Whether it is due to resignations, termination, retirement, vacations, leaves of absence, or simply because your organization is growing, you might, as a manager face, the challenge to interview and eventually recruit young professionals in finance for your company. In this post, we give you some recommendations to do the perfect selection.

First of all, you should know that a specialist should conduct any approach to the labour market: The Human Resources Area or, in lack of that, a consultant specialized in recruiting. Usually the process begins with a detailed job description of the position to fulfil, followed by de preparation of an employee request where the main requisites for the position and its justification are described. Then begins the scouting of prospect candidates weather trough job application sites, references from other employees within the organization or the always providing pool of universities and business schools. My first advice to select professionals in finance is that you channel these initial steps of the process with the HR experts. They will be able to manage these requirements while ensuring the process complies with the company policies while the candidates fit with the organizational culture. Furthermore, they will run a background check confirming past experience and education. As a result, you will be usually receiving three Curricula Vitae from prospective professionals who might fill your needs.

Here is when your interviews begin.  

The challenge to interview young professionals in finance

1) Key questions

Technical Skills: I have always given a high regard to technical knowledge, especially for entry-level positions. The most productive way to assess these skills for professionals in finance is by introducing a business case. You can describe for example a situation where the company has to face a cash requirement, and ask the candidate to assess different financing alternatives, the way to record these transactions in the accounting books and the impact the transaction will have from a tax perspective. Of course, the right answer in these cases should be one and only, you should be able to qualify the individual with this case from a pure technical perspective.

Educational Background: Ask the candidates about their impressions during their time at the University. Refer to best and worst scores, Grade Point Average, favourite assignments and the ones they disliked and, very important, why did they chose the profession they have. Usually professionals in finance have a economic, finance or administration background, but do not narrow your look towards these careers. There are very productive finance professionals holding legal or engineering degrees (not to mention the medical degree held by the renowned Dr. Michael Burry). Of course, usually the outsiders of the finance world should have previously earned certain financial qualifications and experience in the area to enable them to enter this market. You should be able to recognize their abilities and weigh pros, cons versus, and insider. Additionally, this is an opportunity to assess other abilities such as language and computer skills. Is the candidate ready to answer questions in a foreign language?

Aspirations: Prepare to make candidates think about the future. Where do they see themselves in two, five or even ten years? How are they going to pave their ways towards that view? Do pursue broad managerial positions or they rather want to become experts in their fields? Are they willing to work as a consultant, as team-member or they rather manage a team of people?  In this case, there are no right or wrong answers; it all depends on the profile and perspective of the position, the opportunities the company might provide in the future, the fit within your team and the balance in the portfolio of skills you have to manage.

Career Path: Here it is important to dig around the facts and reasons why the candidate made certain decisions such as working for any particular Company or leaving their job. Additionally, you should ask why would they change jobs now, and what attracts them most of the new employment opportunity you are offering. Finding out motivations is key to understand if the candidate is oriented to salary, stability, career, gaining experience or other driver. These answers should be consistent with past experience, age, family situation and of course will reveal certain facts to understand if the prospect employee fits with the cultural environment of your organization.

Non-verbal language: This is perhaps one of the most difficult aspects to assess, and may be it is one of the reasons why you should never interview a candidate on your own. A second view is highly appreciated in all the senses, but particularly when you need to understand body language. The way people sits, the peace at what they talk, the way people presents themselves and of course some impressions such as: are they nervous? Is the candidate fluent when speaking or hesitates when giving answers? Do they look in the eyes when speaking? Where do they position their hands? Simple gestures, tone of voice and facial expressions might have an immediate impact in the interview, as well as might provide lots of useful information about the person you are interviewing.

2) Risks

Once all the usual filters and background checks were conducted and the final candidate has been chosen, you cannot rest assure that the person will be a perfect fit. First, there is usually a time gap between the job offer and the first day at work. During that time, the person might rethink his or her decision, preferring to stay at their current job rather than changing. Even worst, the candidate might still want to keep looking for another job. Once the person has joined the company, a thorough immersion program is required, and follow-up (with the support of an HHRR expert) is highly recommended. This will help making a soft landing while creating the conditions for the candidate to fit culturally in the organization.

3) Final considerations

The following list should help you go through the interview process and successfully choose the best professionals in finance for the position:

  1. Seek expert advice: your HHRR Business Partner should be involved in the process.
  2. Assess Technical Skills with a practical business case.
  3. Consider all of the candidate educational background and related professional experience.
  4. Look for relevant milestones in the career path.
  5. Be ready to read non-verbal language.
  6. Weigh the risks and chances to get the candidate on board.

If you want to know more about other questions related to the employment area, go to our blog in the section Jobs and Careers“. You can also read other posts from Facundo Francisconi in our blog