can be led down a bad path by poor judgement or outside influence. Again, have an example ready before the interview. Be prepared to tell a story that demonstrates your strong moral character.

4. Tell me about your extracurricular activities, and why you’re passionate about them?

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but companies aren’t interested in hiring robots. Interviewers who ask this question are trying to see if you’re passionate about something other than work. What are your hobbies? When you’re not at work, how do you choose to spend your time? They want to get past the front that you’re putting up and learn more about you as a person. Situations that demonstrate your ability to lead or be an active member of your community are great examples to cite.

According to Clay, it’s more valuable to prepare your story than prepare for specific finance interview questions. Listen intently to the interviewer and find a way to tell your personal story within the questions that are asked. Finance is a “people” business. Who you are as a person is what tells the interviewer if you’re the kind of employee who can add value to the organization. When you walk into the interview, you are Jane Doe, a name on a resume. You’re not that different from the other resumes in the stack. To set yourself apart from the group, prepare for the interview and ensure your name, face, and story make a lasting impression.

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5 Trends Impacting the Financial Services Industry in 2017

Financial Services

Among the many industries that we write resumes for, the financial services industry ranks among our top 10.  This week we will dedicate a few articles related to the financial services sector that will offer industry insight and career advice.  

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5 Trends Impacting the Financial Services Industry in 2017 Today, nearly every financial activity is being reimagined in some way, from banking, to lending, to wealth management. Tasks and transactions that once involved human interaction and paper money have overwhelmingly moved into the digital world, and new players are emerging to disrupt the traditionally staid industry. The coming year promises only more of the same. In order to compete in this changing landscape, financial services firms are under increased pressure to adapt to these shifts in the industry.

 

Here are the five most important trends facing the financial services industry in 2017.

 

1. The Rise of Fintech Innovators

While the financial services industry used to be difficult to penetrate, recent fin tech innovators have had no trouble moving in and turning the market on its head. These companies are often reinventing a single process, such as lending, while offering a highly-customized user experiences at an affordable price. In order to stay relevant, it is essential that traditional financial institutions incorporate some level of fintech principles into their strategy in order to avoid being pushed out completely.

2. Meeting the Needs of the Modern Consumer

The widespread success of fin tech companies can be linked to the wiring of the modern consumer. The pervasiveness of the Internet has led to the inherent desire to receive goods and services instantly. Not only do consumers today demand a seamless experience, but they want it at the lowest cost and the highest value. Because of this, the concept of customer loyalty is largely a thing of the past. Online comparison tools and hyper-connectivity among millennials means that traditional institutions that relied on building relationships will have to reinvent themselves to keep up. Knowing customers’ demands will be essential for financial services industries, allowing them to be ready with the right product at the right time for younger consumers.

3. Identifying New Revenue Streams and Business Models

Whether you are a start-up or longtime incumbent in the industry, shifts in the global economy—and the potential for economic downturn at any point—makes international expansion a wise investment strategy. A rising middle class in many emerging economies offers immense opportunity for fin tech companies, as well as traditional banks. In particular, Asia-Pacific countries have the world’s largest middle class growth, and with it, a huge population of millennials who have grown up in the digital world. PWC expects that by 2020, “many US financial institutions will have a fully functional Asian hub…”

4. Expanding Internationally

To remain competitive, distributors need to continue upgrading their work environments and stay updated on the cutting edge of technology. Gone are the days of paper pushing and manual processes – tablets, scanners, and cloud systems are changing the game and making the modern distributor warehouse sleeker, cleaner, and more efficient.

5. Continue to Invest in Cyber Security, Analytics

Overarching the entire financial services industry is the need for enhanced security without sacrificing the customer experience that consumers today demand. Institutions must maintain visibility, but also protect against cyber criminals. Luckily, innovations in the cloud have made it easier to manage sophisticated data analytics that can search for external threats. Meanwhile, this same cloud technology facilitates the flexible and customized interfaces that provide superior user experiences. Inevitably, financial institutions will continue to turn to the cloud when thinking about the future of their business.

Whether an emerging competitor or long established institution, financial services companies have a lot to consider in the years to come. In order to keep pace with the trends outlined above, financial services companies must learn to be agile, forward thinking and open to collaboration as they navigate a constantly changing global economy. If you’re interested in finding out more, check out the whitepaper.

 

Finance Industry Security Trends

Finance Industry

A fantastic article to follow-up on all the Wells Fargo “issues” to put lightly… Financial security must change. Cyber security will hit big. 

Original article click here.

Financial institutions are not new to the game when it comes to facing cyberattacks. In fact, the industry routinely appears near the top of the list of those most frequently targeted by cybercriminals. However, the way in which organizations are being attacked, and the way they’re fending off attacks, is ever changing.

