Due to the sensitive nature of your work, honesty is a core requirement in everything that you do. Assure the interviewer that you are an honest and trustworthy person, worthy of employment with AAA.
"My former boss said I am one of the most trustworthy people out there. In addition to being raised to make the right choice, I have no fear when it comes do deliver honesty. You are more than welcome to check in with my references as well. They will speak highly of my character."
"Integrity is critical in the financial services industry. Yes, I consider myself to be honest and trustworthy."
Take a few minutes to walk the interviewer through your post-secondary education. Which aspects of your education do you look forward to applying for your future career with AAA?
"I have a Bachelor's Degree in Accounting with a focus on Financial Law. I feel that the Financial Law aspect will help me immensely in my career with AAA because it is a strong major that helped me to understand the effects of all actions in business, especially when purchasing a property. It's caused me to strengthen my analytical mind and problem-solving capabilities."
"My education has been primarily on-the-job training and additional coursework on mutual funds, and RESP's. You will see a full list of my certificates on my resume. In addition to these credentials, I have enrolled in a Financial Planners workshop this fall."
The interviewer would like to know that you would be willing to commit more time to expanding your financial services knowledge. If given the opportunity to develop your industry related knowledge, in which area would you choose?
"I appreciate that AAA puts so much emphasis on the education and training of your employees. If I could choose to further my education in any area of financial services, I would choose to learn more about property investments and mortgages."
"I take professional development very seriously and have attended a variety of courses this year including Financial Markets and Products, and Personal Financial Planning II. If I could take another, I would choose to learn more about Personal Financial Planning but taking the Level III course."
There are so many areas of focus when it comes to financial services. Talk to the interviewer about the areas of finance that you enjoy working on the most. Be sure to acknowledge some areas of focus within AAA when you answer this question.
"I find many areas of financial services to be intriguing. After researching your company further, I see that you focus on Line of Credit and Mortgage services. I enjoy working in both areas but primarily optioned Home Loans and Term Loans."
"One of the primary reasons behind my application to your company was that you offer the home mortgage services. This area is one of strength for me that I look forward to evolving even further."
Talk about your attention to detail and sharp focus on data and statistics. If the job requires you to take an analytical approach to solving problems then, think back on your experience. Give as much insight into your process to show you are capable of taking a systematic approach to problem-solving.
"I worked for a financial firm last year and had a client who was looking for investment recommendations. I gathered data on the stocks they were interested in, sorting through trends and historical data to determine the most promising returns."
"As a financial service professional, I am always analyzing information before creating a path of recommendation for my clients. I am highly skilled when it comes to data analysis. My abilities stem from my statistics and analysis related courses while obtaining my Bachelor's degree in finance."
Everyone handles the stress and disappointment of setbacks differently. Discuss with the interviewer how you typically cope with delays in the workplace.
"Experiencing a setback is always disappointing, and can be a bit disheartening, but I understand that it happens from time to time. If I experience a major setback, I will take a few moments to debrief with my manager and discuss what I could have done differently. Then, I move on!"
"Setbacks are tough, but I truly believe that everything happens for a reason. I am a creative person and will always find a way to recover from a setback."
This question will help the interviewer to understand if you have a long and continued passion for your career. Talk to the interviewer about an alternate career path that you might choose but be sure to keep it related to the position for which you are interviewing.
"If I could change anything about my career path, I would have stayed in post-secondary studies for longer to upgrade in my field. I feel that this would have given me the advancement I seek now, many years earlier."
"I believe in looking forward, and not back. Every decision that I have made has brought me here so I would not change a thing."
The interviewer would like to know that you can take on a leadership role even if it is not a formal leadership title that you possess. Everyone has leadership capabilities, whether they come in the form of training a new employee or merely leading by example.
"I feel that I am good at motivating a team. Last year, I motivated my sales team every day, through small incentives and awards, and we ended up being the top sales team in the company for the year!"
"Some great qualities of a leader are: - Being someone who people naturally want to follow - Exceptional interpersonal skills - Strong relationship building skills - Taking ownership for the team's errors and mistakes - Excelling at motivating others - Providing kudos to your team - Knowing how to select and hire the right people to join the team - Having a vision for the future These are just a few to get you started! With which qualities do you most identify?"
Every employer should know how each of their employees is best motivated. Talk to the interviewer about the variety of ways in which you can be motivated on the job.
"I am best motivated through words of praise and recognition for a job well done. I do like to know that my efforts are noticed. In my current position, we have a leaderboard, and I do like that concept because it creates a healthy bit of personal competition for me as well."
