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Centerview Partners Interview
Questions

27 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 27

At Centerview Partners, our clients are the lifeblood of our business and we do everything in our power to make them happy. What does the term customer service mean to you in your work?

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Centerview Partners Interview Questions

    1.

  1. At Centerview Partners, our clients are the lifeblood of our business and we do everything in our power to make them happy. What does the term customer service mean to you in your work?
    • No matter what position you are interviewing for at Centerview Partners, your interviewer is looking to hear what customer service means to you in your work and how you apply that philosophy in your everyday work life. In essence, they want to hear your story as to why solid customer service is important to you. Prior to your interviewer, be sure to really think about this question to apply what is important to you in how you go about your work. Whether you talk about problem solving or making people happy, this should be reflected in the work that you do.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "A pursuit of a career in the financial field really suited my two passions in life of mathematics and problem solving. In this role, helping clients solve problems in an efficient manner and with a smile on my face would be the drive to succeed that I need. At the end of the day, if I see that my work helped a client grow their wealth and achieve their financial goals, I know that it was a job well done."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "As a people person by nature, I have an innate ability to do what is needed to give customers the best experience possible when I'm working with them. This means that I reflectively listen to their needs and concerns and do what is necessary to help them based on what I heard. In my interactions with customers, I am positive, pleasant and nurturing by nature and I've found that customers are very receptive to my style off communication with them. If hired for this role at Centerview Partners, you'll quickly find that dedicated customer service is one of top qualities that I will bring to you team."

    2.

  1. Give me an example of a time that you had to solve a problem without having all of the necessary information at hand to do so. How did you handle that situation?
    • For this question, your interviewer is looking to test your ability to be analytical and resourceful in a specific situation where you had to dig further to solve a problem. Prior to your interview, try to think of a time in the past where you encountered this specific situation and talk through it by laying out the problem and walking through the step-by-step approach you took to solve the problem. Try to be as detailed you can as you explain how you thought the problem out and worked hard to use the resources you could to help solve the problem. Your interviewer will be relying on these fine details to truly see how you will perform on the job with Centerview Partners.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "Back when I first joined my current organization, I was taking a role that had been vacant for many months and I had to start with a backlog of work along with the regular daily activities. This customer service role included logging daily visitors and calls and the interim rep only kept brief notes. After taking the time to walk through training and getting running on my own, I realized that the current workload wouldn't allow me to catch up on the backlog of work that had been missed. While I had ideas of how to play catch up on the work, I approached my supervisor with a few ideas and we settled on having me log hours from home on our system as overtime to get caught up. I worked with our IT staff on getting set up on our network from home and was more that willing to help out with some extra hours."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "Working for a large financial institution, our advisory staff help cover for each other when we are on vacation, sick or simply out of office for the day. We typically team up in group of three to help provide coverage for each other. A couple of months ago, I fielded a call from a colleague's client while she was away on vacation and completely out of phone coverage. The client had several questions about their personal finances that I couldn't help resolve off the top of my head. I let them know that their advisor was away on vacation but I would take the next hour to research their questions and get back to them shortly. This was a very acceptable path of action to the client and I took the time to get their questions answered quickly."

    3.

  1. If hired for this role at Centerview Partners, I want to be sure that I'm hiring a motivated individual. What motivates you in your daily work and your career?
    • In the financial services field, you should have strong personal motivation to succeed in your work and your interviewer is asking this question to see what it is that make you tick while on the job. While being open and honest in how you stay motivated on the job, make sure that your answer doesn't include collecting a paycheck every week or two. While money is certainly a motivator in this field, make sure that you use it in an appropriate context if you decide to talk about the financial piece of this business as being a motivator. In the end, your interviewer is looking to get a sense of how he or she will be able to keep you hungry for more if you are hired for this role.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "I find myself the most motivated on the job when I am being challenged and when I can continue learning new things. From what I've learned in talking to others that currently work here at Centerview Partners, the fast paced environment and continuous changes in the industry would keep me very motivated in my work and you'd never have to question if I were truly enjoying and being motivated in my work."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "At a young age, my father taught me to do what I love and love what I do and I know that as I approach the middle years of my career that I made the right career choice. The personal finance field has really blended my love of helping others succeed and my passion for statistics and computers. In this role with Centerview Partners, I'll be working with your clients everyday on helping them achieve financial success and that alone is all of the reason I need to get out of bed every morning."

