Your opinion matters! When you are working for a credit union vs. a traditional bank, it's essential that you can wholly appreciate the difference between the two offerings.
Discuss why you believe credit unions rank higher in customer service over traditional banks. Be sure to compliment BECU if you have had an excellent customer service experience with them.
BECU Interview Questions
- Credit Unions rank higher in customer service than traditional banks. Why do you think this is?
Your opinion matters! When you are working for a credit union vs. a traditional bank, it's essential that you can wholly appreciate the difference between the two offerings.
"Large banks are for-profit, making them more sales driven. This approach can often mean a lower focus on customer service and impersonal service. When it comes to credit unions, we often have higher community involvement, which translates to better customer service at the same time. Credit unions often have better employee training, which also can mean more personalized service for members."
"Credit unions are non-profits, and member-owned, which means they will almost always be more customer-centric. Credit unions are often involved in community groups and take more care than large, and traditional banks can. Also, if we consider geographical location; most credit unions are in smaller, rural communities where service and connection is everything."
- Customers can become upset with BECU policy at times. How would you handle a customer who is angry because they do not agree with a policy?
Part of working in a highly customer-service driven environment is also serving members when they are not happy. The most common complaints in the banking industry surround speed, policy, or unwanted fees. Talk to the interviewer about your approach when it comes to an unhappy customer.
Some critical steps to customer dispute resolution include:
- Remaining kind, polite, and pleasant
- Actively listen to their grievances
- Apologizing for the situation
- Maintaining a neutral tone of voice
- Not taking anything they say, personally
"I have a lot of customer dispute training which has given me some thick skin when it comes to challenging situations. I know that bank policy can seem convoluted at times, difficult to understand, or even frustrating, so I do have empathy for customers who are upset over policy. I take the time to review policy in easy-to-understand language. It's also important that I unpack what their needs are and what is truly concerning the customer. Usually, I can find a solution or at least a work-around that satisfies the customer."
"If I cannot seem to calm a customer down, due to a policy, I will straight out ask them what I can do, aside from change policy, to make them happy. Often it isn't the policy itself but that the customer feels stuck in some way. When the customer is aware that I am willing to rectify the situation, they are much more likely to level with me."
- Do you have plans for continued education?
In many instances, you are not required to hold a post-secondary degree to work in a bank teller role. Other positions within banking do require a further degree. For the sake of career growth, the interviewer would like to know if you are planning to obtain higher education. Of course, this question applies only to those who have completed just a high-school diploma. If you are planning to return to school, discuss what you would want to take. Your answer should reflect an interest in continuing your career with BECU.
BECU may even offer tuition support or a reimbursement program for employees who wish to continue their education. If they do provide this type of perk, you can indeed show interest but make sure that your continued education aspirations are related to the industry and job. For instance, you may want to stick to a finance-related topic rather than saying you would like to take courses in zoology.
"Continued education is important to remain knowledgeable and relevant in the banking industry. I would be interested in earning a Bachelor's Degree in Finance at some point; allowing me to grow with BECU into a lender-based role."
"In banking, it is important to stay on top of your industry. For that reason, I believe that related coursework is always beneficial. I have had my eye on obtaining my MBA one day. Of course, I would obtain this throughout a couple of years as I work full time. Does BECU encourage continued education, or offer tuition reimbursement?"
- Tell me about one career achievement you have set for yourself this year.
BECU wants to know that you have ambitions related to growing your career in the banking industry. When you have goals on the horizon, you show the interviewer that you have an interest in advancing your career and staying in your industry for a long time to come.
When you do not have goals set, the interviewer can interpret this as you being unmotivated and disengaged. Your goals can be as simple as finishing an online course, learning a new skill, or reaching a sales target.
"One achievement I would like to see this year is to make the top 3 for cross-selling at my current bank. My targets and goals are simple, but I like to exceed them, no matter what they are. The more successful my bank is, the better we can serve our customers."
"Next month, I am graduating with my business administration degree. My goal is to land an exceptional internship, like this one at BECU and get my career started on the right foot!"
- Are you okay with routine work, or do you prefer a mix of responsibilities?
Much of a banking environment will be routine; however, the customers you interact with will change daily. So, although banking may offer routine, there is still variety in your day. Show the interviewer that you can handle the balance.
Let the interviewer know that you understand you will have the same goals and processes each day. At the same time, show that you can manage the challenge that comes with customer interaction and other factors that deliver unpredictability in the workplace.
