To succeed in an interview is not easy, especially if many other people compete with you for the job. Statistics from the biggest online job boards indicate that in average more than 20 people submit their job application for every single job opening titled “Personal Banker”.
20 applications, and just one job contract. You have to prepare for the questions to have any chance of signing the job contract at the end. I will try to help you.
My name is Jack Groner, I worked for Citi and Wells Fargo, and today I will try to help you succeed in an interview.
What to expect?
Prepare for a long and difficult interview process. It does not matter if you need to go to the bank four times, or if they conduct a single session with each job applicant…. One way or another, the interview process for personal bankers consists in the following four stages:
The easy start – personal (screening) questions
The interview process starts with several basic (screening) questions. We can ask them over the phone, in a group interview, online, or in a typical one on one setting. In this stage, we try to understand something about you, your motivation, your abilities, your experience and knowledge. If you do not fit into our working environment, or do not meet one of the crucial job criteria, we will know it once the screening stage finishes. The questions we may use:
- 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?
- What motivates you in job?
- Why should we hire you?
The second stage – behavioral questions
Interviewers will ask you several behavioral questions. Inquiring about your behavior in various work-related situations, they try to understand your attitude to work, what you expect from them and what they can expect from you, and how do you imagine a typical day in work. You can have a look at the questions below.
- How would you deal with an irate customer?
- What would you do if a client demanded a product that was not in our portfolio?
- 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?
- Describe a conflict you had with one of your colleagues in the past.
When answering these questions, you should try to recall situations that had a positive outcome (you eventually solved the conflict with the colleagues, you dealt with an angry customer, etc).
Third stage – technical questions – what do you know about banking products and about our bank?
You should do your homework. The bank will provide an excellent training (if they hire you), but it is still better to know something about finance and banking products when you interview for a job. Show them that you care, that you like what they do, and what they have to offer to the customers.
Research about their portfolio, learn something about their goals and values, simply prepare for an interview. They can use some of the following questions:
- 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 describe the difference between credit and debit card?
- If you could add a new product to our portfolio, what would it be?
Fourth and final stage – the role play
Role play is a typical “finale” of a personal banker interview. Interviewer will play a client of a bank, and you will play a banker. In most cases, your task will be to offer (sell) them something (a credit card, a notepad on the table, a loan, anything).
Try to show them that you know how to uncover the needs of the customers, how to understand what they search in a product, and how to offer it to them in a best possible way.
Only two or three applicants will typically flourish in a role play. And more often than not, one of them will sign a job contract with the bank.
You can prepare for this difficult interview
Twenty people competing for the job with you, tough interview questions, and a role play. It won’t be easy, but you can succeed. You will find on my website advice and answers to eight common interview questions.
And if you would like to see more, answers to twenty most common questions, and a step by step guide on how to flourish in a role play, you should check my eBook, the Personal Banker Interview Guide.
Thank you, and good luck!