I am about to graduate with my Masters in Finance and am looking to work full time in the financial services sector. I am working with a recruiting firm to match me with potential clients. They specialize in recruiting employees for the financial services sector. The recruiter has asked me to come in for an interview in two days

I have only interviewed directly with companies before, but never with a recruiter before. Some of the traditional tips for an interview obviously does not apply such as:

Researching the company
Demonstrating your fit for the position you applying for
Discussing relevant skillsets
Targeting questions to show your interest for **THIS JOB**

In this case, I feel the specific must become the general.

What can I expect with this type of interview and how can I best present myself?

  • You can just reverse those question. What are you looking for in a company? In a job? What are you skillsets? Et cetera.
    – Bernhard
    Dec 10, 2014 at 19:35
  • Doesn't your university offer any type of job fair or have companies that directly recruit recent graduates? Not sure why you want to go through a recruiter. Are you in the US?
    – user8365
    Dec 10, 2014 at 20:11
  • @JeffO I am in the United States. I am using a recruiter because while my university does have a career fair, the firms that recruit directly on campus do not fit of where I want to be working at. As I said, I prefer a analytical role
    – Anthony
    Dec 10, 2014 at 20:52

2 Answers 2


I would disagree wholeheartedly with that assessment on researching the company. If anything you will be doing double the research, once on the recruiter and another on each company you get to the interview stage with.

As far as what you can expect it is hard for me to say as I only have experience with technical positions but this is the process I experienced.

First you should have a general interview with the recruiter. This interview is going to help them gauge who you are and where you would fit in. This usually involves a mix of questions about your resume and general questions about you. At the end of this the recruiter should have a good gauge of you and what positions would be a good match. On your end, you should understand the recruiter and how comfortable they are with your field and you. Remember a recruiter may not be as well versed as you on your field. Be prepared to explain what you know and want to do in a simple and engaging fashion.

The next step is matching you against company requirements. This can be a series of tests and questions, background checks or other methods. Usually these will be items used for further focusing on what jobs you would fit. These requirements can also be personally designed by the company. In my own case I had to take a series of tests Used by the agency along with a test designed by the actual company the recruiter wanted to match me to.

Somewhere during or after the last step you will probably be told about the company they want to match you to. This is probably one of the largest advantages of a recruiter. You not only have normal methods to research a company you also have the recruiter. Be prepared when the recruiter mentions the company to ask questions about the company they want to match you to. If you can try and do your own research first as asking every question about the company to the recruiter may make it seem like you will not put in the legwork yourself to learn what you need to.

After this it should be similar to any interview you have been in before. The only difference is that it will likely be treated more like a second interview as if the recruiter did their job well, The company should have some confidence that you would already be a good fit and more just want to know you personally.

  • @Keaney Be prepared when the recruiter mentions the company to ask questions about the company they want to match you to. How can I do that when I don't know the client at first?
    – Anthony
    Dec 10, 2014 at 19:54
  • To add -- some recruiting agencies don't have a specific lead for you, yet, but want to network with you to match you up later. So don't be surprised if they don't have something lined up for you at this interview. It should be noted, too, that these are usually much more casual in nature than an "actual" interview with a company.
    – Shauna
    Dec 10, 2014 at 19:56
  • 1
    @Anthony - You can still start building general questions about things like work environment and whatnot. The recruiter generally has one or more contacts within the companies they recruit for, and can get some more "insider" responses for you. Company size is a common one (as that's sometimes hard to gauge from the website). Also, most recruiters will give you some time to respond, so don't be afraid to take a day to do some research before responding (and you can always change your mind if you decide you don't like a prospect, so agreeing to an interview doesn't bind you to that client).
    – Shauna
    Dec 10, 2014 at 20:00
  • @Anthony what Shauna said. Work environment, role responsibilities, even just what the company contact is like. Do they fish on weekends?
    – KHeaney
    Dec 10, 2014 at 20:04

Actually, most of those still apply just in a slightly different format:

Researching the company

What is the reputation of this firm? Would they want an exclusive contract or could you use other recruiters? How much work do they provide in terms of interview preparation? There is still work to do here as different firms work in different ways and I'd say if you don't do your homework here then you may get burned. Are you to search through their job board to find positions that work for you or will they tell you what works well? While I work in IT I have seen recruiters of each type here.

For others, consider what are the kinds of roles you want to have as there are more than a few different areas in financial services:

Demonstrating your fit for the position you applying for

Why would you be a fit for job X? Consider the differences between being an insurance salesman and financial analyst for how these could have different elements of your background that are useful here. What kinds of things do you have that make you stand out?

Discussing relevant skillsets

This is the question of what are you bringing for that job you want. While you have a Masters in Finance, what else do you have?

Targeting questions to show your interest for THIS JOB

What kind of dream role do you want? What are some other kinds of jobs you could want to be applied?

For some interviews I've had a company may have multiple openings and thus some of these issues can happen in that case as well.

My general advice here:

  1. Know your background.
  2. Know what you want.
  3. Communicate what is expected of each side moving forward,i.e. what are you doing, what are they doing and when would communications be sent.

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