15 Questions For Your Initial Interview Preparation

Here are the questions you should answer for your initial interview preparation.

After determining that there are definite positions in both public finance and the bond counsel world, we need to address the interview itself. Going a step further, let’s specifically look into the initial interview preparation. Most candidates that we have the pleasure of working with usually interview every five to seven years. That seems to be the minimum somebody will stay at a firm before they start wondering if the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. This precludes a situation where the firm within the first couple of months proved to be the wrong place.  Candidates who make a move will know within the first three to six months if it was the right one or not.

For Your Initial Interview Preparation, Start With Research

With that as our background, let’s look at the initial interview preparation. This can either be done with a recruiter’s assistance or by yourself. The internet has made interview preparation incredibly easy. First, research your prospective firm. Now you can find out almost everything that you need to know about a firm before you have your first interview. Second, we recommend doing research on the interviewer that you will be talking with.  This only holds if you are talking with a decision maker, not necessarily an individual from the human resource department. The more you can know about the hiring manager (i.e. what their background was, their current needs, etc.), the stronger the candidate you become. In our cottage industry it is rather easy to find out these answers by simply reaching out to your own network.

How To Approach Your Initial Interview Preparation

When we prepare the candidate for their first conversation, we always tell them to treat it as a first date. This would generally mean avoiding any controversial issues. That specifically translates to talking about anything that relates to compensation or benefits. It is just too early in the process to start addressing those areas in your initial interview preparation. Take this first interview to drill down on their platform, culture, and ability to execute on your potential deals. 

Questions & Topics To Prepare

Many of our candidates have asked what to expect for questions from the hiring managers. Most of the managers that we work with want to have open conversation about you, sharing about the firm, and asking a little bit about your business. I am going to present below general questions you should be prepared to address. These are questions that (even if you are not asked) you should ponder during your initial interview preparation: 

1.        Tell me about yourself.

2.        Why are you considering leaving your current firm?

3.        What do you think you can bring to this position that other candidates cannot?

4.        What are your analytical support needs, if any?

5.        What concerns do you have about our platform, if any?

6.        How do you think the position will differ from your current situation?

7.        What relationships will you be able to move to a new firm?

8.        Tell me about your last supervisor. What did you like and not like about him/her?

9.        How best am I to manage you?

10.  Since this is potentially a remote position, have you dealt with that situation in the past? If so, how?

11.  If you could wave a magic wand, what is the ideal new situation for you?

12.  What about our job interests you?

13.  Give us a sense of your results in 2019, number and type of transactions?  Average transaction amounts?  Marketing activity?

14.  Of the positions you have held, which was your favorite?  Why?

15.  Of the positions you have held, which was your least favorite?  Why?

These questions and your responsive answers are a great way to start your initial interview preparation. They will better prepare you for the interview and make you a much stronger candidate in the end.  


If you would like to discuss your options, please reach out to me for a confidential conversation at 760-477-1284 or email me at [email protected]. He can also be reached on LinkedIn

About Harlan Friedman, JD & Founding Member, H. Friedman Search LLC. Harlan is a thirty-year veteran Public Finance Banker turned recruiter who specializes in the placement of all level Public Finance Bankers, Health Care Bankers, Municipal Financial Advisors, Compliance Officers, Issuers, and Bond Counsels.