The job market is as tough as it’s been in decades. And nowhere is it tougher than in the financial and banking sectors. Competition for the best roles is fierce, and candidates need to be at their very best to make it just as far as the interview stage.

It’s at the interview where your career prospects will fail or fly. If you’re unable to convince your prospective employer that you’re the right person for the job, you’ll be forced to start your search all over again.

Fortunately for you, there are ways that you can stand head and shoulders above the competition when it comes to your interview. By following our four steps to interview success, you’ll convince your interviewer that you’re professional, competent and trustworthy.

In short, you’ll show them why you’re the best person for their company. So read on.

1: Preparation is Key

There’s a famous mantra which states that “failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” Nowhere is this truer than in an interview situation.

As soon as you have an interview arranged, you need to get to work. Research the company interviewing you. Find out about their products, services and history. Because if you demonstrate a knowledge of your prospective employer at your interview, you’ll show that you’re focused, professional and enthusiastic about the role.

All of these will stand you in good stead when it comes to filling a position.

2: Dress to Impress

First impressions matter. And in the financial and banking sectors, you need to give the impression that you can be trusted with high-value accounts. That means that you need to look the part.

Wearing sharp, professional and formal dress goes without saying, but take the time to make sure you look your best. The most expensive suit in the office won’t help you look professional if it’s paired with scuffed, dirty shoes, and too much makeup belongs on the dancefloor, not the boardroom.

Looking the part will help your interviewer picture you in the role. And that’ll give you an advantage over the competition.

3: Maintain an Air of Confidence

As we mentioned above, an investment banking job involves making difficult decisions that can be worth significant amounts of money. So coming across as hesitant and unable to handle pressure won’t do your cause any favours.

Being confident, without being cocky, will show your interviewer that you can cope with high pressure situations. Maintaining eye contact, a firm handshake and not hesitating before answering questions are all small details, but they’ll help your future employer to see that you’re calm when you need to be.

Because if you’re not confident in your abilities, how can they be confident in you?

4: Ask Questions

Finally, we come to the end of your interview. The point when you’re asked if you have any questions. This is the point where most unsuccessful applicants come unstuck.

The question that you ask says a lot about you. Not having a question suggests that you’re unprepared. Asking a question about wages or holiday allowance shows that you’re more interested in the salary than the role.

But asking questions about the way the business works, opportunities for advancement, or any skills that you’d be expected to develop, you show that you’re interested, professional and ambitious. And that’s exactly what the interviewer wants to see.

Next time that your recruitment agency secures you an interview, remember these four pieces of advice. If you do, you’ll be in a far better position to secure the financial or investment banking job that you deserve.