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Accordion Partners Interview
Questions

28 Questions and Answers by
| Ryan has over 10 years of experience interviewing
candidates in the healthcare, public service, and private manufacturing/distribution industries.

Question 1 of 28

In this role with Accordion Partners, we will rely on your organized and methodical approach to provide financial analysis reporting. What does your current reporting process consist of?

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Accordion Partners Interview Questions

  1. 1.

    In this role with Accordion Partners, we will rely on your organized and methodical approach to provide financial analysis reporting. What does your current reporting process consist of?

      Providing the clients of Accordion Partners with detailed reports will be a key part of this position and your interviewer will be looking to gauge your ability to be organized and detailed while also utilizing your critical thinking skills to provide the best reports possible. In your answer, keep a focus on the techniques and tools that you use to do your job in ensuring that clients are receiving the most accurate and detailed reports possible. As well, let your interviewer know that you are willing to learn new ways and new technologies to help onboard yourself to their team quicker.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "In my current role, I utilize the Tableau program to provide live, up to date information to my clients. After using a simply built Excel program for many years, Tableau provides beautiful and easy to understand reporting that my clients can take and run with to make important decision. The connections and automations within the program have save me time and effort, allowing me to take on a much more robust client base. If hired for this role here at Accordion Partners, I also have familiarity with SAS and Spotfire and consider myself a very quick learner if I need to learn a new program."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "When I need to provide reporting to clients or my firm, I ensure that the reporting includes all key risks and valuation. Today, we as Financial Analysts have so many great tools available to us and my current preference is a statistical program like Crystal Ball. When paired with the advance Excel sheets that I have created, and have been commended, my clients are always happy with the insight that I am able to provide."

  2. 2.

    What software analysis and design tools do you have familiarity working with?

      As a software engineer for Accordion Partners, your interviewer wants to hear that you have experience in utilizing tools that you make you more proficient in your work. Dig back on your past experiences and talk openly about your experiences with the different analysis and design tools that are available to help you be better in the work that you do. In the end, make sure that your interviewer understands that you are proficient in the use of these tools and open to learning and using new tools as well.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "As my career and experience in software engineering has grown over the years, I've come to really appreciate and utilize these tools that are available. A great example of this would be my recent education and use of Structured English for designing insurance claim software for a large auto insurer. The simplicity of the structured decisions in the program were a perfect example of a program that could utilize the tool and the end product ended up very functional for our customer."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "I have great working knowledge in creating and reading data flow diagrams. To help with both our own sales staff and with customers, DFD's have been super helpful and I consider myself very proficient in creating them. I've also recently been introduced to decision tables to aid in product testing. I was working on a new system that involved some very complicated business rules and the decision table helped outline everything perfectly for our testing."

  3. 3.

    The day-to-day life at Accordion Partners can be hectic and stressful at times. If hired for this role, how would you keep yourself motivated when working with stressed colleagues and pushy clients?

      The daily life at Accordion Partners is naturally very fast paced and because of that, both the colleagues and the clients that you may be working with have potential to be stressed, needy and downright mean at times. For this question, your interviewer is looking to get a sense that you would be able to work in this type of environment. In your answer, talk about the fact that you are cognizant of what this job entails as far as personal interactions go and talk about times where you have worked successfully through situations like this in the past. As well, don't hesitate to talk about your own personality traits that help you thrive in these types of situations.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "Being a person that thrives in a fast paced work environment, I have the ability to handle stressed colleagues with a grain of salt. As you can see from my resume, I've spent the last five years in the manufacturing industry where my department worked under tight deadlines all of the time. If I noticed that a colleague was under stress, I offered my help if I was able to and down the road that was usually reciprocated back to me. This unselfish attitude and realizing that someone else's stress wasn't directed at me was the key to maintaining personal health and balance on the job."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "In my current role in client services with a large hospitality group, some days can go off the rails and it feels like I'm working with enraged customers all day long. I have the attitude that their anger isn't directed towards me, but I'm the face of the company that they are currently working with and I need to do my job in helping solve their issue. While I do have great resources at my hand to help solve customer issues, I think that taking the time to get to know all of our management team and how they solve problems is key as well so I know who to put customers in touch with if needed."

  4. 4.

