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Preparing for a Financial Services Interview in 2020 and beyond – The importance of Soft Skills

Preparation for interview is key to securing that role that you are after, particularly in a difficult and challenging year when fewer Financial Services employers may be recruiting.

Did you know?

69% of hiring managers say the most important soft skill they screen for is adaptability

Employees who are adaptable are more likely to achieve better outcomes as priorities shift or setbacks occur, since they're already comfortable making strategic adjustments.

So be ready for interview questions such as

Describe a situation in which you embraced a new system, process, technology, or idea at work that was a major departure from the old way of doing things.

  • The interviewer may be looking for you to demonstrate eagerness to explore new ways of working and improve based on what you learn; if you discovered a better way; whether you embraced the change

Recall a time when you were assigned a task outside of your job description. How did you handle the situation? What was the outcome?

  • Try to demonstrate that you understand and appreciate that the job may evolve and your willingness to try something new and take the necessary steps to ensure that you achieve a successful outcome

50% of great collaborators also tend to be top performers

When a role requires teamwork, strong collaboration skills make a big difference.

Done well, collaboration can improve productivity, morale, and order. But when people are not so good at collaborating, they can create roadblocks for colleagues.

So at interview an employer may well try to understand your team player mentality. For example,

Talk to me about one of your favourite experiences working within a team and outline the contributions you made.

  • An employer will be looking for you to demonstrate drive, enthusiasm and motivation via teamwork. Try incorporating a healthy mix of “I” and “we” statements to communicate both individual and team contributions.

Describe the best team leader or manager you have worked with. What part of their management style appealed to you?

  • An employer is looking to understanding your own working style and what kind of personalities you work best with.

The ability to plan, organize, and prioritize work is ranked as the third most desirable quality in a new employee

Employers will be looking for people who can manage their time effectively, those who pay close attention to details to ensure that things don’t fall through the cracks. This is especially important in roles that have firm due dates and tight timelines, such as Paraplanning and Financial Adviser Client Support roles. When employees know how to prioritise, they are less likely to drop the ball.

How do you determine what amount of time is reasonable for a task?

  • An employer may be listening to see if you think carefully about how you are allocating your time and that you seek a healthy middle ground between rushing and perfectionism.

Tell me about a time when you had to juggle several projects at the same time. How did you organise your time? What was the result?

  • So look to demonstrate a clear and proactive process for organizing your time, like blocking your calendar, creating a to-do list, and confirming deadlines back to the Financial Adviser or Wealth Management client.

Generally look to ask the interviewer some questions too!

Strong candidates are often seen as highly curious and invested in learning more about the company and role.

So other than the obvious questions around salary and benefits, how about asking them

  • What is the biggest opportunity for this role?
  • What’s the most challenging aspect of it?
  • What career progression is available?
  • If you could describe your team in 3 words, what would they be and why?

Preparation for interview is key to securing that role that you are after, particularly in a difficult and challenging year when fewer Financial Services employers may be recruiting.

Very best of luck and get in touch if we can support you in 2021.