    4.

  1. 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?
    • At the root of this question, your interview will be looking to hear that you understand how the different lines on a company's balance sheet are related to each other. In your answer, be sure to point out your understanding of this as your job as an analyst with Centerview Partners will rely on your ability to do so.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "An organization's lines on a balance sheet all have impact on other lines. In the case that I was made aware of an increase in accounts receivable for an organization, I would note that cash flow could be directly impacted and give a higher chance that the organization didn't have enough money to operate. As well, the reduced value of assets is a real possibility for that organization."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "In reality, an increase in amounts receivable can have both a positive and negative impact. In the short term, accounts receivable show up as current-period revenue and have a positive effect on income statements. But over the long-term, a large increase in amounts receivable has a negative impact on cash-flow for the company."

    5.

  1. Why would our clients here at Centerview Partners want you to be their financial advisor?
    • As a professional in financial advising, you know that relationships are built on trust and integrity and for the business at Centerview Partners, this is equally important. For your answer, your interviewer will be looking how to hear how you build trust with your clients to ensure that they are customers for life. In your answer, make sure that trust and integrity are common themes as you discuss how you work with each client's individual needs to build their portfolio.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "Looking back on my career to this point, I can say with confidence that my success, and the success of my clients, has been due to my ability to build trusting relationships. My path for building a trusting relationship consists of education, communication and action. I educate each client on a personal level, I set expectations for them and deliver on what I say I'm going to do. If hired for this position here at Centerview Partners, you'll be hiring a Financial Advisor that will be great at bringing aboard new clients as I have many current clients that I am confident will follow me here."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "Like in any financial advising relationship, confidentiality and integrity are of utmost importance to clients and these are pieces of the relationships with my clients that I hold in the highest regard. My clients know that I can be trusted to safeguard their personal information and use the best resources possible to help make the best decisions for them based on their personal information and situation. I pride myself on the fact that my clients trust me with their personal information and your clients will have this trust in me as well if I'm hired for this position."

    6.

  1. What is the most attractive thing in your eyes about this role with Centerview Partners?
    • For this question, your interviewer is looking to gain insight into what you know and like about Centerview Partners and how they will be able to help you meet your career goals. In your answer, try and stay focused on the alignment of your values with the organization's values and demonstrate that you've done your research on Centerview Partners and the job you are interviewing for. To try and maintain positivity in your answer, try not to talk bad about a previous employer as that can make you sound like a difficult employee and raise a red flag for your interviewer.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "Over the past couple of years, I've had an eye on pursuing a career with Centerview Partners because of your reputation as a forward moving financial institution and your commitment to the communities that you do business in. As a person that believes in togetherness and helping others out where possible, these are values that I hold very high and would bring to the team here."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "As I enter the midway point of my career, my job search has been focused on finding an employer that I can spend the rest of my career with and someday retire from. Looking at the history, culture and growth of Centerview Partners, this is definitely a place that I'd love to be a part of as you continue to grow and prosper into the future."

    7.