    Think back over your career up to today and tell me about the most difficult day on the job you encountered. What made the day difficult and how did you handle that situation?

      We've all had our share of difficult days on the job and how we handle those days in particular can really make or break where our careers go in that position or with that company. Think of a particular day ahead of your interview that really outlines your ability to handle adversity and proves that you were able to handle it with grace rather than turning your uniform in and heading home for the day. Another important piece of your answer should be discussing what lessons you learned from that particular day moving forward that you still carry with you to this day.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "It's funny that you ask this question because I can honestly say that my worst day on the job happened just a few short weeks ago. Upon arriving to work in the morning, I quickly learned that our entire network was down and we wouldn't be able to work within our CRM or other programs that day. Many of my coworkers were visibly upset and questioning how we would be able to do our jobs that day. Rather than joining the crowd and freaking out about the situation, I huddled our group together to talk about solutions to the workday after we found out that the network likely wouldn't be fully up and running until late afternoon. While some colleagues carelessly went home for the day, I helped brainstorm how we could keep our phone lines open and my boss was very grateful for my efforts that day. Looking back, what made this the most difficult for me was seeing how others responded so negatively over an issue that we had no control over."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "Early in my career, I had a day where my entire office came down with the flu and I was left alone with the receptionist for the day. Being trained and working Financial Advisor, my colleagues also handled market analysis, retirement plans and insurance plans. At first, the receptionist and I went about our business. After being flooded with calls and in-person visits into our office, we connected again to talk about a plan moving forward. We discussed what types of calls she could handle and which ones I would handle and she triaged from there. I made contacted with my personal clients I had scheduled that day to reschedule and we worked well from there. If I couldn't answer a question for a client of one my colleagues, I ensured they knew that my colleague would follow up as soon as possible. Looking back, I learned that on days where you have to break routine like we did then that it was important to make a plan as early in the day as possible."

  5. 5.

    One huge philosophy that we believe in at Accordion Partners is professional development. How have you worked to develop yourself professionally throughout your career?

      In an ever-changing field like financial services, Accordion Partners knows that professional growth and development is vital to them staying at the forefront of their industry. For this question, your interviewer is looking to ensure that your values surrounding professional development match the values of the company. Use this question as an opportunity for you to highlight the many ways that you grow and develop yourself to be the best that you can be in your career. Highlight any continuing education you have completed, any societies or groups that you belong to and any publications that you read on a regular basis that will prove to your interviewer that you aren't comfortable being stagnant in your career.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "I am a firm believer in being a life long learner in my work as a Data Analyst. As technology and times have changed over the course of time, I see it as very important to be learning and changing along with the times. Just over the past two years, the Data Fest and Data Summit national conferences and participation in these events on a yearly basis is super important to me to help me grow and develop."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "In the financial field, I have to stay at the top of my game to compete with other advisors and keep clients happy and flourishing. To do this, I subscribe to and read many of the great publications that are out there. Some of my favorites include the Wall Street Journal, Money magazine and Forbes. I also subscribe to many others. As well, I am a member of NAIFA and I have attended the organization's Congressional Conference on a few occasions."

  6. 6.

    Have you ever run into a situation where a company had a positive cash flow but was still in critical financial trouble?

      At the heart of this question, your interviewer is looking to dive in and take a look at your critical thinking skills. While positive cash flow is usually a very good sign of a company's overall ability to settle its debts and handle future financial challenges, there are some situations where all isn't as it seems when looking at a company with a positive cash flow. Whether you have run into this situation or not, it is important for you to point out that you are aware of situations where a positive cash flow can be misleading.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "If hired for this position, you can rest assured that I know all considerations necessary when looking at cash flow for an organization when determining their overall financial health. A cash flow statement can often show positive cash flow when they take on new cash from loans or long-term debt. While these items do show up as positive on the cash flow, they don't accurately reflect the profitability of the organization."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "I have come across this situation with a company that was selling off a large chunk of inventory. At the same time, the company was delaying their payables. This showed a very skewed positive cash flow but the real story behind the curtains showed a company that was in serious trouble of keeping its doors open."

  7. 7.

    Take a couple of minutes to sell this notepad to me.