 

Let’s take a look at some of the recent trends in financial services when it comes to cybersecurity. Main points to be discussed include:

 

Government Action

Education within Financial Services Institutions

Cybersecurity Technology

Threat Intelligence

Government Action

Attacks on the financial industry have become a prominent enough threat that state and federal governments are stepping up to the plate when it comes to defense.

 

In fact, we saw New York Governor Andrew Cuomo address cybersecurity in a big way in September as he issued new regulations for financial institutions across the state. The plan comes on the heels of several high-profile breaches, and calls for companies to set up specific programs dedicated to cybersecurity. It also requires organizations to hire chief information officers (CIOs) to help manage defense strategies. The regulations were said to be the first of their kind by any state or federal agency within the United States.

 

Even more recently, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Office of the

 

Comptroller of the Currency, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation announced that they intend to propose rules to help large banks bounce back from attacks. Some of the categories they hope to improve as a result of the rules implementation include cyber risk management, governance, internal dependency management, external dependency management, and incident response.

 

On a global scale, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, has advocated for cyberattacks on financial institutions to be a key agenda item at the G-20 summit.

 

These are just a few of the latest government actions being taken with regards to cybersecurity. Each of them shows us that not only are the threats presented by cybercriminals dangerous to individuals and organizations alike, but they now have the full attention of lawmakers.

 

Education within Financial Services Institutions

These recent government activities are just one of the factors that have started many within the financial industry to begin talking seriously about what they can do to better prepare themselves and customers to handle breaches. While the industry continues to expand and improve access to services, many organizations are taking a step back, recognizing and evaluating the threats, and building a plan to address the challenges that can come attached to advancements.

 

“Shadow IT” has been a term that’s grown in popularity as file sharing apps and other collaboration tools are now commonplace in today’s organizations. While IT may not be responsible for managing these applications, they do need to make sure they are secure. As a result, IT teams are proactively investigating what types of cloud technologies are in use so they can better develop and implement security solutions to protect their workforce and customers.

 

While most employees within financial organizations are regularly educated on security, those that are “newly banked” have recently become the center of security education efforts. Individuals with new bank accounts typically have very little knowledge of existing threats, making them likely candidates to be targeted victims of attacks. This has led to organizations establishing a variety of programs, including consumer training, to help individuals manage their accounts and steer clear of red flags when banking.

 

These types of educational efforts are designed to protect both the customer and the bank from being attacked and thereby putting sensitive data in the hands of criminals.

 

Cybersecurity Technology

Across industries, not just within financial services, bring your own device (BYOD) policies are being encouraged among the workforce, and a growing number of organizations are “digitizing” their business models. The digitization is being made possible by embracing the cloud in a number of different forms. While these initiatives improve employee morale and make it easier for them to access enterprise data and systems while on the go, it also creates a much larger attack surface that needs to be protected.

 

While basic IT security protection like firewalls and antivirus solutions used to be enough to keep things buttoned up, the risks now extend far beyond the network’s fundamental perimeter. As a result, organizations have invested in a diverse security solution ecosystem filled with individual platforms and tools. While these individual solutions are critical to protecting against the threats being posed, there is a chance that the big picture can be neglected in the process.

 

With all of this in mind, we are seeing many financial services organizations looking for, and investing in integrated security solutions that allow them to make all the information gathered from the one-off tools they have deployed actionable. Here at Fortinet, we’ve partnered with a number of technology providers, including Brocade, Carbon Black, Centrify, Pulse Secure, Tufin, WhiteHat Security, and more to give customers a more comprehensive view of the threat landscape.

 

Threat Intelligence

With whaling, spear-phishing, ransomware and other attacks making headlines in the financial services industry, timely threat intelligence has become more important than ever. Financial organizations that implement threat intelligence solutions are able to stay ahead of threats and mitigate any damage that may be done. The real challenge, though, is making sense of all the threat intelligence that firms are inundated with – both from their own systems and from third party vendors. Making threat intelligence actionable in a timely manner is critical.

 

It’s very common for today’s organizations to conduct tests and simulations of attacks to evaluate their security capabilities. Additionally, integrated security solutions can help with this process, as IT managers are able to view all data and analysis collected by their suite of tools through a single pane of glass.

 

Final Thoughts

Due to the sensitivity of financial data and its value to cybercriminals, financial organizations will likely remain in the crosshairs. Keeping up with the latest trends and implementing the most up-to-date technologies could make a difference when it comes to cybersecurity.

 

We hope this list of information better prepares your organization to defend.  What recent security trends have you seen in the financial services industry?

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