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Novus Partners Interview

27 Questions and Answers by Ryan Brunner
Published July 23rd, 2020 | Ryan has over 10 years of experience interviewing
candidates in the healthcare, public service, and private manufacturing/distribution industries.
Job Interviews     Companies     Money     Financial Services    

Question 1 of 27

What statistical analysis tools do you have experience working with?

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What statistical analysis tools do you have experience working with?

As a successful and resourceful Data Analyst, your interviewer at Novus Partners is expecting you to be knowledgeable and well-versed in the many tools available to you. In your answer, be sure to show diversity within particular programs like SAS and SPSS while also explaining that you are very proficient in Microsoft Excel. On top of the programs, talk about any experience you have with programming and database language like SQL and Python.

Ryan's Answer #1

"In my current role, most of my analysis is handled in SAS and I've really grown to appreciate the program's ability to to manage large data sets and create predictive modeling in the financial field. From a past job, I have experience on SPSS and also with the SQL programming language to build robust databases. Of course, I have received expert level training in Microsoft Excel and consider myself a master of the program."

Ryan's Answer #2

"Having been in the field for over 15 years, looking back at the technological advancements in the tools that we use is very amazing. I consider myself very fluent in both the Sisense and KISSmetrics programs. I also have a good amount of experience in Crystal Reports."


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"


If hired for this role at Novus 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 Novus 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 Novus 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."


List the top 3 skills that you have acquired in your last role.

You have likely gained many valuable skills in your career. Share with the interviewer which skills you value the most. Be sure to include skills that will potentially benefit this potential new employer.

Ryan's Answer #1

"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."

Ryan's Answer #2

"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."


If hired for this position at Novus Partners, what factors would you consider part as part of an organization's long-term liability?

To begin for this question, make sure that you can define a long-term liability as obligations that are due beyond one year and into the future. Then, consider major factors like bonds, mortgages, leases and other items that factor in to an organization's long-term liability. Last, try to explain why the measurement of long-term liabilities are important is an important factor in considering the overall financial health of an organiation.

Ryan's Answer

"While long-term liabilities aren't an immediate issue on a companies working capital, the can become an issue if long-term liabilities pile up too high for some organizations. While often overlooked, items like mortgages, fleet vehicle loans and annuities can add up over time and are always items that I consider when looking at the overall health of an organization."


Novus 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?

Businesses in financial advising are constantly pushing the limits to ensure that they retain clients and Novus Partners doesn't take client retention lightly. One slip up and a high profile client will be taking their business to a competitor. For this question, your interviewer will be looking to hear that you understand your role in the customer retention equation and how you take pride in that in your everyday work. Make sure to hit on the point that doing the small things, like prompt communication and follow up, go a long way towards keeping clients happy.

Ryan's Answer #1

"I learned a few very important things from a senior mentor early in my career that I still hold near and dear to my heart to this day. First, clients expect me to be responsive to their needs to ensure that they keep their business with me. Because of this, I return phone calls and emails as soon as I can, even if that means in the evening, the early morning or on a Sunday afternoon. These small actions go a long way in showing my clients that I care. Another key to the success of my long-term clients is my ability to set and manage expectations for them. Clients desire to have a plan and know what that plan entails and I pride myself on my ability to work with them to set goals and a plan to achieve those goals."

Ryan's Answer #2

"Having lost clients in the past that went to another firm, I take that pain personally and do everything I can do to ensure long lasting relationships with my clients. For me, the first key to long term success with my clients is a proactive approach. I don't wait for clients to get in touch with me to make changes to their portfolio, I reach out to them. This action alone shows my clients that I am working for their best interest. Another action I take that shows my worth to my clients are goal tracking and quarterly progress reports that I send out to them. This is particularly helpful for clients that are working with me in their first two years."


At Novus Partners, we are building a massive machine learning program and your role as a Data Scientist will be an integral part of that project. What experiences will you bring to that side of this job?

In the financial services field, machine learning is being used to automate processes, provide information security, create algorithms for trading and to assist in credit scoring. Novus Partners is looking to stay at the forefront of their field and this role as a Data Scientist will play a huge part in making this a reality. Talk about any experience that you have in working with data to create a robust machine learning tool. What was your role in the project and what can you bring to the team at Novus Partners?

Ryan's Answer #1

"Over the course of the last two years, I've been working on a machine learning tool that monitors online pricing from thousands of different retailers. The tool analyzes thousands of data sources simultaneously and pulls the information into a real time database. My job was in the build of the program and the database while working with other colleagues that built out the sourcing for the websites we would pull data from. I think this experience would fit nicely with your team looking to extract real time market data and trading data on a minute to minute basis."

