Interview Preparation For Financial Advisers and IFA’s – Part 2

In the last ‘interview preparation techniques’ article we touched on what would be expected of you at interview in terms of researching the organization and a little on the preparation that should go into getting you ready beforehand. Now the financial services industry itself, as we stated last time is a definitive type of role where a number of skills have to be at high level in order for you to be successful in both the interview and the role itself.

After touching on the preparation needed before an interview for an IFA or financial advisory role in the last article, we now should begin to look at how to conduct yourself at the actual interview itself. Too many potential candidates who should walk through an interview for a financial advisory or IFA role with their eyes closed, struggle to impress and show the employer a true picture of themselves because they have been ill prepared or haven’t conducted themselves correctly at interview. Some do think that it’s OK to just turn up at a financial services interview looking like a bank manager, dressed smartly and it will all be OK. Its a very much more focused process than this and the companies involved will put the prospective employer through a process of difficult and in some cases, very trying questions. As a recruiter working in the financial services industry I have only come across a very small percentage of people who have no fear of the interview process itself and this is partly because they have little knowledge of how to conduct a strong interview.

The key factors to demonstrate at an interview for a financial advisory role are that: Firstly you can do the job and you have experience of a similar environment. Obviously, a hugely important factor in any potential employers decision. Secondly a financial advisory role, although it is, as stated, an advisory position – the focus is very much on the sale of financial products, so the employer has to be convinced that the prospective employee sat opposite him or her can sell. That takes confidence, so its vitally important that however much you find the situation uncomfortable, you don’t show it! Another important aspect to this part of the process is that the applicant does need to show themselves to be conversationally confident. Its important that the candidate can hold a conversation – a skill required in a financial advisory or regulated sales role such as an IFA that is used in establishing soft facts, building a rapport and probing effectively to determine the clients needs. The potential employer will also look for signs of effective diary and time management skills, examples of pro activity in terms of the generation of new business and finally ambition. No employer wants to take on someone who is happy to coast along in the same role for 10 years!

As a recruiter working in the financial services industry I speak to many employers who all say that, although an interview or assessment is a slightly contrived situation and can obviously be more stressful in some cases than the job itself, a good financial adviser or IFA will always come across in interview as they will in front of clients. The most important factor in any financial services sales role is always the clients – without them there would be no business written so its important for the potential employee to come across as strongly and as confidently as they can in interview because that gives the employer an insight into how they will perform in the real job. I have even heard one representative of an IFA organization say that, whenever they have taken someone on, despite performing poorly in a contrived client fact find assessment, because they were the right fit in other area’s, it has never worked out – that’s NEVER! It just gives you an insight into how important it is to conduct yourself strongly in the right area’s and forget what really isn’t important.

By Suzana