  1. We are looking for the most motivated individuals to join the team here at Centerview Partners. Where you would you like your career to take you in the next five to ten years?
    • This common interview question put you in a tough spot where you should talk about your ultimate career goals while also balancing the needs of the position that you are interviewing for and the needs of Centerview Partners. Prior to your interviewer, try to research the job and Centerview Partners to the point where you can match your career goals with they Centerview Partners offers. While your interviewer is looking for a long-term fit for the position they are interviewing you for, it is okay to set your sights higher as long as your goals meet that of the organization's goals. If at all possible during your answer, point out that long-term success with Centerview Partners is vitally important to you.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "Now that I am to the midway point of my career, I am looking for my next move to be my final move in finding my work home until I retire. As a successful Financial Advisor today, I want to focus on continuing to grow my skills in advising clients on retirement and private wealth management and it sounds like I'll have that opportunity here at Centerview Partners. As I continue to grow in my skills and prove my worth to you, a long-term career goal is to be in management where I could oversee the work of Junior Advisors and mentor them towards success."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "A career in risk analysis has been a dream for some time and this opportunity with Centerview Partners is really my dream job. If hired here, my goal for the next five to ten years would be to continue to hone my skills and help the work of the department to a point where it is growing and becoming more effective. Down the road, I'm really in a position to be an open book when it comes to where my career with Centerview Partners would go from there."

    8.

  1. How can Centerview Partners motivate you on the job?
    • Every employer should know how each of their employees is best motivated. Talk to the interviewer about the variety of ways in which you are best motivated on the job.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "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."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "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."

    9.

  1. 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."

    10.

  1. What types of compensation structures have you worked under in the past and do you have any expectations for this role with Centerview Partners?
    • Compensation for Financial Advisors can vary from a straight salary, straight commission, salary plus bonus or a fee-only structure. You can speak openly and honestly to your interview about the types of compensation you have received throughout your career up to this point, but it is always important to do your research on Centerview Partners and how they pay their advisors when you elaborate on the compensation model that suits you best. In the end, it is important to match your expectations with the compensation structure of Centerview Partners.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "In the current role that I have been in since graduating from college, I started on a base salary for three years guaranteed that also had a bonus structure tied in for performance. At the the end of the three year base salary period, I was moved to a straight commission and have been on that for almost five years now. I am very confident in my ability to be a high performing advisor on commissions and bonuses and find that I have a very high motivation to succeed in this atmosphere."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "As an experience advisor that has spent time working with a large firm, a small independent firm and being self-employed, I have worked on pretty much every pay structure possible for our profession. At the point that I am at in my career with an aging family and grandchildren on the way, a salary plus bonus structure is what I'm seeking during my job search. From what I understand about this position, the compensation you are offering falls within those parameters. Are you able to expand on the bonus structure so I have a better understanding of how it works?"

    11.

  1. 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?
    • Your interviewer is posing this question to see how you will handle a situation where a client at Centerview Partners is working through a difficult time. As you talk about how you managed that situation, your interviewer will be looking to hear that you have the interpersonal skills to be effective from the client's perspective. In your answer, be sure to explain the importance of an empathetic approach with your clients and how that approach helps them get through a difficult time.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "During the recession in 2008, I had a very large client call to request that all of his funds be pulled out of the stock market. Knowing that this move was a very poor strategy, I needed him to hear that in most personal and educated way possible. With an active listening approach, I repeated back what he had told me and I reiterated that he wanted to sell them at a low price and hopefully buy them back down the road at a high price. This made the client take a pause and think. This was my opportunity to talk about market history and the odds that his stock prices would rebound over time. He decided to keep his funds in the market at the time and a few years down the road, he called to personally thank me for the sound advice. The fact that I took a personal approach while educating him in the process to make his own decision was the definite key to success in this situation."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "Sometimes in this field, difficult conversations have to be had with clients and when I need to have them, I use a very personal and empathetic approach. A great situation where this happened was with a client that wasn't meeting their personal retirement goals to be done working at age 62. At the point we were working together, she was 55 years old. After a quick assessment of her finances, I talked to her about letting her two kids be responsible for their own college tuition. As a mother, her intuition was to support her children in every way possible but the reality was that it was hurting her own goals. Simply put to her, I told her that there are no loans available for retirement and that she was doing both herself and her kids a favor by taking the route I suggested."

    12.

