Answering the "Why Financial Services?" Interview Question
Updated March 22, 2023
Interviewers may ask you general questions at the start of a financial services interview to assess your suitability for the role. They may ask why you are interested in the field or role to help determine your motivations and lead to other questions. Learning more about the questions you may get asked during an interview can help you develop confidence and create effective answers.
In this article, we explore why employers ask "Why financial services?" during an interview and how to answer this question, and we list example answers to help you form your own.
Why employers ask "Why financial services?"
An employer might ask you why you chose financial services during an interview to determine your motive for working in the industry. Your answer can help the employer determine whether your goals and interests align with the company and role. It's important that your answer conveys your passion for the industry. Before your interview, consider all aspects of the industry that interest you the most and assess the reasons why you pursued this career path to help form your answer.
Related: Your Guide to Careers in Finance
How to answer "Why financial services?"
When asked this interview question, there are a number of steps you can take to form an effective answer, including:
1. Research the company and role
Before your interview, be sure to conduct research on both the company and the role to which you are applying. You can find this information on the company website, their social media profiles, or in any related news articles. Determine the company's mission, values, and goals, and use this information to focus your answers. You can also learn about any ongoing or upcoming projects in which the company is involved. This can help you express your motivation for involvement and can help the hiring manager imagine how you can contribute.
2. Consider your main reasons for working in financial services
When answering this question, it is important to think about your main motivations and goals for the industry or the role. Think about why you got started in the industry and consider your long-term career goals. This can help you tell the story of your career so far and show your motivation toward future success. Consider aspects such as clients, projects, work environment, and innovations in the industry. As you create your answer, be sure that the reasons you mention are relevant to the role and the company.
3. Highlight your most impressive skills
Your answer to this question can help the interviewer learn about your most impressive capabilities. Consider the skills and knowledge that you have developed in your career and think about those that you may wish to develop in the future. This can help you both demonstrate your current capabilities and show your motivation for professional development. It's helpful to review the job description and assess the key skills listed. Try to align your answer with the skills that you find. You can also use this opportunity to explain the capabilities that can make you more competitive against other candidates.
4. Consider your favorite aspects of the work environment
While your answer can focus mostly on your passions, motivations, and applicable skill set, you can also mention how the work environment suits your personality and preferences. For this aspect of your answer, it's also helpful to conduct research about the company so that you can demonstrate how the work environment they offer is suitable for you. You can also discuss how you enjoy working with others and independently. Highlight how the typical workday offers you a variety of independent work, teamwork, and interacting with clients to express how much you enjoy this variety in your workday.
5. Highlight your important experiences
Consider your previous work experiences as you create your answer, to ensure you mention the most impressive aspects. Consider roles that are directly related to financial services and those where you have developed transferrable skills. This can help the interviewer learn more about your career progression and determine the range of your skill set. When considering your prior experiences, think also about the most relevant and impressive responsibilities you have had. You can also mention any experiences that you wish to have in the future, to show the employer your motivations for gaining more responsibilities.
6. Be honest in your answer
While you typically aim for an impressive answer to this question, ensure any information you provide is honest and accurate. Interviewers want to learn about your current skill set and capabilities and may expect you to apply them in the role. By being honest in your answers, you can ensure that you set realistic expectations for your work capabilities and demonstrate that you are trustworthy.
Example answers to this interview question
If you are preparing for a job interview, here are a number of answers to this question to help you prepare:
Example 1: Entry-level role
Here's an example answer for you to consider if you're pursuing an entry-level role in financial services:
"When deciding on the field I wanted to pursue when applying to college, I knew that I wanted to have a career that offered many opportunities for career progress so that I could be successful. I think that financial services provides a great opportunity for career growth, and I am very motivated to be successful in my career.
The finance industry allows me to continue developing skills, such as analytical thinking and financial management, and allows me to demonstrate the skills I already possess, such as accounting, communication, and decision-making. I think that working in financial services can provide me with a fast-paced work environment, where I thrive. I also enjoy the aspect of working with customers, as I am personable and enjoy helping others. I am excited to develop rapport and gain clients in the role."
Example 2: Mid-level role
This example is a suitable answer for a mid-level position:
"Throughout my career, I have enjoyed working with numbers, providing effective customer service, and demonstrating my skills in finance to help benefit clients. I am dedicated to continually developing my skills in this area, I believe that this role in financial services can help me reach my goals. This organization has a great reputation for providing financial services to clients, and I am very excited at the opportunity to join your team. My attention to detail and ability to make accurate financial predictions suits me well for this role in financial services.
I also appreciate the aspects of the role that allow me to work independently, as I find this is when I am most productive. I am motivated to continue to progress to higher roles in my career and believe that this industry can help me achieve those goals."
Example 3: Senior-level role
If you are pursuing a senior-level role in financial services, you can consider this example answer:
"I have always had a goal of working in executive positions for a financial services company. I enjoy overseeing company operations, coordinating with other employees, and assessing important client portfolios. I have been dedicated to financial services for many years, and believe that this position is the next logical step for me in my career. I have developed impressive financial assessment skills and I am confident that I can be an asset to the company in this role. From the time I was in college, to the present day, I knew that I have been suited for financial services."
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