"I enjoy both working in a routine but also having a mix of responsibilities. In my current position, my schedule and goals are the same every day. What changes daily are my clients and their needs. These needs are where my day can become unpredictable. I enjoy that variety because it keeps me on my toes, engaged, and excited to come to work every day."
"Although it may seem routine, no day is the same for me in the banking industry. Generally speaking, my job function remains the same every day, but my customers offer me variety in my day. I am pleased with the pace that this role offers."
- How would you approach a task you were not trained to do?
Thinking on your feet is an essential trait in the banking industry. There is a lot to learn and know, and many changes in the day as you help a large variety of customers with varying needs. The interviewer wants to see how you approach a situation when you do not possess the knowledge or training required.
The key to answering this question is to show that you are competent and able to find answers independently. Perhaps you are an excellent researcher, or maybe you ask others for help, without hesitation. Show the interviewer that you would remain calm and collected; doing what you need to get the job done right.
"Going into my last customer service job, I had minimal training on service and the point of sale system. I watched online tutorials from YouTube, asked my colleagues for help, and observed others on the job. If asked to complete a task that I was not trained to do, I would take the same approach. I am highly capable and a good researcher, so I'm confident in my ability to learn independently."
"When I first started university, I was asked to give a presentation in the first week of my courses. I had never crafted a real presentation before, let alone speak in public, so I was very nervous. I spent an entire afternoon watching TED Talks so that I could get an idea of what makes a good presentation. Then, I brushed up on my PowerPoint skills and made engaging visuals. When I am asked to perform a task outside of my comfort zone, I jump in feet first and learn, using the resources available to me."
- Your background is not in banking. Tell me what skills and characteristics qualify you for this position with BECU.
Many people leave their primary industry and move into roles within banking. If you are transitioning between sectors, expect to answer a question like this and come prepared to defend why you want to change industries.
Your answer should be more profound than the typical, 'banking seems interesting to me' type of response. Think about why you feel that this transition into banking will be beneficial for your long term career.
Next, the interviewer would like to know which transferable skills you bring to this position. There are many ways that you can be a fit for a job, even though you do not come with direct industry experience. Think about the variety of skills that you have and how those can benefit BECU.
"Time management, analytical thinking, and attention to detail are just some of the transferable skills I bring from the retail industry into banking. I have begun to study terminology for the banking industry and will have a firm grasp before my start date. I am fully prepared to transition into banking, an industry where I can grow and learn for many years to come."
"I come from a retail sales setting; however, there are many similarities between my current role at your needs at BECU. For starters, I am accustomed to sales targets and goals, delivering excellent client service, and cross-selling. Other useful skills include analytical thinking and strong research capabilities from my university experience."
- Do you have any sales experience? Would you be comfortable upselling a BECU banking product?
In the banking industry, customer service can also mean cross-selling or upselling services that you know will benefit the BECU member based on their banking habits.
Show the hiring authority that you would be comfortable turning an everyday bank visit into a sales opportunity. If you have a specific example of a time when you made this happen, be sure to share your story. You can also talk about any sales training you have received.
"Every customer service interaction should be considered an opportunity to upsell when the product or service will be of value to the customer. When I believe in the product or service, and it's going to benefit the customer, I am happy to upsell. I currently do so in my job, and consistently surpass the upselling, and cross-selling targets given to me."
"I have not received any formal sales training, but with a little bit of help, I believe that I would enjoy a sales component to my job. I am great at building customer relationships, and seeing a customers' need is part of delivering great service."
- You will handle member transactions in this role. Talk to me about your mathematical skills.
Expectations are that you handle every member transaction with the utmost care and attention. In addition to this keen sense of detail; strong math skills are also a necessity when it comes to working in a banking environment. Discuss your math skills, showing confidence in your abilities related to cash-handling, counting, and making smooth member transactions.
"I did very well in any math-related courses while obtaining my business degree. My math skills are strong, and I very rarely have a discrepancy in the workplace. I will meet the expectations of accuracy for BECU and your members."
"Math has always been a strong suit for me. I did very well in high school math and was even a tutor for struggling students. I am comfortable with the math skills required when it comes to accepting cash, giving exact cash amounts, keying in transactions, balancing cash floats, and performing other banking-related tasks."
- In this role, you will handle thousands of dollars of cash, payments, deposits, and funds transfers. This responsibility requires you to be detail-oriented, accurate, and honest. Does this describe you?
The best way to answer this question is to refer to your past performance. You might want to bring in a written performance review where your current boss mentions how reliable you are. You can offer up your references, or talk about a time your supervisor or co-workers complimented you on your work ethic.
