If you're a graduate looking to get into banking and need to get a feel for the kind of questions employers might ask at interview, then make sure you research these graduate banking interview questions below. These questions and answers are taken from real graduate interviews, and compiled to give you an idea of what to expect and how to prepare your answers.
Example Banking Interview Questions:
What is the sum of numbers from 1 to 100?
The trick here is that you have 50 pairs which each sum to 101 (e.g. 1+100, 2+99, 3+98, etc.). So, 50 times 101 = 5050.
You are given a 3-gallon jug and a 5-gallon jug. How do you use them to get 4 gallons of liquid?
Fill the 5-gallon jug completely. Pour the contents of the 5-gallon jug into the 3-gallon jug, leaving 2 gallons of liquid in the 5-gallon jug. Next, dump out the contents of the 3-gallon jug and pour the contents of the 5-gallon jug into the 3-gallon jug. At this point, there are 2 gallons in the 3-gallon jug. Fill up the 5-gallon jug and then pour the contents of the 5-gallon jug into the 3-gallon jug until the 3-gallon jug is full. You will have poured 1 gallon, leaving 4 gallons in the 5-gallon jug.
What is the angle between the hour-hand and minute-hand of a clock at 3:15?
At quarter past the hour, the minute-hand is exactly at 3:00 but the hour-hand has moved 1/4 of the way between 3:00 and 4:00. Therefore 1/4 times 1/12 = 1/48 of the clock. With the clock having 360 degrees, 360/48 = 7.5 degrees.
Your CV demonstrates a variety of skills so why banking?
Banking is a very competitive industry, and more graduates apply than there are jobs. Therefore, you must have clear motivations, not only for the Banking industry, but also for the business area/role you are applying to. You should agree that you do have a variety of skills and experiences, as this is beneficial, but then demonstrate the key skills for the role that you are applying to. For example, for a front office sales role you should highlight any customer/client facing experiences or sales experience you have. For a research role, you should highlight any analytical or problem solving experience you have developed.
What attracts you to a career in banking?
Banking is a fast-paced, constantly evolving industry that drives most major economies around the world. You need to demonstrate an understanding and awareness of the important role Banking plays in the wider economy. It helps here if you can refer to a recent news story or economic development that you have read or researched recently.
What kind of lifestyle do you expect to have in banking?
Explain that you expect the work to be hard, potentially accompanied by long hours. It is also likely that you will receive a high salary and other non-financial rewards, so the hard-work will be worthwhile. You need to demonstrate the eagerness to be involved in this industry, and the dedication to work hard for long hours. Many banks are also aware of how some members of the wider population perceive them, especially since the financial crisis. You may be asked questions relating to this as well.
Tell me about a recent development at this bank?
For this question, you need to have researched the bank that you are applying to. There are plenty of online resources that might outline a recent deal/transaction, or an operational change the bank has recently completed. You should be able to speak about, and demonstrate your understanding of this recent activity. Your examples should be as close to the business area that you are applying to as possible.
What would you be doing if you weren't in banking?
This question might be used by interviewers for two reasons. The first is to see if you are truly committed to a career in Banking, and your answer should demonstrate that you are fully committed, and with tangible reasons why. The second reason is to ensure you are pursuing a career in banking for the right reasons, and that you are suitable. Mention that, if you couldn’t work in Banking, you would choose a similar role that requires similar skills and experience.
Who's our major competitor? How do we measure up?
Know the bank that you are applying to and look at their competition. Make it explicit that you are aware of recent developments in each. You should also research the core values of the bank you are applying to, and align these to your own personal goals, explaining that this is the reason for your application.
What are the risks and opportunities we face in the banking sector?
This answer should be tailored to the area of Banking you are applying to. Quite often, a risk can lead to an opportunity and vice-versa. This is a good opportunity for you to demonstrate your market knowledge, and the more recent developments you can discuss, the better.
If you could choose one stock what would you choose, and why?
This question is geared towards your market/commercial awareness. Do not choose Apple, however tempting it is. Although the question states to choose one, it is always worthwhile having some more options. Think of a stock that might be high risk with high reward; one that is more conservative; one from an emerging market, and then have one that you choose for your own reasons. This will cover all the angles that the question could take.
What do you think caused the financial crisis?
This question would be asked to probe the depth of your knowledge. However, you would also need to be careful not to overly badmouth the industry, as ultimately you are interviewing to work in it. Any graduate that has motivations to work within Banking should be aware of the major causes of the crisis: banks lending too much money, being overrun with bad debt and being over confident. But these are just the key points, and your answer should be able to demonstrate more depth.