Money rules the world. Sad but true. Leaders of big banks and wall-street sharks earn millions of dollars each year. Buying mansions, yachts, and flying private jets, they enjoy a lifestyle the vast majority of people can only dream of. Maybe you’d also like to get your share, eat a fraction of this juicy pie. Surely, you have to start from the bottom, working as a broker, bank teller, financial analyst, financial advisor, or even as a loan processor. Career paths are plentiful in the field of finance, and sky is the limit for the courageous and hard-working. But should you talk about money, when they ask you about your career choice? Or should you focus on something else if you want to get the job in the filed of finance, and face this question, or a popular alternative “Why do you want to pursue a career in finance?”
Let’s start with 7 sample answers to the question. My diverse list includes a few obvious choices, but also some unconventional answers that may do wonders for you in certain interview scenarios. Go through the answers, and try to find one that resonates with your values and attitude. Once done, read my notes below the answers, where I explain some nuances you should keep on your mind while trying to make the best possible impression on the hiring managers.
7 sample answers to “Why do you want to work in finance?” interview question
- I see a huge perspective in the field. Dreaming big, I do not want to live an average life, being in debt until I die. I want to swim with the sharks, earn big, and eventually retire in an early age–maybe once I am forty. I know that these are ambitious goals, and that I will have to work my ass off as an Account Executive here, until I can be promoted to a position of a Partner, or some other role where the real fun starts, where the big boys play their game. But I am as motivated as anyone, and I know that sky is the limit in this field–which cannot be said about many other fields. That’s the reason why I want to work in finance, and particularly on the Wall Street.
- For me the job itself is more important than the field. Position of a personal banker seems like a perfect fit for my strengths and personality. I enjoy talking to people, I believe to have decent sales skills, and I’d love to work in a banking environment. What’s more, this field offers an almost unparalleled job security. Unless everyone starts using cryptocurrency–and that won’t likely happen in next thirty years, if ever, banks are here to stay and every adult has a bank account (and most also have a loan or two). Everything considered, it is just a perfect choice for me.
- I’ve always excelled with numbers, and enjoyed working with money. I find it fascinating how the wealth can grow over time, the compounding effect… How hundred dollars, if invested in the right place, can become a million dollars in ten or twenty years time. It is amazing and I would love to dive deeper in the field, learn from the best, and work with the best. And of course, help people to grow their wealth. That’s why I am here today in this interview.
- I want to pursue a career in finance because no other field offers similar possibilities. And now I do not talk only about getting rich, and owning this or that shiny thing. I think also about an impact you can have as a banker, hopefully a positive one, on lives of individuals you work with, or on the entire country, or global economy. The last financial crisis demonstrates it perfectly, though it isn’t the most positive example of course. I want to have an impact in this world…
- To be honest, I dream of working as a CFO one day. Each of us has their dream role, and this one is mine. To oversee a budget of a big corporation like this one, to make important decisions, and to earn a seven figure salary each year. Of course, I understand the road ahead is long, and bumpy. I have to start with an entry level job–just like everyone else, and climb up the corporate ladder step by step, demonstrating my skills, delivering results. But if I succeed to do so, I may eventually achieve my goal. And even if I do not, I love the world of finance, and I will enjoy my work in this field.
- I do not have a particular preference to be honest. In my opinion, when you are young and fresh of college, it is good to get a taste of different fields of business, different departments–finance, sales, marketing, you name it. I have applied for this entry level job with you because I know that it is possible to work in one department for a year and then try another one. This corporation is big enough to allow young people such a luxury. So my plan is to try working in different departments over the first few years, find the best match for my skills and personality, and then decide about my direction, and the field I want to specialize in….
- I like the independence the role of a financial advisor offers. You make your own schedule, you meet clients in nice places, and at the end of the day, your courage and effort determines how much you will eventually earn. Not many career paths offer comparable level of freedom and possibilities, at least in my view. Of course, I know that many people fail to make any breakthrough in this field. But I believe they fail because they do not try hard enough. I want to give this job my best shot, and I know the reward–the desired lifestyle, will eventually come. That’s the main reason for my choice, but I also think that the job is a good match for my outgoing personality and sales skills.
Focus on the future, avoid talking about the past
I’ve heard many times job candidates saying that they want to work in finance (or in nursing, marketing, law) because that’s what they’ve studied and earned their degree from. Honestly this isn’t a good answer. It indicates a must (“I have to follow this career path because I’ve already invested so much time and money into it”), and you do not want to make such an impression on the hiring managers.
On the contrary, you should show a desire to work in finance, regardless of your studies and whatever you did in the past. Focus on the future–goals you want to achieve, position you want to have, and the nature of the job–how it fits your strength and personality, how you will enjoy doing it.
* Special Tip: This isn’t the most difficult question you will face while interviewing for any decent job in the Finance sector. You will face questions about prioritization, dealing with pressure, solving problems, and other tricky scenarios that happen in the workplace. If you want to make sure that you stand out with your answers and outclass your competitors, have a look at our Interview Success Package. Up to 10 premium answers to 50 tricky scenario based questions (+ more) will make your life much easier in the interviews. Thank you for checking it out!
Money can be a great answer
Many people think that talking about money in an interview (how much you want to earn, what sort of lifestyle you want to live) is always a bad idea. I do not agree with this opinion.
Many jobs in finance are extremely hard and competitive. Some people on Wall Street work for 16 hours a day, six days in a week. You can do your math.
What I try to say here is that if the reward wasn’t as good as it is for these guys, they would never do the jobs. And hence in some situations–such as when applying for a job of an account executive, financial advisor, phone banker, broker, etc, it makes a perfect sense to talk about earning big, or even about enjoying the lavish lifestyle with the money you will earn (one day).
Final thoughts, next steps
You should always remember that non-verbal communication plays a crucial role in each interview, especially when you talk about your motivation and your career choice.
It is one thing to talk about how amazing the career in finance is, and how pumped you are to leave your mark in the world and earn big (and eventually buy that yacht you always wanted to have, and get attention of that gold digger you always wanted to have as a girlfriend), and another if your non-verbal communication corresponds with the words you say.
Can they hear some enthusiasm in your voice when you talk about your career choice? Do you look like you’ve been waiting for this interview your entire life (or at least the last week)? Or do you look bored, your mind wandering somewhere, unsure of what to do with your life?
Interviewers observe a lot of things while talking to you. Keep it on your mind, and make sure that you say the right things both with your words, and with your body language…
May also help you get ready for your interview in finance:
- How to overcome interview nerves – 4 simple strategies to finally beat the interview anxiety and show your very best on the big day.
- Leadership interview questions – Check them out if you apply for any managerial or leadership role in finance.
- Salary negotiation tips – Learn how to get as much as you deserve. Or more…