Most financial institutions will provide excellent training to each new hire–including the credit analyst. And though you still need at least some skills in accounting, math, and financial analyses, plus a bachelor degree in finance, accounting, or similar field to apply for this job, the core of the interviews will consist in personal and behavioral questions.
Your answers help the interviewers understand your motivation, your communication skills, sense for detail, responsibility, and attitude to work–all important for this position. Let’s have a look at some questions you will get in this interview, including simple technical questions.
Why do you want to work as a credit analyst?
Hand on heart, credit analyst isn’t the most interesting job in the world. Hiring managers are aware of the fact. If you are one of the guys who dream of making a huge impact in their career, or, as Steve Jobs put it, you want to “put a dent in the Universe”, you will be disappointed with this career.
Therefore it makes no sense to go for big dreams in your answer. On the contrary, you should refer to the most simple (yet still important) things, such as saying that you will enjoy doing what credit analyst normally do, that you prefer to work in a banking environment, or basically that you like the nature of the job, and excel in credit analysis.
Why our bank (financial institution)? Why not one of our competitors?
You should focus on personal preferences, or their vision and working culture, their product portfolio, the benefits they offer to new hires, or on anything else that caught your eye.
You should simply focus on something that distinguishes them from their competitors, something the hiring managers are proud of.
But interviewers are not stupid. They understand that almost every job seeker would be happy to get a credit analyst job in any bank which pays a decent salary.
However, you should do your best to convince them that their financial institution is your first choice. They should feel that you did your homework, and know something about them…
How do you ensure you make no mistakes in work?
Mistakes prove costly in this job. And while underwriting software helps us to minimize the mistakes—the algorithm will help us to tell whether we should accept or reject a loan application, there is still human factor involved, and not everything can be interpreted correctly in the software (if it was so, job of a credit analyst would not exist)…
Ensure the interviewers that you are aware of your responsibility. You can say that you will double check everything on the financial statements. You can also emphasize that when something looks strange or unrealistic, you’ll verify the data with another source, and consult your results with your colleagues.
One way or another, they should feel that you want to minimize the number of mistakes, or even eliminate them.
Special Tip: To know how to answer the question, and to come up with a great answer on a big day, are two different things. If you are not sure how you’d answer the questions in front of an interviewing panel, have a look at an eBook I wrote for you, the Credit Analyst Interview Guide Multiple excellent answers to 25 most common Credit Analyst interview questions will help you calm down, streamline your interview preparation, and have an answer ready for everything that may happen in your interview. Thank you for checking it out!
Describe a time when you felt pressure in work (in school). How did you handle that?
Interviewers want to hear how you reacted to the pressure, if you managed to prioritize your tasks, and how did the pressure affected you in your job (perhaps even health-wise).
Credit analyst does not belong to stressful jobs, but you may have certain goals—for example a number of analyses to carry out each month. It can be stressful if you fall behind the schedule.
Try to show the interviewers, on a situation from the past, that you are used to experiencing pressure and do not panic, that you know how to prioritize your work.
If it is your first job application, tell them what you would do in a stressful situation.
Describe a time when you had to deal with an angry or upset client or colleague.
Overwhelmed with personal problems, people are sometimes angry, sad, or even aggressive when talking to us, whether in work or outside of it.
Interviewers try to understand if you count with such behavior, if you can get over it quickly.
Tell them that you try to stay calm and relaxed, that you keep your focus, and that any inappropriate behavior won’t distract you in your work (or at least you hope it won’t). Try to show some empathy for the people, and some understanding for a golden rule in business—that the customer is always right—at least they should feel that way when leaving the bank :).
How do we calculate interest coverage ratio?
This is a simple technical question. Anytime you encounter such a question in your interview, give them the answer without additional questions. If you have a piece of paper in front of you, you can even write down the formula.
Anyway, it’s good to polish your knowledge of basic financial and economic indicators before the start of your interview.
In this case, the right answer would be:
The interest coverage ratio is used to determine how easily a company can pay their interest expenses on outstanding debt. The ratio is calculated by dividing a company’s earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) by the company’s interest expenses for the same period (fiscal year).
Imagine there is a prospective client, a big name in the business, asking for a long term loan. Your analysis shows that they might struggle with repaying the credit. What would you do in this case?
The rules for small and big players differ. If you consider a loan application of a small local bakery, or a random family from the neighborhood, you’ll simply stick to the general rules—if they do not meet the criteria, their application will be rejected.
But big clients can bring a lot of business to the bank. You can gain valuable referrals from them, and sometimes the bare fact that you cooperate with a big name adds a layer of prestige and recognition to your brand.
All of it considered, big players typically ask for big loans, and if they can’t repay, you have a big problem on the table. That’s why the situation is tricky, and you need to address all of these things in your answer.
Show the interviewers that you understand the complexity of the situation, and will do the right thing for your employer.
Other questions you may get in your credit analyst interview
- What do you want to accomplish as a credit analyst?
- What do you consider your greatest weakness when we speak about this job?
- How do you imagine a typical day in work?
- You will spend a lot of time working alone in your office in this job. How do you feel about the prospect?
- How do you deal with rejection? How do you feel about rejecting a loan application of someone you like as a person?
- Describe a time when you struggled with motivation in job.
- Describe the biggest failure of your professional career.
- Why should we hire you, and not one of many other applicants for this job?
Conclusion, great answers to all questions
The biggest problem in this interview is competition. Banking jobs are extremely popular, and you will always compete with many other candidates for this job.
The success is not a question of luck, however. If you are not sure how to stand out, and how to answer the tricky questions, have a look at a n eBook I wrote for you, the Credit Analyst Interview Guide.
You will find some excellent interview answers directly on the eBook page, so it makes sense to check it out even if you do not plan to purchase anything… Thank you, I wish you good luck in your next interview!
Matthew Chulaw, your personal job interview coach
* You can also download the full list of questions in a one page long PDF, and practice your interview answers anytime later:
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- Salary negotiation tips – Basic rules you should remember when negotiating a salary in your interview.