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Top 30 financial analyst interview questions to evaluate applicants’ skills

Top 30 financial analyst interview questions to evaluate applicants’ skills featured image

Financial analysts play a key role in maintaining an organization’s financial health. For this, they dissect complex financial data, extract insights, and craft strategies that help steer the enterprise toward growth and stability.

Therefore, hiring the right financial analyst is not just about filling a position – it's about finding a strategic partner who can shape the financial future of your organization.

Relying solely on resume screening and unstructured interviews can introduce unconscious bias in the hiring process. That’s why we recommend using skills tests in combination with the right financial analyst interview questions.

This approach enables you to assess candidates objectively and find the most suitable one for your organization, without bias creeping into your hiring process. 

In this article, we’ve prepared a list of 30 interview questions for financial analysts that will help you gain a deeper understanding of your candidates’ skills.

How to evaluate financial analyst skills

As financial markets become more global and interconnected, the need for skilled analysts who can interpret market conditions and assess investment opportunities is growing – and is projected to grow 8% until 2032, faster than average for all other roles.

Financial analysts are responsible for creating intricate financial models, assessing risk, conducting investment research, and producing forecasting reports. Each facet demands a unique blend of technical expertise, sharp analytical skills, and a keen understanding of market dynamics.

This requires a rigorous and objective approach to skills evaluation during hiring. By combining standardized skills tests and insightful interviews, you can assess candidates and hire the best one for your business.

Some of the tests you can evaluate candidates on are:

Once you identify your best applicants with the help of skills tests, you can invite them to an interview for a deeper look into their skills and expertise. 

Top 20 financial analyst interview questions and answers

Below, you’ll find our selection of the best 20 financial analyst interview questions you can ask, along with our guidelines on how to assess applicants’ answers.

1. What motivated you to choose a career in finance?

Look for candidates who’re able to articulate a genuine interest for finance. 

They might discuss their passion for the dynamics of financial markets or the opportunity to solve complex financial problems. Some might also explain that they're driven by the impact financial analysis has on business decisions. 

The best candidates will link their personal interests or experiences to the broader context of your industry, demonstrating a long-term commitment to their career choice.

2. How do you ensure the accuracy of your financial reports?

Candidates should demonstrate a strong attention to detail and commitment to quality. Look for mentions of:

  • Peer reviews

  • Cross-functional collaboration to validate data

  • Regular updates of financial reporting procedures

Interviewees might also talk about the importance of maintaining a clear audit trail and ensuring data integrity through every step of the financial reporting process.

For the best results, you might also want to include an Attention to Detail test in your pre-employment skills assessment.

3. How do you handle conflicting data when analyzing financial reports?

Top candidates will use a methodical approach to reconciling conflicting data. They might talk about verifying its sources, checking for input errors, or consulting with other departments for additional information. 

Whatever their specific process is, they should emphasize the importance of not jumping to conclusions too early and instead taking a step-by-step approach to identifying the root cause of the discrepancy.

4. Describe a time when you identified a significant financial risk in a previous role. How did you handle the situation?

Candidates should demonstrate a proactive and strategic approach to risk management. Look for stories that show they not only identified the risk but also evaluated its potential impact, communicated it effectively to stakeholders, and helped develop a mitigation strategy. 

The most skilled candidates will reflect on what they learned from the experience and how it influenced their approach to future projects.

5. Which key performance indicators (KPIs) do you think are essential for tracking the financial health and performance of a company?

Expect candidates to list essential KPIs like: 

  • Revenue growth

  • Profit margins

  • Cash flow 

Additionally, they should be able to explain why these are important, how they adapt their selection to the specific industry or company goals, and how these metrics help inform their decisions.

6. Walk us through your process of building a financial model.

Candidates should outline a logical and well-structured approach to financial modeling. Their process might include the following steps:

  • Define the purpose of the model

  • Gather and validate input data

  • Choose appropriate modeling techniques

  • Create the model and test its accuracy

The best candidates will also explain how they ensure that the model can be adapted to different scenarios and how they document their assumptions and methodologies for transparency.

