Five Interview Questions for Credit Analysts

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The job of a credit analyst is a challenging one, oriented to analytical and detail-driven people. Credit analysts assess the financial risks in things like equity or fixed income offerings, distressed debt, lending vehicles, or commodity portfolios. Gary McKelvie, director at recruiter Integrated Management Resources says you should be prepared to interview with a number of people, including the HR person, IT lead, a risk team specialist and possibly others.

Here are five interview questions you might hear.

Can you tell me about your technical expertise in credit analysis?

This is when you need to bring up your specific skills in credit analysis, risk and valuation. A quantitative background is a great thing to have. Show that you also have a strong understanding of VAR, CVaR, PFE and portfolio analysis tools.

Can you describe your programming and modeling experience?

Credit analysts should have modeling skills. It pays to be proficient in MATLAB, SAS, C++, Moody's KMV, VB/VBA, and SQL. Individuals with systems development expertise are sure to get snatched up.

What's your experience in managing a team or leading junior employees?

Credit analysts work hand-in-hand with traders, bank management, risk specialists and/or IT people. So, it's a given that you'll need to be a people person, a team player, and a go-getter. For instance, you'll need to demonstrate how you can effectively deal with the inherent challenges of a trading environment. If you have specific examples of management experience, this is the time to emphasize them.

Tell me what you know about this division.

Your interviewers will want to know that you're familiar with their firm, bank or hedge fund. McKelvie says that if you're using a recruiter, use him for all he's worth. He'll most likely help you to understand the company culture, as well as the products traded, portfolio managed, or loan vehicles offered. But do your own homework, too.

Do you have any other particular skill sets that make you ideally suited for this position?

This is a good time to highlight specific accounting, corporate finance, and financial research expertise. If you've worked with the products the firm has traded, make sure to work it into the conversation a number of times. Basel II implementation experience is also a selling point. Problem solving skills are a major requirement for the job, so be prepared to discuss them.

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