20 Stifel Financial Interview Questions and Answers

Prepare for the types of questions you are likely to be asked when interviewing for a position at Stifel Financial.

Stifel Financial is a full-service investment bank and brokerage firm that provides a wide range of services to individual investors, institutions, and businesses. Headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, the company has more than 2,000 financial advisors nationwide.

The interview process at Stifel Financial is known to be intense and competitive. If you’re hoping to land a job at the company, you can expect to be asked a variety of questions about your experience, qualifications, and goals.

In this guide, we’ve provided a list of sample Stifel Financial interview questions and answers to help you prepare for your interview.

Stifel Financial Interview Process

The interview process at Stifel Financial is generally pretty smooth and straightforward. The first step is usually a phone screen, followed by one or more in-person interviews. The interviews are mostly behavioral, but may also include some technical questions. Overall, the experience is positive and the company is supportive and encouraging.

1. How many hours a week are you willing to work?

Employers ask this question to make sure you’re willing to work the required hours for their company. They want employees who are dedicated and hardworking, so they look for candidates who can commit to a certain number of hours per week. When answering this question, be honest about your availability. Explain that you would like to work 40 hours per week but could also do more if needed.

Example: “I am looking for a full-time position, so I’m hoping to work at least 40 hours per week. However, I understand that sometimes there may be busy periods where extra hours are needed. If that’s the case, I’d be happy to put in as many hours as necessary to get the job done.”

2. What is your experience working in the financial industry?

This question is a great way for the interviewer to learn more about your background and experience. It’s important to highlight any unique or impressive experiences you’ve had in this industry, such as promotions, awards or certifications.

Example: “I started working in the financial industry when I was 18 years old. My first job was at a local bank where I worked as a teller. After two years of working there, I applied for an entry-level position at Stifel Financial and was hired. Throughout my time here, I have been promoted twice and am currently a senior investment advisor.”

3. Do you have any certifications or licenses related to finance?

Employers may ask this question to see if you have any certifications or licenses that show your commitment to the financial industry. If you do, be sure to mention them in your answer and explain what they mean. If you don’t have any certifications or licenses, you can still talk about your experience and how it relates to the job.

Example: “I am a CFP® professional, which means I have passed the certification exam for Certified Financial Planner. This is an important credential because it shows my commitment to helping clients make smart financial decisions. In addition to this certification, I also hold Series 7 and 66 securities licenses.”

4. What do you know about Stifel Financial?

This question is a great way for the interviewer to assess your research skills and determine whether you are familiar with their company. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention one or two things that stood out to you about Stifel Financial in your research.

Example: “I know that Stifel Financial is a financial services firm that provides investment banking, wealth management and brokerage services. I also noticed that they have been named as one of Fortune’s Best Places to Work for eight years in a row. This tells me that the company has an excellent reputation and values its employees.”

5. Why do you want to work at Stifel Financial?

This question is a great way for the interviewer to learn more about your interest in their company. They want to know what you like about Stifel Financial and why you are excited to work there. To answer this question, think of two or three things that really stood out to you when researching the company. Explain how these aspects would benefit you as an employee.

Example: “I am very interested in working at Stifel because I love the idea of helping clients reach their financial goals. When I was looking into the company, I read about some of the unique ways they help their clients. For example, they have a team dedicated to finding new investment opportunities for their clients. This shows me that the company cares about its customers and wants to provide them with the best service possible.”

6. Are you able to travel for business?

Stifel Financial is a global financial services firm, so employees may be asked to travel for business. Employers ask this question to make sure you are comfortable with the idea of traveling and that you have experience doing it. If you don’t have much experience traveling for work, explain what your previous job required you to do in regards to travel.

Example: “I am very comfortable with the idea of traveling for work. In my last position, I was often required to travel for client meetings or conferences. I’m used to packing up and going on short notice. I also understand how important it is to stay connected while traveling. For this reason, I always bring my laptop and phone charger with me when I go on trips.”

7. What would you say is your greatest strength and weakness?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your personality and how you view yourself. They want to know that you are self-aware, so it’s important to answer honestly. When answering this question, try to focus on one strength and one weakness. Try not to list many weaknesses or strengths because the interviewer may assume that all of your other answers are also weaknesses.

Example: “My greatest strength is my ability to work well with others. I am always looking for ways to help others succeed and make sure everyone feels valued. My biggest weakness is that sometimes I get too invested in projects. This can be a good thing, but sometimes I forget to take breaks and end up working long hours. I’m actively working on remembering to take regular breaks.”

8. Tell me about a time when you had to solve an ethical dilemma.

Employers ask this question to see if you can apply your moral compass in the workplace. They want to know that you will make decisions that are in the best interest of their company and its clients. In your answer, explain how you arrived at your decision and what steps you took to resolve the situation.

Example: “When I was working as a financial advisor, I had a client who wanted me to recommend investments that would give them the highest return. However, I knew that some of these investments were risky and could result in significant losses for my client. Instead, I recommended lower-risk options that still provided a good rate of return. My client understood why I made this recommendation and appreciated that I put their interests first.”

9. Would you be comfortable selling our services to others?

This question is a way for the interviewer to assess your confidence level and ability to sell. It’s important that you are able to confidently answer yes to this question, as it shows you have the skills necessary to succeed in sales. When answering this question, make sure you emphasize how much you enjoy interacting with others and helping them find solutions to their financial problems.

Example: “I love working with people and finding ways to help them solve their financial issues. I feel like I am very good at listening to what my clients need and then presenting them with options that will work best for them. I think I would be an excellent fit for this position because of my interpersonal skills and my willingness to learn about Stifel Financial’s services.”

