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5 interview questions you’ll be asked and how to answer them

5 interview questions you'll be asked and how to answer them

1. Walk me through your resume.

This is the classic ‘getting to know you’ question asked in any interview. George Wilbanks, the founder and managing partner of Wilbanks Partners, an executive search firm for the asset and wealth management sectors, suggests asking for specific parameters to better gauge exactly what the hiring manager is looking for:

“What part of my background is most interesting to you, and how much time would you like me to spend answering the question?”

Laurie Thompson, principal in the global asset management and hedge fund practices at executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles, advises candidates to be concise

“Pause to check in – pay attention to your audience and check in if you see you’re losing their attention,” Thompson said. “Ask, ‘Would it be helpful to go in to more detail here or summarize?’ Speak in specifics, as opposed to generalizations, but avoid long-winded storytelling or name-dropping.”

2. Why are you in the market now for a new role?

“Keep it positive,” Thompson said. “Don’t disparage colleagues or your current firm. Be honest and transparent but professional,” she said.

Wilbanks agrees: “Assuming that you’re not unemployed, always focus on the positives of the prospective employer and the role they’re looking to hire for. Avoid negatives about your current role.”

3. If your last position didn’t work out, why was that?

“Tell the truth,” Wilbanks said. Thompson stressed that you have to take ownership. Being defensive or blaming others for career missteps is a red flag.

“For example, if you had a personality conflict with a manager, you could say ‘After two years of working together I just couldn’t figure out a way to work well with him/her’ versus ‘My boss was a jerk,’” Thompson said. “Another example would be if the position wasn’t what you expected, say, ‘I regret not doing more due diligence on the firm and the situation’ versus ‘They lied about what the job really was,’” she said.

4. Describe your experience leading a team, including at least one challenge you faced as a manager/team leader.

Thompson said that any time you’re asked to describe challenges, be sure to include what you learned as a result.

“Come prepared with case-study-style stories about real experiences that that the interviewer can verify with a reference call,” Wilbanks said.

5. Why are you interested in this role?

“Be enthusiastic but avoid coming across as desperate,” Thompson said. “It’s a fine line to walk.”

“Be well-informed about the organizational structure, the backgrounds of peers and superiors, the competitive framework and performance of products of the prospective employer,” Wilbanks said.