Interviewing a Finance Manager: 5 Questions

How do you differentiate between a finance manager who will lead your team to greatness vs. one who will mire it in the muck of a predictable routine?

Interviewing well is as much a science as it is an art and the questions that you craft must be designed to reveal thought processes and values, as much as technical skill. The first step in conducting a better interview? Harvard Business Review suggests being prepared, treating it like a conversation, and remembering it’s a 2-way street — so save time for the candidate to ask you some questions.

We’re here to help you get prepared by sharing some of our top questions for interviewing a finance manager.

Interview Question #1: You discover an error that a colleague has made that could cause a significant impact on the organization. What do you do?

This question allows you to see how effectively the candidate assesses the scenario. Can they determine a reasonable timeline for informing upper management of the error, and do they offer a unified front with their colleague when it comes to that conversation? How your prospective finance manager answers this question will reveal their views on leadership – invaluable information when you are trying to make a hiring decision.

Interview Question #2: When have you been the happiest working with a manager? Why?

This question is useful in determining behavioural traits. The way a prospective candidate likes to be managed offers insight into their core values. For example, if they speak highly about a manager who offered them flexibility and independence, and you know that this will not work for your team, then this particular hire is not suitable for your organization.

Interview Question #3: Even if you were generally happy with a former manager, go back to a time when you were not as content. Why was this the case? Did the situation improve? Why?

A multi-part question such as this will reveal how your prospective finance manager navigates challenging waters.  Do they rise to the occasion, communicate clearly and foster win-win partnerships, or are they more likely to say nothing and carry on? Ultimately, a finance manager is a liaison to several different departments, supporting them to achieve their strategic objectives, while managing their own team. You need a strong problem solver and communicator in this role.

Interview Question #4: Why does this role make sense for you at this point in your career?

An interview question such as this assesses whether the candidate thinks analytically about his or her career. Are they making a decision that will help them stay at the company long-term? Fundamentally, you want someone who is invested in the role and the organization.

Interview Question #5: What do you think the difference is between a manager and a leader?

Finance managers must be able to plan, organize, and coordinate the various moving parts of the finance department. A true leader, however, also connects people to the vision of their organization and empowers them to achieve it. A leader is transformative, establishes a culture of continuous improvement, and inspires those around them.

A finance manager plays a critical role in the success of the company. Ask questions designed to determine core values, as much as technical skills. Hire a leader, not just a manager, and make sure their values align with the core values of the company. Asking these top five interview questions will help you ensure that your candidate of choice will be a forward-thinking asset for your organization for years to come.

Need help hiring a Finance Manager to help you grow and scale? Luckily you came to the right place! Let us know how we can help!

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