Interviewing is an important step for candidates and hiring managers to find the right match. When done well, an interview is a two-way conversation where both parties can share what they’re looking for and what they can deliver.
If you’re a hiring manager, it’s important to identify the key qualities a candidate needs to succeed in the role, then select questions that get at those qualities.
If you’re a job candidate, it’s important to rehearse for an interview, so you can convey your thoughts clearly during the real thing. One best practice is to develop a structured approach to answering questions, then practice using common interview questions.
Below is a list of top finance interview questions that were shared with us by financial professionals in the AFP community. you interview in corporate finance, expect some companies to present their questions in the form of business cases or word problems.
Financial professionals in the AFP community shared, based on their experience, the interview questions they like to ask:
Common behavioral interview questions
Basic Finance Interview Questions
Spend five minutes and walk me through your résumé.
Tell me about yourself and why you are well suited for this role.
What sets you apart from other candidates?
In your last review, what are three things your manager gave you positive feedback on.
What are some items your manager wanted you to work on?
What are you most passionate about in the work you do?
How do you approach work you don't want to do or find boring?
How do you manage a busy and changing workload?
Problem-Solving Interview Questions
What do you do when you don’t know how to do something, and how do you get support?
Tell me about a time you had to make an important decision but did not have all the information.
Tell me about a new skill/procedure/complex problem you have had to resolve. What were the steps you took, and were you successful?
Interview Questions About People Skills
Tell me about a time you joined a team and had to accomplish a common goal.
Tell me about a time you had to manage disagreements or disappointments. How did you recover?
Give an example of a time you had to manage resistance to a change you were implementing.
Tell me about a time you had to manage a difficult situation with customers or senior management.
Describe a time you had to bring a group of senior stakeholders around to your way of thinking. Describe the situation, your actions and the outcome.
How would you explain a finance topic to a non-finance professional?
Leadership and Team Management Interview Questions
What is the most successful yet challenging activity/project you have led?
What is your leadership style, and how do you like to manage teams, whether informal or formal?
What is your approach to managing poor performance in your team?
What do you consider to be effective staff development opportunities that can be offered to the team?
Technical interview questions
Finance Interview Questions
What are three different ways to value a company?
What has a cheaper cost of capital, equity or debt?
Why might a firm choose debt over equity financing?
What are different ways to value a project or investment, and what are some of their relative strengths?
Potential follow-up: Be sure the conversation includes NPV, IRR, and payback/breakeven.
Briefly walk through a discounted cash flow analysis, including WACC.
Accounting Interview Questions
What are the three main financial statements? What information do they convey? How do they connect with each other?
Why would a company receive cash from a customer in month 1 but not recognize it as income until month 2?
Let’s say I buy a piece of equipment. Walk me through its impact on the three financial statements.
Suppose you have a company where EBITDA has been rising for the past several years and that company suddenly declares bankruptcy. How might this have happened?
Conglomerate X has a significant amount of debt maturing next year. With debt markets still tight, what options does the company have?
Business/Economics Interview Questions
Why would two companies merge?
What major factors drive M&A?
What is the impact of a plant in Europe producing a part for an American plant in a situation where the Euro is appreciating against the U.S. dollar
Where do you think the economy is heading this year and over the next few years?
Questions to Ask at the End of an Interview
At the end of every interview, candidates are always given the opportunity to ask the interviewer some questions. Make sure to prepare questions ahead of time. Choose questions according to what’s important to you and any additional information you need to determine if the role will be a good fit.
To help get you started, here are some questions to ask the interviewer, as suggested by financial professionals in the AFP community:
How do you communicate and deliver information?
If I approached you in a situation where I needed help, how would you help me succeed in a task or project?
Why did you accept your job, and why do you stay?
What challenges have you faced that you did not necessarily expect?
What training do you offer, and how will you help me grow my experience?
What makes someone a valuable employee in this company?
Do you feel valued in this company, and how does the company demonstrate this?
My career goals are [insert here]; if I am chosen, how will you help me reach my goals?