"I am a natural salesperson, so the best way to motivate me is through performance incentives. In my current position, I have been in the president's club for the past three consecutive years. I am highly motivated by the vacation that I am awarded annually."
Companies will have confidentiality agreements for a variety of reasons. These could be to protect their trade secrets or to ensure that you do not bring clients over on the occasion that you leave their company. Talk to the interviewer about your thoughts on confidentiality agreements.
"I never have, to my knowledge, broken a confidentiality agreement. Despite my reasons for leaving a position, I would never choose to hurt a previous employer in any way."
"No, I have never broken a confidentiality agreement. I respect my employers, current, and past, and highly value being a person of integrity."
You have likely gained many valuable skills in your career. Share with the interviewer which skills you value the most. Be sure to include capabilities that will potentially benefit this potential new employer.
"In the past few years I was able to upgrade my education while still working full time. The biggest skill that I gained was my ability to multi-task as I worked the dual role of employee and student. I also have strong skills in a variety of Microsoft programs such as PowerPoint and Excel."
"There are many skills I gained in my most recent position as I had a great training program and my boss was a strong mentor. If I had to choose three top skills, I would say that the biggest ones were effective multitasking, solid closing skills, and cold calling abilities."
Taking the fall for a situation, to protect a co-worker, is a tricky situation. It can show teamwork, but it may not be the most honest thing to do. Talk to the interviewer about your thoughts on taking the fall for something you did not do.
"I do not believe in 'taking the fall' for people based on protecting them. Transparency is always a good idea, and if something went wrong, then it needs to be addressed to prevent it from happening again. When it comes to clients, I will apologize on behalf of the company for errors. In that case, I will do what it takes to protect the company's reputation."
"I will always help a well-meaning co-worker to save face when necessary. With that said, I will not lie to save a co-worker from the consequences of their mistakes."
Double checking and proofreading are critical parts of a job well done. Assure the interviewer that you are diligent when it comes to submitting good, clean, work.
"Spelling and grammatical errors are a pet peeve of mine. I will triple check my work if there is time! I feel that it is essential to submit error-free work."
"I do my best to put great work out, at all times. I believe in double checking my work although I must admit that I have fallen victim to the odd mistake like the best of us!"
The majority of people will work overtime hours or take work home with them on occasion. Talk to the interviewer about how frequently you bring your work home.
"I make sure to utilize my work hours very efficiently, so the only time that I take my work home is when there is an extremely stringent deadline. I would say that, overall, I take my work home maybe twice per month. It's all about being diligent with your time in the office!"
"I take my work home with me anytime I feel that it will give me an edge over my competition, or benefit my clients."
It is a great skill to have when you can approach a problem in a new way. Discuss with the interviewer your ability to approach a problem using modern methods.
"When our company came under new management last year many new methods and policies came into place. I was able to learn many new approaches to our challenges in sales and customer management. I quite enjoyed the process."
"In my current position, I am faced with learning new sales methods and client approaches on a regular basis. I am always the first to embrace these new sales pitches because I truly believe the bigger diversity we can offer our clients, the better."
Many people find that performance incentives can be very motivating and yet others find them to cause anxiety. Talk to the interviewer about your feelings regarding performance incentives and how they may or may not affect your work performance.
"I feel that performance incentives are a great idea. They keep an employee motivated to do a great job and ensure that they are on top of their KPI's. The majority of people are very enthused about being rewarded for their successes."
"I am prepared to give my best, whether a performance incentive is offered or not. Performance incentives can be a great idea, but I feel they should not be too simple to achieve. Most sales professionals respond well to a good challenge."
Everyone makes mistakes, and no one is perfect. The interviewer knows that too and is asking this question to see how you handle situations when you make mistakes. Give an example that demonstrates how you took responsibility for your error and fixed it. Also, what you learned from the experience as a result. Sometimes learning from our mistakes allows us to gain some valuable tools.
"When I worked as a financial services rep, I accidentally double booked two clients for an appointment in one of the time slots. I realized the mistake after I was double checking my calendar and called the clients right away and apologized for my mistake. As a result of this experience, I always made sure to double check the time slots on my calendar."
"When starting my current position, I had some struggles with learning Salesforce and let the frustrations get the best of me. I felt like a failure and was ready to give up. Once my boss pulled me aside and reminded me that everyone struggles with brand new technology, I was able to relax. I ended up taking an online course on the program so that I could fast-track my learning and avoid further frustration. What I learned was that only I am responsible for my learning and there are always ways to overcome challenges, if you look for the answers and are prepared to work for them."