      To be successful in the financial advising field, one top key to success is your ability to sell your service to your clients. For this task, your interviewer will slide a notepad (or other item) to you across the table and ask you to sell it to them. First and foremost, your interviewer will be looking for you to project confidence in your pitch and your ability to find their own needs in what they're looking for in a notepad while you give them your pitch. As you sell them the notepad, be sure that you are confident, creative and that you ask questions of them. Overall, see this question as a fun opportunity to show your advising skills in a very nontraditional way and it will be a success for you.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "Well Mr. Jones, I know in your line that you definitely in high need of notepads to help you succeed in your industry and I'm here to show you a new product we have put out to market that can exceed your needs. You'll notice that it features very wide margins that accentuate the note taking procedures for all who use it. You'll also notice that each individual sheet is carefully perforated to make separation from the binding an easy task compared to other notepads. The last feature of our new notepad is that it comes in many different paper colors that suit your needs. If you want, take this sample to your office for a week and put it to use. If you and your staff would make use of it, I can set you up with your first shipment in no time!"

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "Mrs. Jones, we at Notepads, Inc. are excited to announce a new line of notepads for our exclusive customers. If you can, tell me a bit about your frustrations with your current line of notepads that you use. Wow, thank you for that. I can tell that functionality, cost and supply are all issues that are of concern and I'm happy to tell you that this fantastic notepad meets your needs with the brightest white paper, narrow ruled, right priced and readily available features. I'd like to talk about you further about pricing and delivery options when you are ready."

  8. 8.

    At Accordion Partners, our Financial Analysts have to often work under a tight deadline. Talk about a time you had to work under a tight deadline in the past. How did you handle that situation and what made it a success?

      The financial field can sometimes be chaotic and stressful for analysts working on high pressure deadlines and the work life at Accordion Partners is no different. To test how you will perform in these situation if hired for this role, your interviewer will be looking to hear about a time where you did just that. No matter what the situation is that you discuss, be sure to show how you remained calm, focused and on-task to get the job done. Try and stress how you are resourceful and willing to utilize a team effort if necessary.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "In my current role, I'm tasked with preparing some reports for our leadership team's bi-weekly meeting. Upon first taking that responsibility, I made sure that I kept myself organized during each work day and saving and prepping relevant information needed for their report. A couple of months ago, I was informed first thing in the morning that the meeting was being moved a week up to later that day due to some conflicts and vacation time for some of the team. Right away, I moved some things on my calendar to make this a top priority. From there, my regular organization of the materials needed made it easy for me to complete my job."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "During my last semester of my MBA program last spring, I was nearing completion of my capstone project. The project was a case study of mergers within the manufacturing industry and was a great overall project to learn from. During the semester, my full-time job I was working to put myself through school was becoming much more demanding and parts of my project got postponed to a point where I was fearing not being able to complete it to the best of my abilities with the final due date approaching. Right away, I rearranged my work schedule to work half time and began plugging away at the final pieces of the project. To complete it, I had to sacrifice some outside weekend events with friends. While sad to do that at first, I learned some great lessons on time management, project management and sacrifice."

  9. 9.

    What software programs do you use in your current work and how adaptable would you say that you are in learning and using new programs?

      Overall, your interviewer is simply looking to hear that you have a good grasp on programs to use to make you more efficient in your work and to do this, talk open and honestly about the programs that you currently use and talk about in what context that you use them. If at all possible with this role, try to research what additional programs you may have to learn if given this opportunity to join Accordion Partners and reassure your interviewer that your computer skills are fluent enough to pickup quickly if needed.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "In my current role, I currently use a program called Zendesk that is an interactive customer support tool. When we started to use this tool a little over a year ago, I was very quick to learn and utilize all of the great functions of the program and have since become a trainer for new staff that join our team. As well, I'm very fluent in the entire Microsoft suite of products and would consider myself an expert on the Outlook, Excel and Word programs."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "I consider myself very agile when it comes to using and appreciating the vast amount of software that is available to Financial Advisors today. In my current role, I solely use RightCapital as a financial advising tool with my clients. I really love its ability to help in the budgeting and comprehensive planning processes with my clients. I'm also very familiar with the MoneyGuidePro tool and have used it successfully in the past. If hired for this role, you can consider me an open book when it comes to learning and effectively utilizing any programs needed."

