Branch manager sounds cool, doesn’t it? The classy job title attracts a lot of people. More often than not, you will compete with a dozen other job seekers in your interview (or even with more). You should prepare for a long interview session, consisting mostly in screening and situational (behavioral) questions. Some technical questions and a personality test can sometimes catch you off-guard, but you won’t necessarily deal with them in your interview. Let’s have a look at the questions you may face.
Why branch manager?
The obvious reason is the salary, a great job where you can both learn a lot and do a lot, and perhaps also a prestige that comes with this position. However, you should relate to different things in your interview answer. Actually you have a few good options.
One is telling them a story—story of your education and experience, of your career plan, your life story in short, where branch manager is the next step, one you arrived to right now, at this moment of your professional career.
Second one consists in connecting your skills and abilities (and working experience if you have it) to the job, explaining the value you can bring to their bank as a new branch manager.
Last one is more about the field of work—a bank, or a retail store, saying that you always had passion for finance and banking, and always wanted to work in the field, and that’s why you opted for a job of a branch manager, and not for some other managerial position. One way or another, they should feel that you honestly want to work as a branch manager, that this isn’t just another interview for you, one of many.
How do you imagine a typical day in work?
The key is to show proactive approach to work. Of course, all of us know managers who never leave their comfy offices, waiting for a call, or for a big problem to erupt on the workplace. You have to present a completely different attitude if you want to succeed in this interview.
Say that you plan to spend most of your day on the sales floor, observing the situation in the branch, giving advice to employees, helping them, or even serving customers.
Just some part of your day (and typically a smaller one) should be devoted to administrative work, to planning and reporting, etc.
Another alternative is saying that there’s isn’t anything like a typical day in this job. True, some days you may lead interviews, other days focus on orientation, sales training, and if two of your tellers get sick simultaneously, you may take the chair of one of them in the peak time, serving customers as a teller.
Days are completely different at the end of the month or quarter, and you may spend a lot of time analyzing data, reporting, planing and forecasting during these days. One way of another, they should feel that you like to take initiative, and don’t wait for someone to always tell you what to do.
What do you want to accomplish while managing this brand?
You shouldn’t speak primarily about your personal accomplishments (though achieving something great for your employer will typically translate into nice perks for yourself, such as promotion, or a hefty bonus at the end of each year). Try to speak about things you want to achieve for the business.
You can achieve a lot of things as a branch manager. Increasing sales revenues and profits (that’s no. 1 and all interviewers love to hear that), improving the level of customer satisfaction, or employee loyalty, bringing out the best of each staff member on an ongoing basis, improving the reputation of the brand (or at least a branch) in the eyes of the public, etc.
One way or another, the interviewers should feel that you do not go to work only to earn money, but actually try to accomplish something with your everyday activity.
How do you go about hiring new staff? What criteria do you set for your new employees?
Depending on your place of work, you may be responsible for the entire recruitment process, or for leading the interviews (or just participating in the panel).
And while you will typically get an interview template from the bank central (with the questions you should ask), you will be given some freedom when choosing the best employees for your team.
First of all, do not panic when you hear the question. Leading an interview is much easier than succeeding in one :). You can say that you will always consider the existing team, and whether the new person will fit in, as well as their attitude to work, motivation, and skills. Behavioral and situational questions will help you a lot. If you hired employees before (in one of your previous jobs), you can narrate the experience.
Another important thing to remember (and mention) is that you are also selling something in an interview—the job opportunity, the reputation of the company, your qualities as a manager and a leader of the branch.
Say that you will always try to lead the interviews in a professional and friendly manner, to ensure that the best candidates will be interested in the job also after the interviews.
Other personal, behavioral and technical questions you may face in your branch manager interview
- What do you consider your greatest weakness as a manager?
- Why should we hire you, and not one of the other applicants?
- How would you establish a good rapport with new and existing clients in the area?
- How would ensure to comply with all regulations and applicable laws?
- Describe a situation when you struggled to communicate something to one of your sub-ordinates. What did you do to get your message over?
- What information would you use to forecast sales revenues of the new branch?
- Imagine that we gave you a key from our new banking branch. You were the first and only employee of the branch. What steps would you take to ensure that the branch did run as soon as possible? How would you progress?
- How would you motivate your subordinates in the branch, without offering them a raise, or any other form of financial compensation?
- What do you consider the main challenges you will face when leading the branch of our bank? Describe how you’ll address such a challenge.
Personality and IQ tests, conclusion, answers to all 25 questions
In some cases you may deal with a personality test, and sometimes also with an IQ test in this interview. However, there isn’t really a way to prepare for the tests in advance. Focus on things you can prepare for, things you can control–your interview answers.
Success in an interview (or a failure) is not a question of luck. The better you prepare for your interview, the greater your chances to succeed will be. If you are not sure how to answer the questions, or experience anxiety before your interview, you can have a look at an eBook I wrote, the Branch Manager Interview Guide (published in 2020).
Multiple great answers to 25 most common branch manager interview questions will help you streamline your interview preparation, and eventually outclass your competitors in an interview and get this great job. You will find some sample answers directly on the product page, so it makes sense to check it out even if you do not plan to purchase anything. Thank you, and good luck!
Matthew Chulaw, your personal interview coach
* You can also download the list of questions in a one page long .PDF, print it, and practice your interview answers anytime later, even when offline:
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