Personal bankers work at retail banks. Serving as the face and the sales arm of the financial institution, they help individual clients meet their banking needs by providing advice, explaining options, and recommending the most appropriate financial services. They offer and discuss new checking and savings accounts, auto loans and mortgages, along with ancillary products like overdraft protection. Personal bankers may also provide insurance and investment products, or refer customers to agents within the institution who can assist them with additional financial products.

Interviews for personal banking jobs typically focus on responsibilities and essential skills necessary for the position, such as financial knowledge and strong customer service skills. Most personal banking positions are not considered entry-level, although some beginning positions are available, so interviewees should be prepared to describe any relevant education or experience in customer service, sales, finance, or banking in great detail.

The following are a few questions likely to come up during a job interview for a personal banking position.

key takeaways

  • Personal banker job interviews concentrate on personal finance expertise and customer service skills.
  • One common interview question: “How do you choose products to suggest to clients?”
  • Another common question: "How do you handle difficult or confused clients?”
  • A third common question: "Why do you want to work at our bank?"

“How Do You Choose Particular Products to Suggest to Clients?”

This is one of the most common interview questions for personal bankers, and to answer it properly, you must have a convincing knowledge of the bank’s products and their benefits, uses, and returns. Personal bankers often have a great influence on their clients, and the position's responsibilities are equal parts customer service and sales.

The more knowledgeable you are about the products you are selling, the more successful you will be. It is crucial to have a keen understanding of each individual client’s needs and financial situation to best identify the products most beneficial to him or her.

Sample Answer:

“I enjoy listening and getting to know my customers, building long-term relationships with them. By taking the time to understand their goals and needs, I am better able to identify what products will help them succeed and grow.”

Banking customers often feel more comfortable discussing and buying financial products with someone they know. By stressing you want to build long-term relationships, you are communicating that you not only want to make a sale, but you are also looking to cultivate long-term customers.

“How Do You Handle Aggressive, Demanding, or Confused Clients?”

Personal bankers deal with a wide variety of clients, and since they are the face of the entire institution to the customers, it is vital they present themselves professionally at all times. Impatient, judgemental, or temperamental people are not likely to have successful careers as personal bankers.

You must have the ability to tailor your approach and adjust your sales techniques for every client. While one client may wish to sit and chat before getting down to business, another may just be trying to open a checking account before her lunch break is over. Discuss your ability to clearly change your communication style to best meet the needs of your customer.

Sample Answer:

“My passion for helping people reach their financial goals is much stronger than my ego. Every client deserves my respect and I pride myself on my professionalism and integrity. I am confident in my communication skills and comfortable varying my approach if necessary.”

The bank relies on personal bankers to represent the company in a positive manner at all times. By putting the needs of the bank's customers over your own, you show true dedication to their best interests and prove you are a team player. Interviewers are seeking candidates who can prove they have a passion for personal finance as well as strong interpersonal communication skills and a desire for helping people succeed.

"Why Do You Want to Work at Our Bank?"

This one—a typical question for any position in any field—can be especially tough, since you may feel one financial institution is as good as another. But try to make a convincing case that this particular bank means a lot to you, and you have reasons for choosing it over the competition (beyond the fact that they're hiring). Research the place and its products, and try to single out those that are unique and that you admire. Cite their reputation and their clientele.

Sample Answer:

"Maybe it goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway: XYZ Bank has such a sterling reputation in the industry—it sets the gold standard for institutions that cater to individual clients, and those are the people I want to serve. In particular, I admire the bank's marketing methods, and the innovative products, like A, B, and C, that it has introduced to the public over the years."

With this answer, you can demonstrate that you've done your homework about the company and are familiar with it—never a bad thing in an interviewer's eyes. Of course, you should try to link the items you cite with your own experience and expertise. This response can also lead naturally into where your career path, and where you see yourself in five years—another common interview question for personal banker jobs.