Ryan's Answer #2

"May experience in AI and machine learning as a Data Scientist has been in paperwork automation and cybersecurity. I recently helped my organization tweak our system to isolate cyber threats and the new tweaks are working perfectly. As well, I've helped my organization save thousands of labor hours by creating a program to review contract information from vendors. If hired for this role here at Novus Partners, know that I remain open to learning new techniques in machine learning to help your organization grow and prosper into the future."


In your experience as a Financial Analyst, what do you feel is the best metric to gauge a company's future stock performance?

As a Financial Analyst with Novus Partners, you will be relied upon by clients to provide the best risk and reward opportunities for them to have the most successful investments While there are many great metrics to use and no right answer for this question, your interviewer will be looking to hear that you are confident in why the metric is important by talking about the details of it. The confidence that you project to your interviewer will carry over to your work with clients and your interviewer will be keying in on this aspect of you answer.

Ryan's Answer #1

"While there are many excellent metrics to consider for the future of a stock performance, the one that I weigh the most heavily is the price earnings to growth ratio. I prefer the PEG ratio because of its consideration of expected growth rate where simple P/E calculation doesn't consider that. This calculation is specifically great when looking at a wide array of companies within an industry to level their playing field."

Ryan's Answer #2

"Being familiar with metrics like free cash flow, payout ratio, debt-to-equity and price-to-sales, all can be very useful depending on the situation. In a recent economic downturn like we've had recently, I've relied heavily on the debt-to-equity measurement to measure future performance. As we've seen with many large retailers recently, a simple look into their debt would've shown the potential for disaster in their stock."


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

The daily stressors of a career in financial advising can be burdensome, overwhelming and lead to burnout on the job. To get a sense that you can handle stress in a safe and healthy manner and be able to come to work each day with a clean slate, your interviewer is looking to delve into your personal life a bit to see how you manage stress. When answering, you can certainly talk about the things you do on the job to keep as stress free as possible, but also be sure to talk about the things that you do outside of work to avoid burnout. Point out that you have the resources and ability to care for yourself to keep you at the top of your game on the job.

Ryan's Answer #1

"To begin with on the job, I consider myself very excellent at handling stress. Being a goal oriented person, I find happiness in obtaining goals and consider any necessary stresses in pursuit of a goal healthy. Outside of work, I am a very active person that trains for marathons and spends a lot of time outdoors with my family. I find that these activities help cleanse my mind and heal my body to prepare for a new week on the job."

Ryan's Answer #2

"When I maintain a healthy diet, exercise regularly and spend as much time as possible outside of work with my children, any unnecessary work stresses are put on the back burner and often relieved immediately. I'm a firm believer in a healthy work-life balance, even though it can be very tough to do in our field. Having the ability to answer a client email or phone call during off hours while unwinding has made our work lives better as well."


At Novus 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 Novus 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 Novus Partners, you'll quickly find that dedicated customer service is one of top qualities that I will bring to you team."


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 Novus 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."


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 Novus 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."


What is the most attractive thing in your eyes about this role with Novus Partners?

For this question, your interviewer is looking to gain insight into what you know and like about Novus 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 Novus 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 Novus 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 Novus 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."


This position at Novus Partners has generate a lot of interest from applicants. What do you feel is the one quality that sets you apart from others we are speaking with about this position?

This question is the perfect opportunity for you to highlight the one key quality that makes you the best person for this position, so be sure to really think about what this one quality is ahead of your interview. While there are many ways that you can take you answer to impress your interviewer and seal the deal for you in getting the job, be sure to avoid making assumptions about the other candidates in your answer. As well, be sure to avoid anything in your answer that points to this job being convenient for you personally or the fact that you'll be getting compensated for this work. Those are quick ways for you to go to the bottom of the candidate ranking list.

Ryan's Answer #1

"As I've talked about during this interview process and from what you can see on my resume, I have all of the technical skills needed to grow your financial advising practice here at Novus Partners. What sets me apart from my competition is my drive to succeed in this industry and I'd love to bring that drive to Novus Partners to help working with your highest profile clients possible. Growing up and continuing to this point in my life, I've always been a very competitive person. I've played many team and individual sports my whole life and my drive to win in those has definitely carried over to and been a huge benefit in my work as a Financial Advisor. I'd love to bring this competitive spirit to your team."

Ryan's Answer #2

"From what I understand about this role in Client Services with Novus Partners, my day to day work will include a lot of client interaction and I really feel like the job description was written with my skills and abilities in mind. But the thing that will really set me apart for being the perfect fit for this role is my experience on the sales side of things where I spent five years of my working career in the retail sales industry. In sales, I have developed key skills like product knowledge and selling skills that would be very beneficial to this role."


At Novus 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 Novus 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."

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