Behavioral Interviews: Formulating Your Story
Almost 80% of the questions you are asked during the behavioral portion of your interview are related to your story. Candidates never win offers based solely on their technical skills. In my previous post, I explain how to structure your story. This post addresses the two main points you should remember when formulating your answer.
Interviewers look for candidates who can pass the “airport test”. Are you the type of person I wouldn’t mind being stuck in an airport with? The key to having a causal conversation is being a “well-rounded” person. Have interests outside of finance. I’m sure you’re all every interesting people, but remember this is still an interview.
- Pick a few interests that demonstrate your potential leadership, creativity, stamina, or intelligence. Here are a few examples:
- Games are awesome. Pick a sport you’ve played. I’m guessing that you know about the sport so you can converse about the stamina, leadership, as well as competitive spirit needed to partake.
- Pick a hobby that requires intellect or strategic thinking. Personally, I’m an FAA certified pilot.
- Do you have a study/ work abroad experience? This is a great conversation topic. Be sure to focus on the studying part and less on the partying.
- Mentioning you know a language is pretty cool as well. Just be sure you can speak the language in the fluency you portray. Be honest for all of your interests, because you will have to talk about them.
Remember playing those icebreaker games in high school? Thinking about what you’re known for and talking about that will set you apart from the rest of the candidates.
List these at the bottom of our resume under the interest portion. I once had an interview where I spent 30 minutes talking about Bob Barker and the Price is Right because I have “game shows” listed as an interest.
Spinning Your Background Story
The great thing about you story, you can frame it how you want to. Are you going into the interview with non-finance experience? Similar to “bankifying” your resume, you need to be able to connect your story to the banking job you are applying for. Turn your experience’s associated weakness into a strengths.
- Engineering - Focus on your communication skills
- Arts and Science or Lawyer - Explain your analytical attributes
- Pre-Med - Demonstrate how you’re outgoing
- Corporate Finance/Sales/Consulting - Have the work stamina
On the other hand, if you have worked in banking, your interview will be monopolized by questions about your deal experience. Spend time creating a list of projects you worked on, your impact, and the outcome.