  10. 10.

    At Accordion Partners, we pride ourselves on providing the best overall customer experience. Talk about your customer service experience and explain why it will help our clients here.

      In the financial services industry, overall client experience is a major predictor of business growth and the team at Accordion Partners takes the overall client experience seriously. For this question, your interviewer will be looking for you to expand upon your customer service experience past what they can see from your resume. To seal the deal for your interview, try to talk about times that you have went above and beyond the call of duty to provide the best service possible for a customer.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "Over the past five years in my current role in customer service, my number one mantra has been to create the most personalized experience possibl for each person. I have done this by taking the time to get to know the customer, find out what their needs are and creating an experience unique to them. Where my time in automotive sales has really prepared for this role with Accordion Partners is in this approach. If hired for this role, I know that I will be relied upon to use open and honest communication skills, time management skills and to take a empathetic and personalized approach with each client and I can definitely be relied upon to do that."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "In my years in a front facing customer service role, I've prided myself on being the face of the franchise. More often than not, my interactions with customers can be the difference between a repeat customer and a person who never comes back again. To ensure repeat customers, I make sure that I am knowledgeable about our products and services, I'm proactive with their needs and I'm always accountable for any mistakes that are made on my organization's side of things. If given the opportunity to join the team here at Accordion Partners, I will work hard to be highly educated in your services and be proactive and accountable in every interaction that I have."

  11. 11.

    If you joined the team here at Accordion Partners, how would you build relationships with those that you would be working closely with?

      For this question, your interviewer will be looking to get the sense that you would be proactive about getting to know your colleagues and fitting into the culture of the organization. Use a personal approach to talk about ways that you have done this in the past and how you would do it if hired for this position. Talk about the importance of relationship building in your line of work and how it helps the overall good of the organization if you take the initiative to do this.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "From my first day on the job, I would take the time to break the ice with my colleagues by introducing myself and setting up an individual meeting with each person. In the past, I've done these meetings over lunch or in an office where I've had questions prepared for me to get to know the person both personally and professionally. I want to ask my colleagues what they expect from me and what I can expect from them. I've found that these conversations really help to open up doors for working with each other moving forward."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "Being the new person on the job can be a very high anxiety time for some people, but I love the opportunity to break the ice with my coworkers by making that first contact. I think it's important to get to know each other on a personal level because we spend so much of our lives together in the workplace and I am a caring person that wants to know how last night's soccer game went for the kids. Beyond that first ice breaking conversation, my work relationships are then bonded through my work ethic and helping others on my team to show that I am a true team player."

  12. 12.

    At Accordion Partners, we expect our advisors to be available to speak with clients in person, over the phone and through email. What are your experiences in working with clients through different communication methods?

      Customer interaction is the name of the game at Accordion Partners as they rely on excellent customer to service to retain and grow their client base in a cutthroat market. For this question, your interviewer is looking to get a sense of how you use your communication skills to your advantage in your work and how those skills will benefit Accordion Partners. As you answer and talk about your experiences in communication methods, try to show that you thrive on client interactions and have the ability to be both persuasive and trusted with those interactions.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "Looking back on my career, I can honestly say that success as an Advisor is really due to my passion for finance and my desire for interactions with other people. Being a people person at heart, I love working with clients in any way possible. My communication style with clients is to get to personally know them so I can relate my advising to them personally. While I definitely prefer to interact with my clients face-to-face, I do have a lot of experience communicating both over the phone and email as well. If hired for this position, you'll see very quickly that I have excellent writing skills."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "As you can see from my resume, I have taken advanced training courses in public speaking and written communication to help further me in this career field. In my early days in finance and making the move to financial advising, communication skills were my area that needed the most professional development. Today, I am confident in my abilities to work one on one with clients directly in person, over the phone or through email and have experience handling clients in all three ways. In my current role, I'd estimate that over 50% of my interactions are through email with the remaining interactions split between face-to-face meetings and phone calls."

  13. 13.

    If you were having an interaction with a client here at Accordion Partners and you weren't able to answer their question or solve their problem on your own, how would you handle that situation?

