Interviewing for Success - How to Hire Top Fintech & Data Talent
By:
Alan Anwar

The skill of conducting an employment interview lies in the ability to make accurate assumptions about the future performance of a candidate. As a hiring manager, identifying candidates that will eclipse the requirements of the role and also prove to be a good cultural fit for your company is par for the course. 

Correctly assessing a job seeker takes a precisely balanced combination of skill and experience and making the right decision can be imperative to future business success. As a senior leader and hiring manager, your reputation may also be at stake. 

Knowing how to conduct an effective interview in the Financial Technology and Data sectors takes an extensive amount of preparation and experience, whether you’re hiring an experienced senior manager, sales specialist or technical professional. Having the right types of questions on hand and knowing when to ask them is key to identifying top performing candidates in this technical space. 

Ask Challenging Questions

When it comes to interviewing, practice builds confidence and as a hiring manager, you’re undoubtedly familiar with standard interview techniques. Let’s think outside the box. What are the types of questions candidates may not be expecting? The type of information they may volunteer under pressure can prove invaluable to your decision making process. Consider the information you need to obtain and ask questions that will best extract this information. 

Rather than asking general open-ended questions, be specific with your requests. For example, instead of this: “Tell me about the responsibilities you held in your last position?”, ask a more detailed question such as this: “Please explain in detail the scope of the management responsibility in your most recent position. Please also elaborate about the challenges you faced as a manager in this role”. Don’t shy away from delving deep. Pursue the necessary information to make a sound decision. 

Interviewing for success

The Unique Challenge of Hiring a Sales Leader

You may or may not find yourself managing a recruitment campaign for the role of a sales leader in the Financial Technology sector at some point. If you do, rest assured, it brings its own unique set of challenges. You’ll find these candidates possess the ‘gift of the gab’. They’ll be quick thinkers, easily able to identify trick questions. In turn, they’ll be highly capable at crafting charming answers in a matter of seconds. After all, these are the very talents that have brought them historical success in sales roles. As an interviewer, you’ll definitely need to be on the ball!

Become Familiar with Technical Elements

Roles in the Financial Technology and Data sectors often contain significant technical components. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the technical requirements of a role as well as the jargon a candidate may use. Invest time learning the technical aspects of the job as this will support your ability to differentiate superior candidates. If you find yourself pondering what a candidate is talking about during an interview from a technical perspective, you certainly won’t be in the strongest position to predict their future success in a technical role.

Interviewing for success

Question Perceived Negatives

In an interview scenario it’s important to learn about the strengths and positive attributes of a candidate. However, it’s more important to learn about the challenges they face and the skills they lack in an employment context.

The types of questions that will assist you to extract such information include the following: 

  • What were the biggest obstacles you faced in your previous role?
  • In contrast to your strengths, what are your most prominent weaknesses?
  • What is the biggest mistake you’ve ever made in the workplace?

This type of information provides critical insight into the character of the candidate. It can reveal situations the candidate identifies as challenging and the mechanisms they used to address and overcome these challenges. This information will assist you to screen and identify the top candidates, and help separate the wheat from the chaff.

Identify Commerciality 

Take a step back and consider each employee in your workplace as a piece of a broader puzzle. If each piece of the puzzle works as efficiently and effectively as possible, ideally you’ll be left with a high performing engine and a department or team that’s on the pathway to success. The more commerciality each of the puzzle pieces possesses, the greater the power of the engine you can create, metaphorically speaking. 

Commerciality can be determined by asking a question such as the following:

  • What’s your opinion about the current XYZ news story?
  • What are your thoughts on best practice within the XYZ space?

 Given the progressive nature of the Financial Technology and Data sectors, employers specifically need staff to be familiar with trends and new developments in the industry. Therefore it’s reasonable to expect that active job seekers are closely following industry related news stories. Identify candidates who offer an opinion on news articles rather than those who can only regale you with the story. 

Tips and Tricks

Interviewing candidates requires a balanced combination of open ended and behavioral style questions. If interviewing sales managers in particular, make it your goal to identify candidates who possess expert level knowledge of their process, product and customer. Strong leaders should be able to pitch their prior work experience and product knowledge to you in such a way that it’s both believable and enticing. Due to the aforementioned talent of these types of staff to ‘talk the talk,' it’s important to delve deeper when a candidate provides a generic answer or one that fails to be specific enough. Continue probing if they avoid providing the depth or type of information you seek.

As a senior leader or hiring manager in the Financial Technology and Data sectors, it’s part and parcel of your responsibilities to actively market the job vacancy as well as your company, to each prospective candidate. After-all, an interview is the perfect opportunity for the candidate to ensure they gain a clear understanding of the role and its expectations and feel confident they’re suitably capable of fulfilling the role if offered. The interview is also an opportunity for you to stand out from other competing companies, or the candidate’s current company, by selling your company/opportunity. Before conducting each interview, take some time out to remind yourself why you enjoy working where you do, and be prepared to inspire potential newcomers with your infectious enthusiasm.

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Alan Anwar is the Managing Director at Datasearch Consulting, a leading executive recruitment firm specialising in the Financial Technology & Data sectors.

You can download their FREE comprehensive guide on “The Complete Guide to Hiring Fintech & Data Talent - 5 Proven Steps to Secure the Best Candidates Possible” hereAlternatively you can view the Datasearch Consulting website or contact them directly on info@datasearchconsulting.com for a more detailed discussion.