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The AFP Group 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

The AFP Group 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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The AFP Group Interview Questions

    1.

  1. The AFP Group 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 The AFP Group 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."

    2.

  1. How can The AFP Group 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."

    3.

  1. 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."

    4.

  1. We are looking for the most motivated individuals to join the team here at The AFP Group. 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 The AFP Group. Prior to your interviewer, try to research the job and The AFP Group to the point where you can match your career goals with they The AFP Group 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 The AFP Group 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 The AFP Group. 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 The AFP Group 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 The AFP Group would go from there."

    5.

  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 The AFP Group.

      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."

    6.

  1. This position at The AFP Group 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 The AFP Group. What sets me apart from my competition is my drive to succeed in this industry and I'd love to bring that drive to The AFP Group 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 The AFP Group, 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."

    7.

  1. If hired for this role at The AFP Group, 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 The AFP Group, 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 The AFP Group, 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."

    8.

  1. At The AFP Group, 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 The AFP Group 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 The AFP Group. 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."

    9.

  1. When would an investment in commodities make sense for a client that you were working with?
    • Prior to your interview, it is important to prepare for very market specific questions like this one where your interviewer will be looking to get a sense that you have the knowledge about particular markets like commodities, annuities and private equities. When you answer a question like this, try to give your interviewer an answer that shows that you understand the basic details of the market, when it is useful and what its downsides are to prove that you know situations where it can be very beneficial to a potential client.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "In my experience, commodities have made the most sense to use as a hedge when I am concerned about a potential upcoming crisis. I've utilized the gold market at times and it was very effective during the recession back in 2008. Gold prices have always tended to rise when the markets fell and some very high profile clients I worked with at that time were very pleased with their results while others lost a substantial amount in the market."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "Commodities are always an interesting consideration because of their spectacular performance at times. But, because they don't receive dividends and aren't a great hedge bet over time, there are only a few scenarios where I utilize them. Crude oil markets are a great example of a short term buy in commodities when a production increase or decrease is announced."

    10.

  1. At The AFP Group, 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 The AFP Group, 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 The AFP Group, you'll quickly find that dedicated customer service is one of top qualities that I will bring to you team."

    11.

  1. Our clients here at The AFP Group expect top-tier service and products and we will expect you to do just that in this role. Have you ever went the extra mile for a client when it wasn't expected? Why did you do so?
    • The AFP Group looks to set themselves apart from their competition by delivering the best service possible in the industry. You, as a customer service professional, are likely used to doing this so in your example, be sure to think about a time where your going above and beyond the call of duty really impacted the overall customer experience. No matter what example you use, be sure to explain why you felt it was important to take that action and what outcomes you are aware that it produced.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "A couple of years ago when I was working customer service in retail, a customer was looking for what happened to be a discontinued item of clothing for her sick mother. The easy route would have been to simply look it up, tell her it was discontinued and have her be on her way. What I did was take down the customers contact information and let her know that I could contact our person that handled archived products. If we could track it down, I would be in touch. With a simple phone call, my colleague was able to track the item down from the supplier and have it coordinated to ship directly. We put the customer in direct contact with the supplier and she was as happy as could be. Looking back on that situation, I felt that it was the right thing to do given the situation that the customer was in and knowing she was a loyal customer of ours."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "My current role in hospitality often has me working with very high profile customers that come to our hotel. Last year, a touring manager for a musician contacted me regarding and upcoming stay for the musician. I proactively asked for their dining and entertainment preferences and with that list, I was able to work with our catering staff to ensure we had preferred items on the menus for the nights that he stayed and that we had a customized video game package in the musician's room for the his extended stay. Prior to him leaving, his manager reached out to thank me for the great service!"

    12.

  1. If hired for this role at The AFP Group, how would you help make sound investment decisions for our clients?
    • While certainly an open ended question for you to run with, your interviewer is really looking to get a sense that you are resourceful in your decision making processes and that you don't rely too heavy on quantitative or qualitative information to make decisions. In your answer, talk about the sound use of data while also relying on your experience and judgement to help in your decision making processes. As well, if you are open and experienced in a team based approach among fellow colleagues, talk about that as well.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "In my current role, we have a great team that considers many factors in our investment decisions for our clients. Our engineers have developed mathematical models that gauge the markets and their propensity to shift over time. We have a team of market experts that rely on the new and current times to predict future fluctuations. As the Portfolio Managers, we weigh information from all of these teams to make decisions moving forward and this allows for the greatest confidence in our overall decisions."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "While all of our decisions for our clients are based on assumptions, my experience has taught me to weigh in many different factors when making investment decisions. Looking at historical data to predict futures carries some weight and can be accurate at times, but having firsthand knowledge of different businesses and industries like I do helps put that historical data into perspective when trying to predict the future. If hired for this position at The AFP Group, I'll have that ability to make the best decisions possible for your clients."

    13.

  1. What is the most attractive thing in your eyes about this role with The AFP Group?
    • For this question, your interviewer is looking to gain insight into what you know and like about The AFP Group 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 The AFP Group 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 The AFP Group 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 The AFP Group, this is definitely a place that I'd love to be a part of as you continue to grow and prosper into the future."

    14.

  1. In your work as a Portfolio Administrator, what kind events cause you the most stress on the job?
    • The high demands of a position as a Portfolio Manager or Administrator bring a lot of stress. Market volatility, greed, underperformance and tough clients can all contribute to a high level of stress in this field. For this question, your interviewer is looking to gain insight on how you handle these stress factors on the job by having you talk a bit about what types of things cause you stress. While you talk openly about what it is that causes you stress or discomfort, make sure that you also talk through how you handle that stress in a safe, healthy and good for business manner.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "While overall market volatility does stress out a lot of Portfolio Administrators, I have a very good way of explaining this volatility to my clients to the point where it doesn't stress me out. For me, any stress that I feel is usually put on me by myself in having very high expectations for my work with clients. To help alleviate this stress, I've learned over time that the goals and expectations that I put on my work have to be realistic and attainable when they sometimes weren't early on in my career."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "In reality, our work as Portfolio Managers for our clients is almost like trying to do the impossible. We are relied upon to make sound decisions for clients based on insufficient information, all while trying to maintain confidence in our decisions. This in itself is a daily stressor on the job and one that I don't take lightly. To help myself with this daily stress, I've learned to accept mistakes as they happen, own up to them with clients and work hard to alleviate those mistakes to put my clients back in the best position possible."

    15.

  1. 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"

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