Just as data analysts examine wide ranges of company data to give management decision-making tools, financial analysts examine financial data and consolidate their findings into a format that companies can use to make business decisions. This position is a highly coveted one because it often leads to other career opportunities in the field.
The position itself has a wide range of areas it can involve. Often, financial analysts help companies with their stocks and bonds markets and with making investments, but they can also be hired to do the following jobs as well:
Determine the ability of various marketing techniques to perform relative to cost
Track individual franchises or groups of franchises in a specific geographic region to determine strengths, weaknesses, and profit/loss forecasts
Deal with risk management
Create models forecasting revenue changes and expenditure increases or decreases
Financial analysts often work for the financial or investment industry but may also find jobs at local and regional banks, insurance companies, or other data-driven firms.
Amazon’s Hiring Process for Financial Analysts
A financial analyst position is much like a data analyst position in that it is highly technical in comparison to other general positions in the firm. Because of this, financial analysts will have additional assessments and interview questions that are meant to pinpoint core competencies the graduate or job-seeker possesses in the field.
As with any interview, applicants should gear their answers toward the qualities that the recruiters and interviewers are looking for. In order to help you prepare for a financial analyst position’s interview, some of the common questions asked and tips for how to answer them are listed below.
Why do you want to be a financial analyst? The goal with this question is to dig for answers about what motivates you. There is no right answer for this one, but you should be honest and detailed. Explain what draws you to the position and intrigues you about being a financial analyst. If you can tie those reasons in with something you are able to do for Amazon as a business, then that is even better.
Where do you see yourself in five years? This is a question often asked at interviews in general, and the interviewer’s intent with the question is to figure out if your goals align with theirs. While this is another question without any one “right” answer, applicants answering this question should know the company’s culture and set their goals according to their research. Whatever the chosen response, make the goal realistic.
Why do you want to work for us? Employers want to be certain you have made a purposeful decision to work for them. How you answer this question will show the employer whether you simply want a job or if you want this job. This requires attention to details about the company as you are researching and some thought about how you want to answer the question. Find things you can honestly point out that appeal to you. Just be certain not to say anything bad about other companies while elevating theirs because it does make you look bad.
How would you develop an investment recommendation for senior management? There are a few things to keep in mind when answering this question. First, realize that this is a chance for you to share how your mind works. The person interviewing you likely cares more about how you get to your recommendation than they do about the tools and analytical details. Second, you need to consider all the caveats, data, and partners you would need for this. It is okay to point out a few questions you would ask management to develop the recommendation. In the end, this is an open-ended question with no “best answer” and should be answered with a primary focus to the thought process and a secondary focus on details about specifics.
When it comes to assessments, most of the tests are the same as ones other potential employees would take, but, like data analyst applicants, those seeking a financial analyst position will have to take an Excel assessment test. The interview Excel test is used a screening tool to show what skills a candidate possesses. Applicants interested in a financial analyst position should prepare for an advanced Excel test since Excel is a popular tool for jobs focused on analyzing large data. These sorts of exams involve multiple-choice sections and an interactive portion.
Although the focus of the exam may shift to a financially related one, the tips for the Excel test are the same as those for the data analyst Excel test.
Do not assume the multiple-choice portion of the test will be simpler than the interactive portion. Take preparation for this as seriously as you would for the interactive portion because the questions will require you to have memorized the layout and the names for different tools. Make sure you know the basic layout and which tabs contain what.
Keep in mind that regardless of whether the exam is timed, the amount of time you take to complete the exam is recorded and visible to the employer. It is best to complete the exam in the shortest time that is possible while still taking time to avoid simple errors.
When doing the interactive portion, remember that most Excel test programs have only one way to solve the problem even if there are multiple ways to approach the question. This makes it imperative to practice so that you are prepared for the ways the questions are typically answered.
If you keep these tips in mind as you take practice exams, you should be more than capable of passing your Excel exam with flying colors.
The other test that financial analysts may be asked to take is the SQL test. This test will assess the graduate or job seeker’s ability to use SQL to extract data and run tests on the information obtained from the company’s systems. The test may involve writing queries, writing SQL statements for querying data needed, and then running analysis using Excel with the data your SQL statement extracted.