This question is meant to create a little bit of stress. If you are not confident and prepared, a question like this will make it very obvious to the interviewer. Give a sincere response! If you feel that your performance in the interview is going well: "I believe that this interview has been quite informative and I am happy with my performance. Is there anything that I can clarify for you from this conversation?"
"I believe that this interview has been quite informative and I am happy with my performance. Is there anything that I can clarify for you from this conversation?"
"If you feel that your performance in the interview is not going well: "I am not sure if I have been able to portray myself 100% accurately in this interview; although, I am trying my best. If there is anything more I can clarify for you, I would be happy to do so."
If you were to be the successful candidate with AAA, when do you expect to make a viable contribution to the organization? Talk to the interviewer about your plan to build a fast impact.
"I am interested in making an impact on your organization right away and have already crafted a plan to make that happen. I am a solid business development professional, and I plan to take the territory and expand it to include additional rural areas. This action should amount to a strong increase in revenue within the first nine months of my onboarding."
"My plan, if hired by AAA, is to make an impact as soon as possible. I have researched this position and am very eager, so I have created a 90-day impact plan that I would like to share with you."
The interviewer would like to know how your colleagues see you. Select approximately three words that truly define who you are. Be sure to choose words that radiate positive thoughts!
"I believe that my coworkers if asked, would describe me as a reliable person who is always ready to submit the best work possible. My work ethic has never been questioned, and I am very proud of the work that I have submitted in my career, so far."
"Here are some other great keywords you could use: - Encouraging - Caring - Knowledgeable - Reliable - Focused - Honest - Assertive - Tenacious - Motivated - Ambitions - Conscientious "
Some great qualities of a manager are: - Being someone who people naturally want to follow - Exceptional interpersonal skills - Strong relationship building skills - Taking ownership for the team's errors and mistakes - Excelling at motivating others - Providing kudos/recognition to your team - Knowing how to select and hire the right people to join the team - Having a vision for the future These are just a few to get started!
"I feel that a successful manager should be patient, strive to be a mentor, and be willing to receive constructive feedback from their team. As a manager, I want to have a team that trusts me and comes to me for professional development and coaching."
Depending on the role you are interviewing for, you may have completed a Bachelors degree in a finance or business related field. Talk to the interviewer about your potential plans for continued education. It's always best to leave the door open for the opportunity!
"Although I have my Bachelor's degree in Finance as well as my CFA and FRM designations, I would consider returning to complete an MBA. Do you encourage continued education for your employees at AAA, by offering a tuition reimbursement program?"
"An MBA is never a bad idea; however, that would be a long-term goal for me. At the moment, I am focusing on building my financial services portfolio and gaining additional knowledge through industry related workshops and courses."
Cold calling, warm calling, prospecting, and building a sales pipeline - these are all tasks generally associated with most financial services roles. Assure the interviewer that you are capable and willing to do what it takes to get the sales results you need!
"I have experience in cold calling and all other forms of generating new and repeat business. I took a workshop last year on the art of cold calling as well. In my most recent position, I made approximately 100 cold calls per week."
"I am new to my career in financial services and sales; however, I have taken an online course focused on cold calling. This course was incredibly helpful, and I look forward to meeting and exceeding my targets with AAA."
Chances are you have gained a lot of momentum through your financial services career; likely being responsible for a more extensive portfolio every year. Assure the interviewer that you can handle the level of responsibility they are expecting to hand over to you.
"I am newer to my financial services career and have worked very hard to develop a strong portfolio this past year. Currently, my portfolio is worth $$. What size of the portfolio would I be responsible for at AAA?"
Briefly take the interviewer through your sales based work history. Be sure to highlight your best results. This question is where it is imperative to know your sales numbers before walking into your interview.
"I have been in a sales based role for the past ten years. With Company A, my best year I finished 125% to quota. With Company B, I began from the ground up and left with a portfolio of business worth $$$. In my last position, with Company C, I was the top-grossing financial services employee in our branch at 167% to target."
"At this point in my career I do not have a lot of financial sales related experience; however, I am well versed in a variety of business development and cold calling techniques. I fully understand how to build a sales pipeline and see the importance of building a referral-based business."
If you do not have any criminal history, this is an answer that will be very simple and concise. If you do have a criminal history, now is the time to disclose it.
"I do not have a criminal history of any kind, and I am happy to comply with any form of background check you require at AAA."
"I should disclose to you that I have a mark on my criminal record. I have a DUI from 1998. Since then I have maintained a clean record, and I am willing to comply with any form of background check that AAA requires."