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Top 10 interview questions

We’ve put together a list of common interview questions that tend to get asked when being interviewed for graduate and trainee junior broker roles. We have even given you potential answers to help you think about how you would answer the question. Remember to personalise your answers and make sure they get the truest version of you across to the interviewer.

Tell me about yourself

A great ice breaker from the interviewer and a very open question. You need to be confident of your answer and know where you are going with it because if you waffle on and run out of steam you are likely to kill the tempo of the interview before it’s even began. Remember this is an interview so try to ensure your answer gravitates towards aligning you as a person that is most suited to the role on offer.  Another version of this question is “tell me about your time at”, which may be a workplace or your university but the answer even though more specific to a certain time or experience needs to take the same route and align you with the job role on offer.

Why do you want to work here?

This is why it’s important for you to have found out as much as you can about the organisation and its competitors as this will give you the basis to align yourself with their values and culture as well as give you the opportunity to suggest why you have chosen them over other companies operating in the same space. Never suggest that your long term goals are not aligned with the progress that is on offer as no-one wants to hire someone who is looking to use them as a stepping stone to ambitions that are beyond the current role already when you haven’t even got the job. Remember this is about the company and role on offer so if you are passionate about travelling, do not say you would love to work abroad if the company is solely based in London or that you have an interest in an area of the stock market that ultimately you wouldn’t be covering within the role you applied for.

What are your strengths?

A great opportunity to assertively sell yourself with this question. You want to confidently give an answer that summarises your strengths and aligns you with the job specification or advert stating what they are looking for from a candidate to fill the role. If for example the role is for a trainee junior broker that involves a lot of phone based work, a strength would be your communication skills which you developed at university throughout presentations that were a big part of your course. You also enjoy speaking to people and although you don’t have any direct experience speaking to people on the phone in a work based environment, the thought of discussing services with the clients and introducing the company and building relationships is something you believe you would be well suited to. This answer means rather than saying you are a good communicator and then stopping, this has opened up to explain why you believe you are a good communicator and then finished by you stating that you are excited and have an understanding about the role that you have applied.

What are your weaknesses?

Recruiters ask this question to see how self-aware candidates are. You do not want to start listing all your weaknesses and provide them with a reason not to give you the job. Remember you are selling yourself here so although honesty is good, you want to also put a positive spin on it. The age old answer of suggesting it’s a weakness but actually it’s a positive, for example, I always have to be doing something, is not going to give you the brownie points of coming up with a real weakness that is personal to you. You are much better stating a weakness you have that is not going to be a deal breaker and a must for the job but something that can be justified and you can show how you are taking time to work on that weakness. For example, I can go off on a tangent when I get excited about something and the message can get lost. It is something that of course if fine when around friends but for presentations at university and now interviews, I try to make sure that I stay focused and to the point. It’s important that you prepare for this question because answering off the top of your head could uncover a fatal flaw that you can’t come back from.

Why should we employ you?

This question is an opportunity for you to try and set yourself apart from the other people being interviewed. This question isn’t simply about whether you meet the criteria of the job specifications, you need to demonstrate you can deliver what is required. A good way to attack this question is to start by reiterating the role outcomes, for example, my understanding is that the junior broker role requires an individual who can expand the client base and then draw on your past experience that has given you the skills to develop in this role and move onto your motivation and why you believe you would enjoy the role. The more tangible you can make your examples the more you will be able to illustrate to the interviewer why you are the right person for the job. Remember to end your answer on an extremely positive note.

What accomplishment are you most proud of and why?

Use this question as an opportunity to showcase your strengths that are relevant to the role, not necessarily to spout about your proudest moments in life if they do not align you with the job on offer. Think of where you have personally made a difference, but avoid overselling yourself. Ensure you have a compelling story, outline the situation you were in, the task you had to accomplish, the action you took and then the positive results. This will ensure all bases are covered and that you don’t draw a blank or lose momentum by not having an end to your example. It’s important you know where you are going and when to finish speaking so that you can finish on a strong note.

Describe a time something went wrong and how you dealt with it

This can provide the interviewer with a real insight into how people deal with adversity and how they work under pressure when things haven’t gone their way. A lot of graduate and junior broker jobs will be stressful and also difficult at times, interviewers will want to know if you have any experience of dealing with difficult situations and have been able to overcome them. It’s worth making a list of examples of projects or goals that didn’t go according to plan and then listing what happened and why. Next, review the reasons it failed, how you felt about it and, most importantly what you learned from the experience enabling you to understand what you would do differently next time.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

This is a straightforward question that can be quite contentious as you don’t want to be under ambitious, but equally you need to avoid having unrealistic or mismatching your expectations with what is on offer in terms of progress from the role and the company. If you are unsure of the job progression you can be less specific with your answer and state that you would hope to develop and be trusted with increasing responsibility over this next five years progressing in the company and being a valued member of the organisation. This shows that first and foremost you want to be recognised as someone who does an excellent job, and that this would be the catalyst for any career development and promotional opportunities.

What motivates you?

This is a broad question designed to understand why the candidate has applied for the specific role or job. Within financial services being money hungry and target driven is not a bad thing whereas being cut throat and not a team player of course is. When applying for graduate and trainee junior broker roles, particularly if they are sales based the money and target side is going to be an important factor motivating you to work hard.  There is no right or wrong answer, but honesty, enthusiasm and self-belief are qualities a recruiter will hope to see reflected in the answers, which hopefully for you will be similar to what the interviewer is looking for.

Have you got any questions?

It is important to remember that interviews are a two-way process. Interviewers will want to know if you’re interested in them and their organisation, so you should never go to an interview without a list of pre-prepared questions. Try to have the questions remembered and not too many to hand as you don’t want to give the impression that they have to tick a lot of boxes for you to be interested. This will dent your overall enthusiasm shown for the role. It’s important to ask about the company and the opportunities for personal development and you can ask more about the role, its challenges and the team. Also questions directed at the interviewer can work well, such as what do they like about their job, the company, the culture? Again this is an opportunity for you to show interest and not the time to ask about working hours or holiday as this makes it appear you are more interested in having free time than starting your career.

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