How to Answer the Interview Question: "Why Finance?”
If you are attending an interview, it is common practice for the hiring manager or interviewer to ask why you want to work in the industry you are applying for.
This is because the business wants to gauge whether you possess a good understanding of how the industry works and how committed you are to the role in question.
If it is a finance-related job, then you might be asked the question: “Why do you want to work in finance?”
It is imperative you think carefully about answering this question before the interview.
Finance is well known for its dynamic work environments, and with the technical advancements that are continuing to evolve the industry, it is up there with one of the most covetable industries.
It is almost certain you will be asked: “Why do you want to pursue a career in finance?”
This article will explore the best ways to answer this question.
Why Is This Such a Hard Question to Answer?
The questions “Why finance?” or "Why do you want to work in the finance industry?” are difficult to answer because of their generic nature.
This can result in generic-sounding answers (which will not do you any favors in an interview situation).
This is why conducting research and delving into the real reasons why you want to join the industry is important.
Hiring managers and interviewers are likely to hear the same answers frequently; therefore, it is good to think of something personal to you.
Here are a few base answers that are frequently given:
- Enjoying working with numbers
- A willingness to learn and evolve
- Wanting to work alongside like-minded people
- Thriving in high pressure environments
While these answers could apply to you, they are generic and not entirely thought out, even if they represent the reasons why you want to enter the finance industry.
Answering this question like the above means you might not stand out to an interviewer who has heard these answers many times before.
Thinking of different ways to answer these questions can sometimes be challenging, as you need to portray how well you know yourself and the finance industry as a whole – and most importantly, why you are a good fit.
What Does the Interviewer Want to Hear?
Here are a few points the interviewer will want you to evidence in your answer:
- That you understand the financial industry
- That you know why you want to work in finance
- That you know what to expect working in finance
1. You Understand the Financial Industry
The finance industry is a vital, fast-paced and continually evolving area. Its ethos is focused on financial data and economics.
Whoever is interviewing you will want to see your understanding of the range and impact finance has on the world and that you fully comprehend the importance of the job.
2. You Know Why You Want to Work in Finance
This might seem like an obvious enough question; however, understanding why you want to work in this industry is crucial.
Could it be the quality of people? The challenges? Your love of math? Or could it be the financial rewards?
If it is the latter, you should not mention this when initially asked this question – we will touch upon why later in the article.
Try to answer this question honestly to yourself first and perhaps take notes of the main reasons why this industry appeals to you in a bullet point list.
As soon as you start writing down your list, you could discover a reason you might not have realized before. This could potentially set you apart from other candidates. Candour is always appreciated at interviews.
3. You Know What to Expect When Working in Finance
If you are a recent graduate with limited work experience, you might not possess experience working in the finance industry as a full-time employee.
Therefore, hiring managers want to ensure you comprehend the realities of working in the finance arena and in the role you are applying for, and have the correct skills and qualifications that will ensure you are successful.
Sometimes, you will be expected to work long hours as you will be handling significant amounts of data; therefore, displaying that you are aware of the hard work that goes into this industry and have the attention to detail necessary is appealing to an interviewer.
You will also need to collaborate as a team to handle specific projects. You will need to possess good interpersonal and teamwork skills to work with your colleagues.
What Not to Say
It is important to gain an understanding of what not to say. Here are a few points:
- Money – It is vital you do not mention anything about financial reward. While it might be an honest answer and a popular reason why many people go into the industry, it is not appropriate to mention this in the interview.
- Experience for another industry – While the desire to gain experience is commendable, if your specific reason is to use the role as a stepping stone to another industry, the interviewer could consider it a waste of time hiring you.
- Do not say too much – Time is of the essence, and the interviewer will want concise and straight-to-the-point answers that give them what they need to know.
- Keep it relevant – Do not steer away from the question at hand too much, and do not discuss things that are not finance-related. This is your time to shine, so do not waste it.
- Do not be too vague – Answering questions like: "Oh, it seems like an interesting career” can sound vague and flimsy. It also seems like you have not researched before the interview.
- Do not lie – It might seem simple to lie; however, lying will not do you any favors when you are doing the job. Do not discuss financial experiences that did not happen or situations that are not completely true, as it is more than likely the interviewer will do some follow-up research on you.
If you are looking for various ways to construct an answer to this question, think of a life experience that might have led you on the path to a career in finance.
These could include:
- An inspiring relative with a similar career path
- An event from your past
- An experience/talent you discovered at school/university
- An internship or work experience placement
- A love of finance in your family
You can expand on the specific aspects of the experience you liked the most.
You can then:
- Discuss why this path works for you
- Show your understanding of what working in the finance industry is like
- Show them that you are suited to the position
Keep your answer concise, so maybe practice with a friend or family member before your interview.
Example Answer 1
I want to work in finance because I enjoy the challenging nature of the industry and how fast-paced it is. I thrive under pressure.
I enjoy problem-solving and analyzing data, but also realize that finance is not just about the numbers, it is about the people too.
I am personable and regard myself as someone that can create everlasting relationships with my clients to ensure their financial needs are met with care and attention to detail.
The financial industry is so diverse, and the technological advances excite me.
Example Answer 2
The finance industry has always appealed to me ever since I took an internship during college. I worked at a small financial firm and was mentored by one of the partners.
I found the process of analyzing numbers and working with clients to be exciting, particularly the problem-solving aspect of the job. I enjoy rising to new challenges and resolving any queries that might arise.
It is time for me to work somewhere more fast-paced and contribute to higher-profile caseloads.
Example Answer 3
Working in the finance sector is something I have wanted to accomplish throughout my college degree.
Using my mathematical skills and dedication in a real-world environment appeals to me a great deal, and I know I will find the outcome most rewarding.
I want to explore how to contribute to the finance team and be vigilant when it comes to clients, economies and stock markets. Learning from the senior team members while actively doing the job is something I look forward to.
Example Answer 4
When I was younger, my father worked in a senior role at a local financial establishment.
I was excited to shadow him at work when I was at college, and watching him analyzing data and working with clients really inspired me.
When I explored the industry futher, and increased my soft skills and technical abilities, I realized this was the industry that excited me the most, and this has not changed since I was small.
Working in finance is a high-pressured job that can involve long working days, tight deadlines and does not allow for mistakes.
It is, however, a great industry to grow and learn on the job from senior team members.
It will allow you to use your problem-solving skills and mathematical abilities, as well as your keen eye for detail and analytical mind.
Answering the question "Why finance?” is hard. It is a very open question, and there might be many reasons.
However, the employer wants to know that you have an understanding of the industry and what it entails before you secure the job.
Successful candidates are the ones who can provide an open and honest answer that is unique to them and gives the interviewer insight as to who they are as a person.