Investment Banking and Mortgage Banker Interview Questions

banker meeting with clients
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Interviews for bankers and those in the financial industry can be long and intensive. The interviewers typically ask a variety of question types. Some questions will be about you and your background—your education, your career history, your personality, etc. Other questions will test your knowledge of the industry.

The best way to prepare for a job interview in either investment banking or mortgage banking is to practice. Knowing the most common interview questions, and knowing how to answer them, will help you prepare for your next interview.

Types of Interview Questions

There are a few categories of questions that you might get during a banking interview. Some questions you will be asked during your interview will be common interview questions you might be asked at any job, including questions about your work history, your strengths and weaknesses, and your skills. Other questions will be personal questions about your qualities as they relate to the job.

You might be asked how you handle long hours or why you want to be an investment banker.

You will likely be asked a number of behavioral interview questions. These are questions about how you’ve handled certain work situations in the past. For example, you might be asked about a time you made a successful sale (or failed to make a sale). The idea behind these questions is that how you behaved in the past gives the interviewer insight into how you might behave on the job.

Situational Questions and More

Other questions will be situational interview questions. These are similar to behavioral interview questions, as they are questions about work experiences. However, situational interview questions are about how you would handle future situations. For example, an interviewer might ask how you would handle a particularly difficult sale.

Some interviewers will also ask you to roleplay a particular scenario. They might, for example, ask you to sell the interviewer something, or make a pretend sales call.

You will also receive technical questions related to the finance industry. These will be questions to assess your knowledge of banking. These might include questions related to accounting or valuation, such as questions about intrinsic valuation, relative valuation, cash flow analysis, and more.

Be prepared for a couple of brainteasers that might not seem related to banking but will test your problem-solving abilities.

You might also get questions about the company you’re interviewing with, and/or the company’s current competitors.

Tips for Preparing Responses

Look Back at Your Resume

Before the interview, think about examples of times you demonstrated the skills necessary for the job. Look back at the job listing, and highlight any key skills and abilities. Then, think of specific examples of times you demonstrated each of these. You can use these examples when you are answering behavioral and situational questions.

Practice the STAR Technique

When answering a question using a specific example, use the STAR interview technique. Describe the situation you were in, explain the task you had to accomplish, and detail the action you took to accomplish that task (or solve that problem). Then, describe the results of your actions.

Brush Up on Your Technical Knowledge

Make sure you feel comfortable answering valuation questions and accounting questions. This might require brushing up on some common banking and accounting terminology.

Research the Company

Make sure you have a sense of the company – its financial standing, its size, its mission statement, and other basics. Check out their website for this information – you can find a lot of this information on the “About Us” page. Do a Google search to see if there is any current news about the company. Get a sense of who the company’s biggest competitors are.

Practice Answering Common Questions

Another way to prepare is to practice answering interview questions you will likely be asked. Read through the list of common interview questions for a mortgage banker and investment banker jobs. Depending on the job you’re applying for, practice answering the appropriate questions. This will help you answer with more confidence during the actual interview.

Investment Banker Interview Questions

Personal/Common Interview Questions

  • Why do you want to be an investment banker?
  • Which aspect of this job will challenge you the most?
  • Where does this job fit in with your overall career plan?
  • What strengths would you bring to investment banking from your previous experiences?
  • What were a few areas that your last employer said you should try to improve upon?

Behavioral and Situational Interview Questions

  • Describe a successful group project. What role did you play?
  • Describe a time a group project failed. What role did you play?
  • Share three examples of how you exercised leadership within a group or organization.
  • Describe a successful presentation that you made. What enabled you to succeed?
  • Share a less successful experience presenting. What limited your success?
  • Describe a situation when you were confronted with several competing demands. How did you handle that challenge?
  • Share a situation where you tapped your persuasive skills to close a deal or prompt the desired action from another party. 

Role-Play/Scenario Interview Questions

  • Here is a mock client portfolio. Walk me through your process of reviewing a client portfolio.
  • Walk me through this cash flow statement.

Technical/Industry Knowledge Interview Questions

  • How would you approach valuing a company that is targeted for an IPO?
  • Describe work or school project where you applied quantitative skills. 
  • How do you value a company with negative cash flow?
  • What is the PEG ratio for a company whose stock is valued at $21 with earnings of .70 per share and a growth rate of 10%?
  • Identify a stock that you would currently recommend for purchase and explain why.
  • What is your take on the current stock market? What factors are impacting the market and where is it headed?
  • How do you stay current with trends and developments in the financial markets?

Company-Related Interview Questions

  • What attracted you to this position with our firm?
  • What is our bank's greatest weakness?
  • Which of our competitors do you admire the most?

Mortgage Banker Interview Questions

Personal/Common Interview Questions

  • What motivates you?
  • Do you prefer to work independently or in a team?
  • What irritates you about other employees?
  • Explain a time that you took initiative.
  • What experience do you have in sales?
  • If we ran a credit check on you, would there be an issue?

Behavioral and Situational Interview Questions

  • Give me an example of a time when you successfully sold something to someone.
  • How do you explain the mortgage process to applicants?
  • Have you dealt with a difficult client? How did you handle it?
  • How would you persuade someone if he or she is reluctant to make a purchase?
  • How have you organized the work of a team to achieve goals?
  • When you hit a dry spell and cannot make sales for 18 months, how will you handle it?

Role-Play/Scenario Interview Questions

  • Walk me through the accounting of this transaction.
  • What is your favorite thing to do? Sell it to me.
  • Could you perform a mock sales call right now?
  • Here is a random product. Sell this to me right now.

Technical/Industry Knowledge Interview Questions

  • What are some of the main responsibilities of a mortgage banker?
  • Describe a time when you had to recheck your data to make sure it was correct.
  • How soon after a credit consent check do you initiate contact?
  • What is the minimum number of applications you expect to bring in per month?
  • What’s the best way to get a mortgage through underwriting?
  • Do you have a referral base?
  • Tell me about the relationships you have in this community.
  • Describe the real estate market in this area.
  • How will you help grow business in this community?

Company-Related Interview Questions

  • What can you offer to this firm?
  • Who are our biggest competitors, and how do you think we stand out from them?