Interviewing for banking or finance jobs is undoubtedly one of the most stressful steps in the job hunting process, and many people get so hung up on how they plan to answer their interview questions that they fail to consider other important steps they should be taking. An interview doesn't begin when you shake the hiring manager's hand. It begins when you set up your appointment.
There is a process that goes into fully being prepared to meet with a human resources representative, and there are several steps you can take that will not only make you feel more confident, but also demonstrate your knowledge and assuredness to the hiring manager.
1. Do your research
Understanding the company, ongoing projects and its role in the industry cannot be emphasized enough, and getting tripped up on basic questions about the company – such as the services it provides or the key products it sells – is the fastest way to fail an interview. Take the time to look up facts and statistics about the company, read about its leadership and management team, charitable causes it is involved in and current headlines involving the business. Knowing the company's goals and values can make it easier for you to answer questions about why you want to be part of the team.
2. Dress the part
Dressing professionally for an interview not only shows hiring managers that you present yourself well, but that you respect the company and opportunity for the job. While it goes without saying that jeans, sandals and polo shirts are not appropriate for an interview, it's important that your professional clothes are pressed, tailored and neat. Wrinkled shirts, fraying pants and dirty shoes can have just as large of a negative impact on your overall appearance as walking into the interview with jeans and flip-flops.
3. Bring questions of your own
In your angst to find the perfect answers to potential interview questions, you may have missed the biggest inquiry most employers ask: "Do you have any questions?" Coming prepared with your own questions about the company demonstrates to managers that you've not only done your homework, but that you're curious and truly interested in the position. Of course, there are some parameters you should follow. For example, this is another area during the interview where doing your homework on the company comes in handy, because you don't want to ask a question that you could have readily found by searching the company's website. In addition, it's typically unsavory to ask about salary and benefits until you have been offered the position.
4. Be courteous to everyone on the way in
It's not uncommon for hiring managers to plant current employees in the waiting room while you await your interview, meaning that you must be on your best behavior before and after you enter the building. Being rude to the receptionist or talking loudly on your cell phone (which should be turned off, by the way) will not win you any points with the hiring manager or the other employees, should you get the job.