7. Tell us about a complex financial model you’ve created. What was its purpose and what were the results?

Expect candidates to discuss a model that had a significant impact on business decisions in one of their past roles. They should describe the objective of the model, the challenges they encountered, and how they overcame them. 

More experienced applicants may also reflect on the accuracy of their model's predictions and how the insights generated from it enabled them and their team to make strategic decisions.

8. In your opinion, what is the most challenging aspect of financial forecasting?

Look for interviewees who recognize the complexities of predicting future financial outcomes. They might discuss the difficulty in accounting for unforeseen market trends, economic shifts, or regulatory changes. 

The best ones will demonstrate how they mitigate these challenges through detailed market analyses and continuous model adjustments. They should understand the importance of adapting their forecasting methods to new information.

9. How would you assess the financial viability of a new product or service that the company is planning to launch?

Candidates should describe a structured approach featuring the following elements, among others: 

  • Market and competitor analysis

  • Pricing evaluation

  • Revenue projections

  • Risk assessment

  • A SWOT analysis (of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats)

Skilled financial analysts will also mention how they factor in the cost of capital and how they align the assessment with the company's strategic objectives and risk tolerance.

10. Describe a time when you had to present complex financial information to someone who had no financial background. How did you approach it?

Look for professionals who are able to demonstrate their ability to communicate complex concepts in simple terms. They might discuss how they use analogies, visual aids, or step-by-step explanations to make the information more accessible. 

It’s an excellent sign if they reflect on the importance of understanding the audience's perspective and tailoring the way they present information to their specific needs and concerns.

11. Describe a situation where you had to make a quick financial decision with limited information. What did you do and what was the outcome?

Strong applicants should demonstrate their ability to balance decisiveness with caution thanks to their critical thinking skills. They might discuss how they quickly identified the most critical pieces of information needed, made assumptions based on their expertise, reflected on the potential risks, and communicated transparently with everyone involved.

Post-decision analysis is equally important. Are candidates able to explain what they learned from the outcome and refine their decision-making process for the future?

12. What financial software applications are you most proficient in? How have you used them in your work in the past?

Here, candidates should talk about their experience with specific software applications, such as:

  • Excel

  • QuickBooks

  • SAP

  • Tableau

  • Finmark

  • Oracle BI

Look for candidates who can articulate the benefits of each application they used in the context of specific projects or tasks. 

They might discuss how they used a particular software for trend analysis, budgeting, forecasting, or financial reporting, and the impact it had on the efficiency and accuracy of their work. 

Skilled candidates will also talk about how they have customized or integrated different software solutions to improve financial workflows or data visualization.

13. What are some advanced Excel functions you use for financial analysis? How do they enhance your work?

Experienced candidates will mention functions like: 

  • PivotTables



  • array formulas

They might explain how these functions allow for more efficient data analysis, such as consolidating large datasets, performing complex calculations, or creating dynamic financial models. 

Look for applicants who are able to explain how these functions help them save time, reduce errors, and provide deeper insights into financial data. 

It's important, therefore, to test the Excel knowledge of financial analysts. To gain a more in-depth understanding of their skills, you can use our Financial Modeling in Excel or Data Analytics in Excel tests.

14. Describe a time when you had to learn a new technology or method quickly. How did you tackle this challenge?

Ideal candidates will describe a systematic learning process they’ve used in the past, involving setting clear goals, breaking down the task into smaller components, and actively seeking resources like tutorials, online forums, or advice from others, possibly in the context of a larger learning and development initiative. 

They might also discuss the importance of hands-on practice or trial and error to consolidate their knowledge.

15. How proficient are you in SQL or other database tools?

Look for candidates who can demonstrate a strong technical proficiency in SQL or other database tools with detailed examples. 

Skilled candidates should describe the databases they've managed and also discuss their approach to maintaining data integrity, optimizing performance, and ensuring the security of the databases. 

