Interview Tips for Finance Directors Candidates

Top Tips for Finance Directors Candidates

Being interviewed for the position of Finance Director can be a nerve-wracking prospect. We share our here our top tips for FD Candidate interviews.  While you face the same issues as any job interview, you’re likely to be asked in-depth questions that will challenge your knowledge and skills within the industry. If you’ve landed on this page, you’re probably prepping before an interview with a potential employer. We’re giving you our ten tips on how to smash your FD interview and impress the company’s CEO.

  1. Do your research

candidatesWhere candidates often fall short is that they don’t do their research. You want to make sure you know as much about the company – and their position within the industry – as possible. Doing your research will help you answer those tricky questions and show your interviewer that you have the initiative to prepare yourself before a meeting or interview.

You want to look at who their direct competitors are and what advantages the company has within the industry, whether it’s their USP or demographic. If you’ve worked within their industry before, you’ll naturally have an advantage over other candidates. Even if you think you’re familiar with the company, it’s a good idea to do your due diligence and not skip on your research.

  1. Know your USP

Just like a company, you have a unique selling point that sets you apart from your competition. You want to go into your interview with three to five selling points that you want to get across to the interviewer. Your goal should be to make these the focal point of your answer and avoid burying them within long-winded stories or explanations. Keep your answers clear, concise, and to the point.   Tie your USP into what you can do for their company and how it would enable you to be a stronger performing FD than other candidates.

  1. Be your own critic

Sometimes, you need to prepare yourself and consider what concerns your interviewer might have. Thinking about this ahead of time can prevent you from being caught out by your interviewer in a ‘gotcha’ moment. Is there a gap in your CV? Did you unexpectedly leave another position? Consider anything that might be a potential red flag or reason for the interviewer to not select you.

  1. Prep with common questions

Regardless of what job you’re interviewing for, some common interview questions are almost universal. Search online and see what common questions you can find for someone of your age and within the specific industry that you’re applying for. Prepping for these questions can make you feel more comfortable during the actual interview process.

  1. Have a question for the interview

You’ve finished answering your questions, and then the interviewer turns to you, “do you have any questions for me?”. It’s the one thing that you can guarantee will happen with every single interview.  While you might feel like you don’t need to ask a question or that you know everything already, you should still ask one. If you don’t have a question prepared, the interviewer might think that you aren’t interested in the position.  Take the time to think of a thoughtful question before you head into your interview. You might also spot something during your interview that you want to circle back to at the end.

  1. Be prepared to give behaviour examples

A common interview question that people are now getting revolve around being asked to give an example of a time they’ve performed a specific task or behaviour. It might be dealing with a difficult investor or handling a crisis independently.  Take the time to sit down and consider the behaviours and personal skills that an FD should have. This step should help you identify potential behaviour-based questions and allow you to mentally prepare a few versatile examples that you can use to answers a range of these questions.

  1. Practice is everything

No matter how confident a candidate you are, you should always practice. While you don’t want to be reading off a script, practising can help you think of smoother answers and be more articulate in your responses.   You can recreate an interview set-up by asking a friend to take on the role of interviewer with you as the candidate. Provide them with questions to help them get started, along with a copy of the job description to help them create independent questions to ask.

If you don’t have a friend available to help you, then you can interview yourself. Set up your laptop and record yourself answering common questions. You can playback the recording and identify any issues with your answers. You might spot that you say “uhm” too much or are speaking too fast.

  1. Candidate first impressions are everything

You want to make sure you start your interview on the right foot by making a memorable first impression. Most interviewers will make their decision about whether or not you’re a potential contender or even the leading candidate for the position within the first five minutes of your interview.  You want to make sure you start on a positive note and are enthusiastic about the position. Part of your first impression is about turning up on time (or early!) for your interview and dressing appropriately.

  1. Be assertive and positive

While an interview leads the process, you want as the candidate to make sure you’re getting your key points across. Don’t be afraid to circle back on points that you didn’t get to fully expand on before to get your point across.  You also want to make sure you stay positive throughout your interview. If you’re asked about why you left another position, don’t be negative about it. Find a positive for every answer and keep the conversation light-hearted.

  1. Tell the interview about yourself

Once your interview gets started, you can almost guarantee that the first question will be, “tell me about yourself”. You want to use this to your advantage and get your USPs across early, while still showing your personality. This question is also an opportunity for you to be a proactive candidate and give examples to back up your answer.

How FD Capital Recruitment can help

If you are looking for a new role, make sure to reach out to our candidate recruitment team today, call us on 020 3287 9501 and we’ll keep you in mind for FD opportunities.  Check our Job board for our latest finance director jobs