      As the forward facing client services representative with Accordion Partners, you may be asked serious financial or market related questions that either don't know or aren't qualified to answer. In those situations, you will be expected to explain to the customer how that question will be answered and then deliver a timeline on when it can be answered. In the end, the customer wants to know the clear path to ease their mind and it will be your job to do just that.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "In my current role in Customer Service with Metropolis' largest automotive dealership, I frequently get asked questions that our sales, finance and service staff have to give the final stamp of approval on in answering customers questions. In these situations, I have a great amount of knowledge where I can prepare the customer for speaking with the right person while also ensuring them that the sales, finance or service staff will provide the final answer. Then, I work quickly to get them to the right person."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "In a situation where I didn't know an answer, I would ensure the client that we have the right staff in place that would be able to help them quickly and efficiently. I would communicate to the customer what the next step would be and if that would be me putting them directly in contact with someone or me taking their contact information and having someone get back to them. In the end, setting the right course and timeline would be important for every customer when I faced this situation."

  14. 14.

    How do you believe your coworkers would describe you?

      The interviewer would like to know how you are seen by your colleagues. Select approximately three words that truly define who you are. Be sure to choose words that radiate positive thoughts!

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "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 with the work that I have submitted in my career, so far."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "Here are some other great keywords you could use:

      - Encouraging
      - Caring
      - Knowledgeable
      - Reliable
      - Focused
      - Honest
      - Assertive
      - Tenacious
      - Motivated
      - Ambitions
      - Conscientious"

  15. 15.

    We pride ourselves on teamwork here at Accordion Partners and this role in Client Services relies on teamwork. What are the top qualities would you would bring to a team based atmosphere here?

      At the heart of this question falls your interviewers need to determine how well you will work with others on the team at Accordion Partners. You will be working with high level advisors and managers that are under a lot of pressure to perform in their jobs and your communications with them will either alleviate some of that stress or add to it. To ensure that your interviewer walks away from your conversation knowing that you are a team player that keeps the end goals of the company in mind, focus your answer on your effective communication skills, your knowledge of everyone's role on the team and your knowledge of what your role on the team will be.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "As with any team that I have worked on in the past, my priority is knowing that everyone has an important piece in the overall success of the team. In customer service, this is knowing who to contact with the right questions and who to guide customers to when needed. This ensures that our work is done efficiently on our end of things and that our customers are handled efficiently and effectively. If hired here at Accordion Partners, my first goal would be to get to know everyone on the team that I would work with, what their roles are and how to best communicate with them."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "My top quality is my ability to communicate, both verbally and through writing. I have excellent interpersonal speaking and listening skills and my past colleagues have always appreciated this. Here at Accordion Partners, your clients would appreciate this in my work as well. I am a very efficient and effective written communicator as well and this would be very beneficial at a company like Accordion Partners, where your offices are spread throughout the country and I can imagine that email communication is vitally important."

  16. 16.

    What SDLC models are you familiar in working with?

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  17. 17.

    Accordion Partners strives for client loyalty to keep us running strong into the future. What do you feel are the keys to retaining clients for the long haul?

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  18. 18.

    If hired to this role here at Accordion Partners, what do you see as one initial hurdle you will have to overcome in your first weeks on the job?

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  19. 19.

    What programming languages would you consider yourself fluent in?

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  20. 20.

    Here at Accordion Partners, we are expecting someone with strong leadership skills to take this role. How would you describe your management style?

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  21. 21.

    If you noticed that a company's balance sheet was showing increased amounts of accounts receivables, what future impacts to that company would you consider to be feasible?

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  22. 22.

    What experience do you have in the different types of software maintenance?

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  23. 23.

    We pride ourselves on our interdepartmental teamwork here at Accordion Partners. If hired for this role, what kind of team player could we expect you to be?

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  24. 24.

    Accuracy is important to us at Accordion Partners. Do you always double check or proofread your work?

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  25. 25.

    Discuss a time that you worked a client through a difficult financial situation. What were the keys to making it a success for the client?

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  26. 26.

    Why would our clients here at Accordion Partners want you to be their financial advisor?

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  27. 27.

    Can you think of a situation where raising debt over equity would be beneficial?

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  28. 28.

    We want our advising team at Accordion Partners to be happy and healthy. How do you manage the day to day stress of being a financial advisor?

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