Common Finance Interview Questions (and How To Answer Them)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 25 June 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

If you have an upcoming interview in the finance field, learning common interview questions can help you prepare. Hiring managers may ask questions to discover your personality, finance skills and work history. Knowing the typical questions hiring managers ask can help you respond confidently in your interview, which may help you get your target position. In this article, we review common finance interview questions and explore sample answers to help you practise.

General finance interview questions

In a finance interview, hiring managers often ask general questions first, such as:

  • Tell me about yourself.

  • What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

  • What made you want to work in finance?

  • What was your first finance position?

  • What do you most enjoy about working in finance?

  • Tell me about your strengths and weaknesses in the workplace. What do you do to overcome your weaknesses and how do you apply your strengths at work?

  • Do you know where you want your career to be in five years?

  • Where did you get your undergraduate degree, and what was the subject?

The initial sets of questions interviewers ask are typically general introduction questions. These questions help them form their first impressions of you, so it's important to answer appropriately. Consider responding in a straightforward, polite manner to show the interviewer your personality.

Related: Interview Questions: What Are Your Strengths and Weaknesses?

In-depth financial interview questions

The next set of questions may focus on your industry experience and your previous finance positions. Your answers to these questions can provide the hiring manager with more information about your unique qualifications. These questions might include:

  • Tell me about your experience in finance. What was your last position in the industry and what were your responsibilities?

  • Tell me about a key achievement in your finance career. What did you do to achieve that goal?

  • Have you completed any professional development courses recently? Tell me about them.

  • Tell me about a time when you had to overcome a problem. How did you respond to it?

  • Tell me about a time when you improved the financial health of a company. What did you do?

  • In previous positions, how did you collaborate with management to help the company meet its financial goals?

  • What interests you most about finance, and how might you apply that interest to this position?

  • Tell me about a time when you took a leadership role in a finance position. What did you do to lead your team effectively?

Related: Job Interview Tips: How To Make A Great First Impression

Finance interview questions related to soft skills

As the interview progresses, the hiring manager may ask you about your soft skills, such as teamwork, time management and interpersonal skills. Some of these questions might include:

  • Describe a time when you worked as part of a team. What was your role?

  • If a colleague was having difficulty with analysing a financial dataset, what would you do to support them?

  • Tell me about a time when you used your communication skills to overcome an obstacle at work. What was the issue and what did you do to solve it?

  • Tell me about a time when you were working on multiple projects at the same time. What kinds of strategies did you use to manage your time effectively?

  • What communication skills do you do to manage or improve client relations?

  • Tell me about a time when you had to be creative in order to meet a client's needs. What did you do?

    Related: Guide: How To Succeed at a Hiring Event or Open Interview

Technical finance interview questions

In addition to questions about your soft skills, hiring managers often ask questions about your technical finance skills. Some technical questions might include:

  • Which financial statement is the best to use when assessing the overall health of a company? Why?

  • What is the weighted average cost of capital (WACC) and how would you calculate it?

  • Why is it important for a company to have a strong financial model?

  • What would you say is an ideal budgeting process for a company?

  • Tell me about working capital. How does it typically affect a company's financial health?

  • What are some of the biggest challenges regarding cash flow and how do you usually overcome them?

  • Which software do you find most useful when tracking fixed assets like property, plant and equipment (PP&E)? Why?

  • Why are write-downs important, and how do they affect financial statements?

    Related: Interview Question: Tell Me About Yourself

Questions to ask the interviewer during a finance interview

In the final part of a finance interview, the hiring manager may invite you to ask them questions. In your answers, you can show that you're interested in the job, learn important information that can help you determine whether the position is right for your career goals. These questions may include:

  • What professional development opportunities does the company offer?

  • What kinds of benefits does the company provide, such as holidays and annual leave?

  • What are the most common financial datasets I'd be likely to be working on within this department?

  • Does the company provide any training programmes that I could attend?

  • Could you tell me about the finance team? How many people are on the team and how long have they been working with the company?

  • What types of advancement opportunities are there in the finance department?

Example finance interview questions and answers

Here are a few examples of interview questions a hiring manager might ask and how you can respond to them:

What are your hobbies?

While this question is general, responding with a finance-related hobby can show a hiring manager that you're passionate about your career. If you're new to the field, it's an opportunity for you to reveal in-depth finance experience, which may help you get the job.

Example: In my free time, I volunteer at an animal rescue centre. I provide finance-related administrative services and I also help the owner of the centre evaluate their financial statements for inaccuracies. Over the last two quarters, I've helped the centre increase its revenue by 10% and helped it lower its tax obligation by 15%.

What strategies would you use to enhance the financial health of a company?

When asking this question, a hiring manager may be interested in learning how you solve problems. Consider talking about your experience with a previous employer. If you're new to the field, you could talk about an example situation.

Example: First, I would assess the current financial health of the company by talking to the accounting and finance teams. Then I'd review the financial statement and look for unnecessary expenses or issues the teams may have mentioned. After that, I'd make suggestions to the accounting team about which expenses it could reduce. Finally, I'd monitor the results of the change to ensure it improved the company's financial health.

Why are write-downs important, and how do they affect the financial statements?

An interviewer might ask this question during a finance interview to evaluate your technical skills. By preparing your answer before the interview, you can show your practical finance knowledge, which may help you get the job.

Example: Write-downs are important when recording the reduction of the value of inventory. They're necessary when the fair market value drops below the book value on the balance sheet. In a financial statement, a write-down is part of the expenses section, so having a low write-down value may indicate the company has a positive net income.

Tell me about a time when you assumed a leadership role. How did you lead your team?

An interviewer typically asks this question to learn how you handle leadership positions. In your response, consider discussing how you might support a team, delegate duties and solve problems. If you're new to the industry, you can discuss an example situation or talk about a time when you led a team in a non-finance position.

Example: At my previous job, I was a project manager. My main priorities were to provide direction and leadership to my team to ensure the financial activities of the company ran as smoothly as possible. I also prioritised financial planning, forecasting and budgeting for the organisation. I ensured the data we collected was up to date and accurate. In addition, I delegated tasks to my staff to improve the overall efficiency of the team.

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