How you perform in job interviews is arguably the most important factor in determining whether or not you secure the job you want. This is particularly true for junior banking professionals, whose limited job-specific experience can mean interview performance is the key differentiator between candidates competing for the same role.
In our experience at Robert Walters, there are five key mistakes commonly made by junior banking professionals in job interviews that instantly disadvantage them. If you can avoid these mistakes, you’ll be well on your way to interview success.
1. Not adequately researching the organisation they are interviewing with
While it seems like a basic step to undertake when looking for jobs, we still see a number of candidates who don’t properly do their due diligence on the company they’re applying to work for. It is vitally important for candidates to be able to talk confidently and intelligently about what their potential employer does. You should be able to recite specific facts about the organisation, including:
· their history, financial position, mission and products/services
· the market in which they operate
· their main competitors.
2. Giving generic explanations on why they like the role/company they are applying for
When asked why they like the role/company they are applying for, many junior banking candidates give very generic and unconvincing answers. This means they come across as though they are looking for any role in banking as opposed to that particular job, which is a turn-off to employers. To avoid this, you need to be enthusiastic and talk specifically about what aspects of the role/organisation appeal to you, such as the organisation’s reputation or the key responsibilities of the role.
3. Not knowing their CV in detail
Junior candidates can be guilty of not knowing their CV in detail and being ill-equipped to answer questions on the information they have supplied. Don’t assume that just because the information is in your CV, interviewers won’t ask questions about your background, including your responsibilities in previous roles and educational results. Instead, you should review your CV before your interview and practice how you will respond to any potential questions on the details you’ve provided. Don’t forget to describe how your accomplishments relate to the role you are applying for.
4. Speaking negatively about previous employers or roles
We’ve seen many junior candidates ruin their job prospects by making derogatory remarks about their current or previous employers and experiences. This is absolutely inexcusable. You should never talk negatively about a previous (or current) company, manager or role. Try to find the positive aspects of your employment history and focus on these instead. Some candidates going for contract roles can also be too honest regarding their situation and why they are considering a contract. Whatever your reasons for looking for a new job, you should present them in as positive a light as possible. Your recruitment consultant can help you practice how to respond to these questions.
5. Being too familiar with the interviewer
This is a behaviour commonly displayed by junior banking candidates. We see that many fall into the trap of being too familiar with their interviewer/s, which is inappropriate in a job interview. While it’s important for you to be charismatic and demonstrate your interpersonal skills, you must always conduct yourself with professionalism, even if you feel you have a good rapport with the interviewer.
The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by Asian Banking & Finance. The author was not remunerated for this article.
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Andrew Hanson is the Director – Banking & Financial Services Recruitment at Robert Walters Australia.