If you’d like to assess their ability to use the features of SQL in more detail, you can use our SQL basic interview questions or SQL queries interview questions.

16. What's your experience with using AI and ML for financial analysis?

AI and ML have been used in finance for years – but do your candidates have the necessary experience? 

Look for answers that outline specific projects or tasks they've worked on. 

Skilled applicants will discuss the results of adding AI to their financial analysis processes. For example, they might talk about the improved accuracy of their forecasts or risk assessments and explain how these results impacted business decisions. The best ones will demonstrate a practical and results-focused mindset. 

17. Can you give an example of a routine financial analysis task you've automated in the past?

If you’re looking for candidates with demonstrable experience in AI, this question will enable you to gain deeper insight into their skills. 

Look for the ones who are able to provide a detailed description of the task they automated, the tools or programming languages they used (such as Python, R, or specific automation software), and the steps they took to implement the automation. 

You can also use our Data Analysis Using R or Python Data Structures and Objects tests to evaluate applicants’ skills.  

18. Have you ever been pressured to manipulate financial data? What did you do?

This question aims to probe the candidate's ethical standards and their ability to withstand pressure and maintain their professional integrity. 

Candidates should have a clear understanding of the serious implications of data manipulation and discuss in detail how they handled the pressure, whether it involved clearly communicating the importance of factual and ethical reporting, seeking advice or support from mentors, or escalating the issue to higher management.

Our Business Ethics and Compliance test is ideal for mid- and high-level management positions where moral integrity is key.

19. Have you ever faced a conflict of interest in the past? How did you approach the situation?

This question aims to broaden the discussion about ethical standards in the field of finance. 

Look for applicants who have a thorough understanding of what a conflict of interest is and how they can impact the integrity of the entire organization. 

More experienced candidates will be able to describe a specific instance where they faced an ethical dilemma, detailing how they identified it, the steps they took to disclose it to relevant stakeholders, and how they removed themselves from the situation to ensure an unbiased outcome. 

Candidates who have a deep commitment to maintaining high ethical standards in their work will reflect on the importance of a proactive approach to managing potential conflicts, seeking timely advice from others, and getting additional training.

A Business Ethics and Compliance test might be an excellent addition to your hiring process.

20. What would you do if you discover a discrepancy that significantly impacts the organization's financial statements?

Look for applicants who know how to address inconsistencies in financial data and, ideally, have done so in the past. 

They might explain how they’d start with a thorough verification to understand the nature and scope of the discrepancy, verify the sources of the data and their reliability, and then get in touch with their manager to discuss their findings.

Candidates should also discuss how they would engage in a comprehensive review of related processes to identify any weak points that allowed the anomaly to occur. 

More financial analyst interview questions you can ask

Here are some additional questions you can ask financial analysts to evaluate their skills and competencies during the interview process:

  1. Can you explain the primary components of a balance sheet?

  2. How do you assess financial risks in a project?

  3. How do you approach creating a financial forecast for a new project?

  4. Can you explain the concept of net present value (NPV) and its importance in investment decisions?

  5. What information is crucial to include in a monthly financial report to management?

  6. How do you approach a situation where the financial results are very different from your initial projections?

  7. Imagine a situation where you have limited data available but need to finalize and submit a report quickly. How would you proceed?

  8. How do you ensure data integrity when collecting and analyzing financial information?

  9. What is the difference between horizontal and vertical financial statement analysis?

  10. Given two investment opportunities, how would you determine which one to recommend to stakeholders?

Reinvent your financial analyst hiring process with skills tests and the right interview questions

Hiring the right financial analyst is an investment in the future of your organization.

By combining skills tests and interviews, you get a 360-degree view of a candidate's true  potential and are able to hire someone who is not just technically competent but also a strategic thinker, a clear communicator, and overall a perfect fit for your team.

Hire the best financial analysts with the help of TestGorilla. Sign up for a free demo to see how our platform works – or try out our free plan to start assessing applicants’ skills, bias-free.


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