  1. Can you think of a situation where raising debt over equity would be beneficial?
    • Debt and equity have a very closely bonded relationship with each other in relation to a company's finances. In most situations, raising debt can create too high of an amount of pressure to meet payments versus raising equity. But, there are a few key situations where there is a distinct advantage in raising debt over equity and your interviewer will be looking to hear that you understand at least one of those advantages to be tax shielding, reducing cost of capital and not diluting the stake for investors.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "In the situations where I've advised an organization to increase debt, they've received a distinct advantage in a lower cost form of financing versus equity financing. In the end, this reduced the organization's WACC and came out to be a win for them."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "Last year, I advised a manufacturer to take the debt over equity route when adding a new line of products that was guaranteed to be very profitable. This fact allowed the company to simply and quickly repay the loan plus interest while being able to reap the rewards of the extra profits. In that same case using equity, final profit would've been less."

    13.

  1. As a consultant with Centerview Partners, you will be relied upon to build trust with our clients as you work with them on financial stability and well-being. What would be your tactics to build trust from the start with a new client?
    • This role with Centerview Partners will entail you working with clients and learning about their financial status as an organization. You'll work with high level leaders with your clients and a key component to them accepting and opening up to you as their consultant will be trust. Let your interviewer know that you understand the importance of building trust with their clients and talk about the little things that you'd do to build rapport and trust with the clients that you'd be working with. If you have an example of a trusting relationship you've built during your career, don't hesitate to talk about the relationship and why it was important.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "In this role, I think it will be extremely important for me to demonstrate my value to my clients from the start and I would do this by using examples of prior successes and by projecting my knowledge in the financial world to them. By ensuring that they know I am a subject matter expert, they will be more willing to open up and be honest with me from the start and that is the only way we will be able to get places together in our client-consultant relationship. Moving forward from there, communication will be of utmost importance. I am a firm believer in regular updates on the progress of my work and I wouldn't hesitate to give updates to any of the key stakeholders that work for my clients."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "In the consultation world of finance, I think the key components to building rapport with clients would be a positive attitude and a genuine focus on their business. From the start with a new client, I would strive to know their business and put forth an effort to show that I am invested in their processes and successes just as much as an employee of the organization. This investment really suits my personality as I can only do a top-notch job if I am personally invested in a project."

    14.

  1. In this role with Centerview Partners, how would you evaluate a new client's financial position?
    • This questions gives you the opportunity to both show some of your experience and knowledge in the field while also showing that you may be able to bring a creative approach to working with new clients. Talk about your personal experiences in evaluating financial situations for organizations you have worked for and be upfront about what you have experience doing and what you haven't been a part of in the larger grand scheme of things. Give your answer a personal touch by talking about the key stakeholders you'd have to work with at the client and how you'd go about building trust with them.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "If I were assigned a new client in this role, the first logical step would be to analyze their current financial performance to see where initial improvements and/or work would need to be done. My first goal would be to meet with key leaders and finance staff for both fact finding on my end and for me to explain my processes as the consultant. This process would also help build rapport with those that I will be working with. From there, my approach would be to review the company's balance sheet. Here, I could get detail on the assets and liabilities of the company and be able to calculate their current ratio. From there, a solid plan of action can be outlined."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "From my experience, there are some key measures that are critical in measuring an organization's financial health. First off would be liquidity to measure the organization's ability to handle short-term debt. If an organization isn't financially sound in the short-term, they can't possibly be in the long-term. If things check out on that end, the next important pieces to gauging financial health for an organization would be to look at and measure their operating efficiency and profitability to ensure that they are built for the long haul. As you can see from my experience, I'd bring a strong ability to work with the clients here at Centerview Partners in these areas."

    15.

  1. How do you stay on top of new trends in the financial services industry?
    • The interviewer would like to know that your passion for financial services goes beyond your work hours. Do you keep on top of industry news and trends on your off time? Assure the interviewer that you are well immersed in the industry.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "I stay on top of financial service trends through a variety of blogs, news sites and financial magazines. My favorite finance news site at the moment is businessinsider.com."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "I believe that it is crucial for me to stay on top of news in the financial services industry if I hope to be a success. I have joined multiple meet up groups to network with industry peers. It has really helped my network and given me insight into how other financial service professionals are making their careers flourish."

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