10. Describe a time where you were successful at getting a large gift and what your strategy was.

This question is a great way to show your leadership skills and ability to work with others. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention the name of the person you helped and how they benefited from your gift.

Example: “When I was working at my previous job, I had a client who wanted to give his company $10 million dollars as a gift. He was very private about his identity, so we worked hard to keep his information confidential. We also made sure that he knew we would use the money wisely for the company. In the end, he gave us the money and we used it to create new jobs in our community.”

11. How would you handle a difficult client who did not want to pay their bill?

This question is designed to test your customer service skills. It also allows the interviewer to see how you handle conflict and whether or not you have a problem with authority. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention that you would try to understand their concerns and find a solution that works for both parties.

Example: “I would first ask them why they did not want to pay their bill. I would then listen to what they had to say and make sure that I understood their concerns. If there was something that could be done to help them feel more comfortable paying their bill, I would do my best to accommodate them. For example, if they were having trouble making payments online, I might offer to send them paper bills until they are able to get used to using our system.”

12. Have you ever worked with clients that were upset or angry, how did you handle it?

Interviewers may ask this question to see how you handle conflict. They want to know that you can diffuse a situation and keep your clients happy. In your answer, try to show that you are empathetic and willing to help the client solve their problem.

Example: “I once had a client who was upset because they didn’t understand why I couldn’t give them more information about their account. I explained that it’s against company policy to share specific details of an account without written permission from the client. The client understood but wanted me to explain what we were doing to resolve their issue. I told them that we would continue to work on their case until they were satisfied.”

13. If hired as a financial advisor, what areas of personal finance would you focus on most?

This question helps the interviewer determine your level of expertise in financial planning and how you would apply it to their company. Use examples from your experience or education to show that you have a strong foundation in personal finance and can help clients with their finances.

Example: “I believe that budgeting is one of the most important aspects of personal finance, so I would focus on helping my clients create realistic budgets for their spending habits. Another area I would focus on is retirement savings because many people don’t understand how much they need to save for retirement. I would also like to offer investment advice to my clients as part of their overall financial plan.”

14. What are some things you think need to be changed within the financial industry?

This question is a great way to see how you can make positive changes in your career. When answering this question, it’s important to show that you’re willing to help improve the industry and not just looking for a job.

Example: “I think one of the biggest things we need to change within the financial industry is our lack of diversity. I believe that if we had more women and minorities working as financial advisors, we would be able to reach more people with different backgrounds. This could lead to more clients who are also diverse, which would allow us to better serve them.”

15. Can you tell me about a time when you were working on a team project and there was conflict, how did you handle it?

Teamwork is an important skill to have in the finance industry. Employers ask this question to see if you can work well with others and resolve conflict. Use your answer to show that you are a team player who can collaborate with others and solve problems together.

Example: “I was working on a project for my accounting class where we had to create a budget for a small business. My group members were all very different, so it was hard to come up with a plan everyone could agree on. I suggested we break into smaller groups and each focus on one aspect of the budget. This way, we could get more input from everyone and make sure our final product was as accurate as possible.”

16. What has been your favorite class so far?

This question is a great way to learn more about your potential future colleagues. Interviewers ask this question to see if you have any interests that align with the company culture. When answering, think of a class that helped you develop skills that will help you succeed in your new role.

Example: “My favorite class so far has been my marketing class. I’ve always had an interest in marketing and advertising, but I never knew how much work goes into it until taking this class. My professor was very knowledgeable on the subject and taught us many valuable lessons. This class inspired me to pursue a career in marketing.”

17. What types of investments are you most interested in?

This question can help the interviewer determine if you have experience with their company’s products. It also helps them understand your investment philosophy and how it aligns with Stifel Financial’s goals. When answering this question, try to focus on investments that are relevant to the position you’re applying for.

Example: “I am most interested in long-term growth investments. I believe that these types of investments allow investors to build wealth over time while minimizing risk. I’ve found that many clients prefer this type of investment because they want to see a return on their money without having to worry about losing everything. In my last role, I helped create a portfolio of long-term growth investments that allowed our clients to achieve their financial goals.”

18. What are your thoughts on the current state of the stock market?

The interviewer may ask you this question to gauge your knowledge of the financial market and how it’s performing. You can use this opportunity to show that you’re aware of current events in the stock market, including any recent trends or news stories.

Example: “I think the stock market is currently doing well overall. There are some sectors that have been struggling recently, but I believe those will rebound soon. For example, energy stocks have been down for a while now, but I expect them to rise again as oil prices stabilize. Overall, I’m optimistic about the state of the stock market.”

19. What type of portfolio management software do you use?

Stifel Financial uses a proprietary portfolio management software called Stifel Edge. The interviewer may ask this question to see if you have experience using similar systems and how familiar you are with the company’s specific platform. In your answer, try to explain what type of system you use and why it works well for you. If you don’t have any experience with portfolio management software, you can talk about other types of software that you do know how to use.

Example: “I’ve used several different types of portfolio management software in my career, but I find that most of them work similarly. I’m comfortable learning new systems, though, so I would be happy to learn more about Stifel Edge. I think my familiarity with other systems will help me adapt quickly.”

20. What tools would you use to detect memory leaks in managed and unmanaged code?

This question is a continuation of the previous one, and it tests your knowledge of debugging tools. You can answer this question by naming two or three memory leak detection tools that you know how to use.

Example: “I would first check for leaks in managed code using Visual Studio’s debugger. I would then check for leaks in unmanaged code by using WinDbg. Finally, I would use SOSEXE to detect memory leaks in both managed and unmanaged code.”


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