How to ace that interview in private banking: 4 Key areas that every private banker should focus on

Krista Espaldon 29.05.2019

Private banking recruitment in 2019 is more competitive than ever.

This is partly because private banks have upped their standards and also because there are more candidates than ever on the market. As a result, it is vital to carefully prepare for your private banking interview if you want to succeed in the process: 

1. Presentation - First impressions truly do last a long time in the private banking industry. This may seem rudimentary but it is essential.

  • Dress appropriately and professionally.
  • Hygiene is equally important. Hence, make sure that you do NOT smoke before the interview (I had a hiring manager who complained about the cigarette smell of the candidate and let’s just say the candidate didn’t get the job).
  • Present and carry yourself with confidence and not arrogance, there is a fine line between the two. If need be, practice your speaking voice and body language. Do not rush your speech, enunciate your words carefully so you come across as thoughtful and measured.   Also I would advise limiting hand movements or gesticulations as this can distract from the content of your discussion.  

2. Career Experience - Always highlight your achievements in every job/company that you’ve been with. Since this is a front office role, here are the key aspects in your career that you need to highlight:

  • Asset under management (AUM) and Revenue – KPIs vs Actual (mention in % and absolute numbers)
  • Building your portfolio – where and how do you get new clients
  • Promotions and awards

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3. Portfolio - a sizeable portfolio will help you command a superior total compensation. However, do expect that the hiring manager will dissect your current portfolio to help them better understand your clients’ needs and if the bank’s platform will be able to support them. This will also help them gauge your success rate in their organization.

  • Asset Under Management – hiring managers would want to know the size of your portfolio, how much is with and without leveraged.
  • Revenue – hiring managers would want to know your actual revenues (current and for the past 2 years) and from which investment product do you derive most of your revenue. This will help the hiring manager gauge if you are churning your accounts or not.
  • Client profiles – for bank secrecy purposes, do not mention the name of your clients. However, you can mention if they are business owners/entrepreneurs, professionals, retirees or which industry are they from, PEP or politically exposed person. Also, if your clients are first-generation or second-generation clients.
  • Client investment needs – aside from having the typical pure-play private banking product needs for your clients, hiring managers would want to know in what other aspects the bank would be able to assist your clients. At what stage are your clients now, in terms of wealth creation. Such as if they would require corporate-investment banking products i.e. M&A, IPOs, aircraft financing, yacht financing, etc. Otherwise, wealth preservation such as succession planning, trust, etc.
  • Market coverage – mostly hiring managers would want to find out the split of your market coverage or your clients’ country of residency. This will help them identify which team you will fit best and if they have a market or travel restrictions. 

4. Questions - it is a must that you ask questions about the bank’s platform (product capabilities and limitations), team structure and dynamics. As this will help you identify which clients you can bring over. It will also clearly demonstrate to the hiring manager that you are seriously considering this opportunity and not just 'shopping' around.

For a confidential chat and market updates on private banking, you may reach me at   

Krista Espaldon - R1218752's picture
Senior Consultant & Regional Lead - Private Banking