Dozens of people submit their job application for practically every single job opening for Personal Banker. How to be the one who succeeds? How to stand out from the crowd? You will find the answers on the pages of our website, that specializes only in personal banker interviews.
Written by Jack Groner, former Interview at Wells Fargo and Citi, Independent Interview Coach.
What to expect?
Prepare for a lengthy and difficult interview process that consists of four parts. It does not matter if you need to pass four individual interviews, or if they conduct them all at one occasion; at the majority of US-located banking institutions, interview process for personal bankers consists of the following four stages.
The Easy Start – Personal Questions
Every interview starts with several basic questions. They can ask you these questions over the phone, in a group interview, or in a typical face to face meeting with the branch manager, or external recruiter:
- Why do you want to become a personal banker?
- Why do you want to work here, and not at some other banking institution?
- What characterize a good personal banker from your point of view?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- Can you tell me something about your past working experience?
- Why should we hire you?
These questions are not easy, but still, it goes about the least difficult part of the process. The interviewers try to assess your communication skills (every good personal banker should have excellent communication), and your real level of motivation. Try to listen carefully and answer all their questions well, and to the point.
You should also show respect and recognition for their banking institution.
Behavioral Interview – The second stage
Interviewers will ask you several behavioral (or situational) questions. They will inquire about your past experience, and about your behavior in various work-related situations. They try to assess your competencies, and readiness for the job.
- How would you deal with an irate customer? How did you deal with them in the past?
- What would you do if we had not adequate product for a client?
- Give an example of a time you made a point to go above and beyond with customer service.
- What would you do if you were five hundred dollars short when preparing to leave the office?
- Describe a situation when you were under pressure. How did you handle the pressure?
When answering behavioral questions, you should always try to recall situations with positive outcome. What is more, you should show that you understand a role of a personal banker, and that your past successes and failures had prepared you for this role.
Technical part – what do you know about banking products and our institution?
You should do your homework before the start of your interview. While they will provide the training, if they hire you, it’s still better to know something about finance and banking products. Such a knowledge demonstrates a serious interest in the job and in the field.
I suggest you to visit the website of the bank of your choice, and research about their portfolio. It can help you a lot to answer some technical questions related to their offer, and also to flourish in the role play (last part of the interview process). After all, you can also read a little about their values and working environment. Some example questions follow.
- What do you think is our most popular product for young couples?
- Do you use services of our bank? If yes, why do you use them? Can you name few advantages of our services, when we compare them to products of our main competitors?
- Can you describe the difference between credit and debit card?
Last step – The role play
Role play is the typical “finale” of an interview. One can actually win the job contract, or lose all their chances in a role play. Interviewer will play a client of a bank, and you will play a banker. That is a basic scenario. You will be supposed to uncover the needs of the client, sell them something, take care of the transaction, or do other tasks personal bankers normally do in their job.
It is not easy, I know… However, you should always accept the role play. If you refused to do it (complaining about lack of time, or lack of knowledge, as many job seekers do), they would screen you out immediately. Try to be yourself, listen to their needs, use the right questions, and never forget that you are there for the client, not contrariwise.
What to say at the end?
Dozens of competitors, tough interview questions, and a role play… It’s difficult to get this job. If you need some advanced help, if you want to do something more than the other job seekers do when preparing for their interview, you can have a look at my Personal Banker Interview Guide.
You will find multiple brilliant answers to all tough interview questions, winning interview strategies, as well as a detailed guide on how to ace the typical role play for personal bankers.
Regardless of your next step, I wish you good luck in your interview!
Jack Groner, Your Personal Interview Coach