"I have worked in the banking industry for twelve years without a discrepancy in my work. I believe this good work is due to my keen attention to detail, and the fact that I am honest enough to own up to an error I make in the workplace. When you call my references, they will attest to the fact that I am reliable and honest."
"When you call my references, they will most certainly tell you that I am honest and accurate in my work. In the banking industry, it's imperative that I am detail-oriented. I have not experienced an issue or discrepancy thus far, and I will continue to be careful and attentive in my work here at BECU."
- In your opinion, what is the best service or product offered at BECU?
The interviewer wants to see that you have put time into researching and getting to know the offering at BECU. As a well-established credit union, BECU offers an excellent range of banking products for their loyal members. Choose which service or product you think stands out from the rest, and why.
"I appreciate the terms surrounding your Traditional Individual Retirement Arrangement (IRA). When used properly, this tax-deferred retirement plan can significantly benefit your members. Could you share with me what percentage of your members take advantage of this offering?"
"The home equity loans offered by BECU sound wonderful! Your fixed-rate equity loan offers stability for the members who take advantage. This product is a great option for your members who need money for a one-time or unexpected expense. Set monthly payments mean there are no surprises for your members."
- Have you ever been terminated? If so, what were the circumstances surrounding your termination?
BECU has to be very careful who they hire, since their employees are privy to sensitive customer and financial information. If you have faced job termination, you must be upfront about the situation. There is a high likelihood that BECU will call references, and perform background checks including employment verification so its best that you be open and truthful from the start.
Being let go from your position is an unfortunate event; however, it happens to the best of us and often for situations that are out of our control. It's best to own up to it if you have ever lost your job. Be brief in your explanation but also let the interviewer know what you learned.
"Luckily, I have never experienced a termination; however, I understand that it happens to the best people at times. If I were up for termination, based on job performance, I would appreciate an open and transparent conversation with my boss. This way, I would have the opportunity to adjust my approach and redeem myself."
"I experienced a termination earlier in my career; I was not as prompt as I am today and bit off more than I could chew between being a full-time student and a part-time retail employee. After coming to work late a couple of times, my boss lets me go. It was embarrassing and changed the course for me. I am much more dedicated and have not been late for work in years."
- Do you have any formal education that will help you succeed in this role?
Your formal education might be on your resume, but it's time to dig a bit deeper than merely stating your degree. The interviewer wants you to take the time to walk them through which aspects of your education will be most helpful in this role with BECU. Think about any transferable skills you gained or any related subjects where you excelled.
If you do not have formal post-secondary education, you could refer to your high school education (only if you are a recent HS graduate). Otherwise, think of some online learning you have recently completed.
"I have a Bank Teller Certificate of Completion. My coursework included general banking classes, fraud prevention training, and exercises in daily transaction balancing. This coursework is valuable and helped me to gain a great start in my banking career."
"I am a recent high-school graduate and feel that, as a top student, I bring a few valuable transferable skills. These include etiquette, good written and oral communication skills, great memorization abilities, and a keen willingness to learn. I look forward to the formal training from BECU."
- What do you believe we can improve on, at BECU?
The interviewer is not asking for you to give a whole list of what you think they do poorly. This question offers an opportunity for you to point out a single aspect that you could improve on, should you be hired. The point is to show the interviewer that there may be a gap in their offering that you can help fill. Remain positive and upbeat when you give your answer.
"I believe that BECU could serve its customers even better by having a stronger online and social media presence for each community that you serve. I happen to be very passionate about marketing, and quite knowledgable so I am happy to help!"
"Although your community involvement is strong, there are opportunities for involvement that would branch out past seasonal volunteer work. I would love to see BECU host more community efforts rather than primarily sponsoring the efforts of others. I have an extensive background in volunteering as a volunteer coordinator and could help BECU craft a great strategy for this particular community."
- Are you a BECU member?
The answer to this question will be straightforward; yes, or no. Depending on your status, you may not be eligible for member approval at BECU. If you are not a member, or not eligible to be a member, talk about the fact that you would be a member if possible. If you are a member, be ready to talk about what you enjoy most about banking with BECU.
"I have been a member at BECU since moving to this town in 2011. I have been thrilled with the personalized customer service, your competitive fees, and reasonable interest rates on unsecured loans. Just last year, I received my first mortgage through BECU and was so happy with how smooth the entire process was."
"At this point, I do not meet the requirements to become a member at BECU. I would love to be a member one day when I am eligible. I hear many excellent factors associated with membership at your credit union. The online reviews are excellent, and I look forward to further serving your hard-working, well-deserving members."