Question: Why Do You Want To Pursue A Career In Finance?
Updated 26 July 2023
When you are interviewing for a career in finance, an employer may ask specific questions about your career motivations. Companies often want to understand why candidates chose their career path to learn more about their personal values, rationales and ambitions. Understanding how to respond to such an interview question can help you reply more professionally and perform better in an interview. In this article, we explore why employers ask 'Why do you want to pursue a career in finance?', explain how to answer it and provide sample answers for reference.
Why Employers Ask 'Why Do You Want To Pursue A Career In Finance?'
Employers may ask the interview question 'Why do you want to pursue a career in finance?' to assess a candidate's motivation, along with their passion for and understanding of the finance industry. They are likely looking for candidates who have a genuine interest in finance and a clear understanding of the industry's demands and opportunities. When preparing to answer this question, consider the personal and professional experiences that have inspired you to pursue a career in finance. Considering the following questions can help you with your response:
What drew you to the finance industry?
Have you taken any relevant courses or completed internships in finance?
What are your long-term career goals, and how do they align with a career in finance?
What are some specific skills and qualities you possess that would make you successful in a finance career?
How To Answer 'Why Do You Want To Pursue A Career In Finance?'
Here is how to answer this interview question in a few simple steps:
1. Consider your motivations
To answer 'Why do you want to pursue a career in finance?', first consider the origins of your motivations for entering the field. Your motivations can be relevant because they help interviewers understand your level of commitment. They may also help demonstrate how your personal and professional goals align with the needs of the job, showing that you are potentially a good fit for the role. For example, you might explain how a lack of personal financial management inspired you to put more focus on managing money, which created an interest in a career as a finance manager.
2. Explain relevant experiences with the finance industry
Once you understand your own motivations for entering the finance industry, focus your answer on explaining relevant experiences in the industry and how they relate to the role. Connect your personal experiences with your work experiences. Talk about how your previous work provided you with an understanding of finance and how it has allowed you to apply your knowledge in real-world situations. If you have worked in finance previously, discuss the specific roles you held and the responsibilities you had, highlighting the skills you gained and how they can be valuable in the new position.
3. Explain what you hope to gain from a career in finance
Now that the interviewer understands your motivations and experiences, concentrate on what you hope to gain from a finance career. Focus on industry-specific benefits, such as an understanding of financial systems, or personal benefits, such as a competitive salary. Align your answers with the benefits of working with the company you are interviewing with, and how the role can help you accomplish those goals. For example, if you are interviewing for a financial management position, talk about how combining financial knowledge and management skills might help you gain a more robust skill set.
4. Be authentic and passionate
Being passionate and authentic when answering interview questions helps you distinguish yourself from other candidates and demonstrates your genuine interest in the position. Authenticity in your responses also helps you appear confident and trustworthy to the interviewer, which may help you get a job offer. Highlight the aspects of the job that genuinely excite you to show passion in your responses.
For example, if you are interviewing for a financial advising role, concentrate on the aspects of finance you find most interesting or what challenges you find most engaging. Explain how the chance to advise and help others makes you want to pursue that specific role. Be honest with each response, avoiding embellishment and focusing on what you hope to accomplish in the future.
Here are some example answers for this interview question at different career stages:
Example answer for an entry-level position
Employers might ask this interview question for entry-level positions to understand your personal motivations and aspirations for the job. They want to see if you have a genuine interest in finance and how well you understand the role and the responsibilities of the position. To answer this question, be specific about your reasons for pursuing a career in finance, such as your passion for numbers or your desire to work in a dynamic and challenging industry. Be clear about how this specific job aligns with your career goals and what you hope to achieve in the role.
Example: I am interested in pursuing a career in finance because I find numbers and data analysis fascinating. I find it incredibly rewarding to use my skills to help people make informed financial decisions. I believe an entry-level position in finance can provide me with a strong start to my career and help me gain the skills and experience necessary to eventually become a financial analyst. This position is attractive to me because of its focus on investment management and the supportive work culture the company facilitates.
Example answer for a senior position
Senior positions typically require years of experience, and an interviewer may ask this question to determine what you have learned in that time. By understanding your motivations and experience, they can determine if you have the necessary ambition and skill set to be a successful financial leader in the organisation. To answer this question, emphasise your relevant experience and expertise in the finance industry and express your continued passion for the field. Be specific about how this particular senior position aligns with your career aspirations and what you hope to achieve in the role.
Example: I am passionate about finance and have dedicated my career to becoming an expert in the field. With over 10 years of experience in investment banking, I have developed a deep understanding of financial markets and investment strategies. I am excited about the opportunity to take on a senior role in finance, where I can utilise my skills to drive business growth and help shape the organisation's financial strategy. This position is appealing to me because it allows me to leverage my experience in mergers and acquisitions to support the company's growth and expansion plans.
Example answer for switching careers
If you are switching careers to the financial industry, an employer may want to understand why. They might ask this question to learn more about why you left your previous job, what drew you to this industry or position in particular and what you hope to change or accomplish by pursuing the role. Articulate your specific reasons for wanting to transition to finance, such as a passion for financial analysis or a desire to work with a renowned company. Highlight your transferable skills and experience, and explain how you plan to apply them to your new career.
Example: I have always found financial management to be interesting, and when I started my career in marketing, I did not expect to want to transition so soon. Marketing, unfortunately, did not provide the challenge or satisfaction I was looking for in a career. I believe I can accomplish my goals in the financial industry, as I like working with numbers and understand the basics of financial management on a personal level. I am ready to advance my career into something more rewarding and practical, and this company has an excellent reputation in the industry.
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